The song of the day for Monday, April 2, 2018 is “I Wanna Be Around.”
About This Song
“I Wanna Be Around” was written in 1959 by Johnny Mercer and Sadie Vimmerstedt.
The story of “I Wanna Be Around” is legendary in the music business. Sadie Vimmerstedt, who lived in Youngstown, Ohio, was a big fan of Johnny Mercer’s music. She wrote the opening line ‘I want to be around to pick up the pieces, when somebody breaks yours heart’ and felt it sounded like a Johnny Mercer song. She mailed a letter to ‘Johnny Mercer, Songwriter, New York.’ The post office forwarded the letter to ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), who got the letter to Mercer. Mercer wrote the melody himself and completed the lyrics for “I Wanna Be Around” in 1959 and asked Tony Bennett to record it, which he did in 1962. Mercer gave 50% of the profits to Ms. Vimmerstedt, which made her a wealthy woman and enabled her to retire and travel the world. It is one of the great songs in the American Songbook.
About This Version
Today I’m featuring Bennett’s first recording of “I Wanna Be Around,” for which he named his album I Wanna Be Around. While the album was released in 1963, it was recorded in October, 1962 and so fits in nicely with our ongoing tribute to Tony Bennett and 1962. As most of the songs on this album were recorded in 1962, I predict you’ll be hearing more from this great album in the days to come. Marty Manning did the arrangement.
“I Wanna Be Around,” as well as I Wanna Be Around, is available from iTunes.
As I missed posting over the weekend, I can at least present this video of Tony Bennett singing “I Wanna Be Around,” live from the Newport Jazz Festival in 2002. Accompanying Bennett are Lee Musiker (piano), Gray Sargent (guitar), Paul Langosch (bass) and Clayton Cameron (drums.).
Check out the beautiful live shot from the stage looking out over the audience and the ocean just behind. One of these days, I’m going to have to go to the Newport Jazz Festival.
In fact, one the great jazz films ever made is Jazz On A Summer’s Day, filmed in 1959 at the Newport Jazz Festival. YouTube has a nice trailer of the film. It’s a must-see.
Every time I see this film, I wish I had been born 10 or 15 years earlier and hand been there that summer.