The song of the day for Friday, December 11, 2015 is “I’ve Got The World on a String.”
About This Song
Today’s song, “I’ve Got The World on a String,” was written in 1932 by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Ted Koehler. It was written for the 1932 Cotton Club Parade, where it was introduced by Cab Calloway and Bing Crosby. Alec Wilder, in American Popular Song, considers it one of Arlen’s loveliest songs.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded today’s song in 1992 for Perfectly Frank. He also sang it last Sunday on the CBS Sinatra special, to a standing ovation.
“I’ve Got The World on a String,” as well as Perfectly Frank, is available from iTunes.
Towards the end of the 1950s, Sinatra saw his popularity falling, though he was still a major singing star. He also divorced his wife Nancy in 1950 and his publicist George Evans died the same year. He began performing regularly in Las Vegas, but his audiences were starting to desert him. In a brilliant move, he decided to work in more dramatic films. He had a done several well-received musical films, including Anchors Aweigh, Take Me Out To The Ball Game and On The Town. 1953 marked one of his greatest achievements: From Here To Eternity in the role of Maggio, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Other notable films followed such as The Man With The Golden Arm, Guys and Dolls and The Tender Trap. I remember seeing The Man With The Golden Arm as young teenager and it scared the hell out of me; I saw again a couple of years ago and found it just as powerful.
In 1956 he made one of most popular films, High Society, with Bing Crosby. The film was a big hit for the studio and the public loved seeing Sinatra and Bing Crosby together. His popularity was on the upswing, followed by another significant film performance in Pal Joey.
Meanwhile, he was making albums for Capitol, like the brilliant 1955 In the Wee Small Hours (a favorite album of Tony Bennett), the 1956 Songs For Swinging Lovers! (which includes the wonderful Nelson Riddle version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin) and the 1959 album Come Dance With Me! which won the Grammy for Album of the Year and Best Performance by a male singer.
In spite of this success, he grew unhappy with Capitol and formed his own label Reprise Records. The hit albums kept coming and he began working with jazz artists like Quincy Jones and appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. In 1967 came one of his best collaborations: the Grammy-nominated album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, which was one of the best-selling albums of the year, just behind the Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
in 1970, Sinatra announced his retirement, though it was short-lived, as he returned in 1973 for a television special Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back, which was also released as an album. He also returned to Las Vegas and performed at Caesar’s Palace throughout the 1970s. The 1970s also saw one of his great signature songs: “New York, New York,” from the film of the same name, where it was introduced by Liza Minelli. But from the moment the song was released, it was Sinatra’s song.
tomorrow … 1980s and beyond