The song of the day for Tuesday, July 24, 2017 is “Stranger in Paradise.”
About This Song
“Stranger in Paradise” was written for the 1953 musical Kismet by Robert Wright and George Forrest; it was based on the Alexander Borodin composition Gilding Dance of the Maidens.
The song was hugely popular, due in large part to Tony Bennett. At the time Kismet was preparing to open, New York City was having a massive newspaper strike and publicizing the opening of the musical was nearly impossible. The producers asked Tony Bennett to record “Stranger in Paradise” to help promote the production. His version was a hit and so was Kismet.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Stranger in Paradise” in 1953, featuring an arrangement by Percy Faith, and it was released as a single that year. Bennett included it on his 1962 album Mr. Broadway: Tony’s Greatest Broadway Hits.
Up until the advent of rock music, songs from Broadway musicals became popular to a wide range of listeners, due in a great part to vocalists like Bennett, who regularly recorded songs from new Broadway shows, such as today’s “Stranger in Paradise” and yesterday’s “Just in Time.” The music of Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart and Cy Coleman became popular in this way. Today, little music from Broadway is even recorded by popular artists, much less becoming hits. A perfect example is the music of Stephen Sondheim, one of America’s greatest Broadway composers, whose only hit in popular music was “Send In The Clowns” from A Little Night Music. While I doubt this trend will ever return, there are musicals that still find their way into the musical hearts of America–Hamilton is a perfect example. I sing “I’m Not Giving Away My Shot” and “The Room Where It Happened” in the shower–the same way earlier generations sang “Anything Goes” and “Blue Moon.”
“Stranger in Paradise,” as well as Mr. Broadway: Tony’s Greatest Broadway Hits, is available from iTunes.