The song of the day for Monday, February 3, 2014 is “Angel Eyes.”
About This Song
The local jazz station in Portland, Oregon (the hometown of The Year of Tony Bennett) introduced new program today called CineJazz, featuring jazz music from the movies. (KMHD streams live over the internet; it’s a great jazz station). CineJazz will be aired on Sundays from 3:00PM to 6:00 PM Pacific Time. One of the first songs they played was Ella Fitzgerald’s 1957 version of today’s song: “Angel Eyes.”
“Angel Eyes” was written in 1946 by Matt Dennis, with lyrics by Earl Brent. It was first recorded by a singer named Herb Jeffries, but his recording company folded and the song faded from sight. Nat “King” Cole recorded it in 1953 on the B-side with “Return To Paradise.” Also in 1953, the song was used in mystery film called Jennifer, starring Ida Lupino and Howard Duff, with the composer Dennis singing his own song.
Dennis himself credits Ella Fitzgerald for the popularity of “Angel Eyes.” She made several fine recordings, the first of which was in 1952 with Sy Oliver and His Orchestra. The 1957 recording that started us down this path is included on First Lady of Song and Ultimate Ella. In 1960, Ella Fitzgerald appeared in a film called Let No Man Write My Epitaph, which starred Shelly Winters, Burl Ives, James Darren and Jean Seberg. Fitzgerald’s character, Flora, sang several songs in the film which were released in 1990 on Intimate Ella, including “Angel Eyes.”
Frank Sinatra recorded “Angel Eyes” in 1958 for Frank Sinatra Sings Only The Lonely and his recording was quite popular as well.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Angel Eyes” in 1992 for the album Perfectly Frank, which was arranged and conducted by Robert Farnon. Frank Laico, who recorded virtually all of Bennett’s songs during from the time he started at Columbia until he left the label in the early 1970s, came out of retirement to engineer this album for Tony Bennett.
“Angel Eyes,” as well as the album Perfectly Frank, is available from iTunes.