The song of the day for Sunday, August 23, 2020, is a medley of “The Good Life” and “I Wanna Be Around.”
About This Song
“The Good Life” was written in 1962 by Sacha Distel and Jack Reardon. Originally titled “La Belle Vie,” “The Good Life” was featured in the movie Seven Capital Sins. Tony Bennett is the singer most widely identified with “The Good Life;” other good recordings include those by Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, and Stephane Grappelli. It has been said that Distel wrote this song about Bridgette Bardot, who refused Distel’s marriage proposal.
“I Wanna Be Around” was written in 1959 by Sophie Vimmerstedt and Johnny Mercer. 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 your 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
Tony Bennett sang this medley at his 1994 live performance on MTV Unplugged.
“The Good Life/I Wanna Be Around,” as well as MTV Unplugged, is available from Apple Music.