The song of the day for Saturday, September 14, 2013 is “Body and Soul.”
Today Amy Winehouse would have become thirty years old. The world lost a great talent when she died. We would like to remind you about the Amy Winehouse Foundation, with this mission (from the US version of the foundation website):
The Amy Winehouse Foundation’s mission is supporting and empowering children and young adults in need through music therapy and music education and works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. We aim to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them reach their full potential.
The foundation held its first Inspiration Awards and Gala in March 2013 in New York and awarded Tony Bennett its Lifetime Achievement Award.
About This Song
“Body and Soul” was written in 1930 by Johnny Green, with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton. The song first became popular in Europe and the version sung by Gertrude Lawrence was quite popular. In the 1930s, the song was considered too racy, even “lewd”, to play on the radio. Apparently sexual desire without romance was frowned upon. American recordings include those by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine, with many fine jazz instrumental recordings, including those by Bill Evans and John Coltrane. “Body and Soul” is the most often-recorded jazz standard and is the #1 song on the jazzstandards.com website.
While Tony Bennett has performed “Body and Soul” for many years, his first recording (to the best of my knowledge) was in 1990 for Astoria: Portrait of the Artist. He also sang it on his award-winning MTV Unplugged television special in 1994.
About This Version
Today’s version is, of course, the 2011 duet with Amy Winehouse on Duets II, for which they won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. It was her final recording; she died four months after she and Bennett made this recording. Tony Bennett speaks quite movingly about Amy Winehouse in The Zen of Bennett.
Here’s the video of Tony’s and Amy’s recording session for “Body and Soul.”
If you haven’t yet seen The Zen of Bennett, the opinionated author at the Year of Tony Bennett recommends it highly, if for no other reason than the segment on this session.