Came across this excellent interview from Scott Laningham’s excellent blog. This interview is from September, 2012.
The Year of Tony Bennett wishes Harold Jones a very happy birthday today.
We hope you have a great performance tonight in Ft. Lauderdale!
The song of the day for Wednesday, January 16, 2013 is Me, Myself and I.
About Me, Myself and I
Me, Myself and I (Are All in Love with You) was composed by Irving Gordon with lyrics by Allen Roberts and Allen S. Kaufman. It was first recorded in 1937 by Billie Holiday. The song has also been recorded by Benny Goodman, Lester Young and Ruby Braff.
Irving Gordon is also known for Unforgettable, a great hit for Nat “King” Cole. Unforgettable won a Grammy Award in 1992 as Song of the Year for Natalie Cole’s album of the same name, as well as Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. Note that Harold Jones, Tony Bennett’s current drummer, was Natalie Cole’s drummer for this album, as well as several other albums for Natalie Cole.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded this song for his 1997 Billie Holiday tribute album, On Holiday.
Me, Myself and I, as well as the full On Holiday album, is available from iTunes.
We’re also happy to present Miss Holiday herself singing this song from the album A Working Day (released in 2012).
A Working Day is also available from iTunes. It contains 34 of her greatest songs and is well-worth listening to.
The Song of the Day for October 30, 2012 is Because Of You.
About Because Of You
Because Of You was written in 1940 by Arthur Hammerstein with lyrics by Dudley Wilkinson. The song was used in the 1951 film I Was An American Spy. Tony Bennett recorded this song in 1951 and it was his first major hit record. Mr. Bennett relates this story in his autobiography, The Good Life:
By the spring of 1951, I was told that if I didn’t get a hit soon I’d be dropped from the label. I went into Percy’s (Percy Faith) office and he said, “In this next session you really have to deliver. We have only three songs ready, so we need another song.” I remember that he looked through a bunch of sheet music on his desk, grabbed a song, and said, “Well, let’s do this one.” That song was “Because of You.” I was doing a lot of dramatic singing on my early records like “Sing You Sinners” and “Boulevard,” but Percy said to me, “Just relax. Use your natural voice and sing the song.” I took his advice.
When “Because of You” was released, the record company didn’t have much confidence in me. But then something interesting started happening; the record didn’t get on the radio right away, but people were playing it on jukeboxes so often that it started to build momentum, one nickel at a time. It was unusual for a song to become popular on jukeboxes before it got on the radio, but this one did. Listeners from all around the country began calling their local radio stations and requesting “Because of You,” and it reached number one on Billboard magazine’s pop chart on June 23, 1951. It stayed on the chart for thirty-two weeks-ten weeks at number one. I finally had my first major hit record. It was amazing. Everywhere I went that summer I heard the song blaring from car radios, and record stores set up speakers outside and played the song to attract customers. My family was thrilled, of course, and couldn’t stop telling me how proud they were that I had made it. It was wonderful.
Because Of You is one of Tony Bennett’s most beloved songs.
About This Version
Tony Bennett and k.d. lang recorded this duet for Tony Bennett Duets – An American Classic. It’s really beautiful to hear these two wonderful singers, who are obviously so closely attuned to each other, sing this beautiful love song. The song is exquisitely orchestrated by Jorge Callandrelli and features the quartet of Lee Musiker (p), Gray Sargent (g), Paul Langosch (b) and Harold Jones (d).
The Year of Tony Bennett has seen Tony Bennett several times in concert, always with this quartet of gifted musicians who not only back up Mr. Bennett superbly, but are all exceptional artists in their own right.
Tom Adair (piano).
Gray Sargent (guitar). Gray Sargent has, to the best of our knowledge, played with Mr. Bennett longer than other members of the current quartet. Gray was a member of the Ralph Sharon Quartet (along with Clayton Cameron and Paul Langosch) and has played with Ruby Braff. He is a recognized jazz and swing guitarist. Tony often sings with only Gray accompanying him at his concerts and those songs are always quite lovely. You can sometimes find Gray’s album, Shades of Gray, from Amazon.
Marshall Wood (bass). Marshall Wood is a well-respected jazz bass player. He played with Gray Sargent on Shades of Gray and with Rudy Braff.
Harold Jones (drums). Count Basie’s Favorite Drummer. He’s The Year of Tony Bennett‘s favorite drummer too. A native of Richmond, Indiana, he has played with many of the 20th and 21st century’s finest jazz artists: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Oscar Peterson, Benny Goodman, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald and Natalie Cole. He is a renowned drumming instructor as well. We recently enjoyed the new biography of Mr. Jones: Harold Jones: The Singer’s Drummer by Gil Jacobs, which is available on Amazon.