This week’s choice is a song performed by the one and only Mr. Tony Bennett. “Just in Time”, a hit for Bennett in 1960 was written by Jule Styne (music) with Betty Comden and Adolph Green (lyrics.) It was originally performed by Judy Holliday and Sydney Chaplin in the stage musical Bells are Ringing and then featured in the movie of the same name in 1960 when it was sung by Judy Holliday this time with Dean Martin. Among other versions, there is a great one out there of Dean Martin singing it solo as well; think I just heard it recently on a television ad.
Like many artists/performers of the day, Tony Bennett, who was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Astoria, Queens, New York changed and simplified his name for show business reasons as many of the day often did. If what I’ve read is true, it was Bob Hope who suggested the name back in 1949 when they toured together.
Though Bennett began singing at an early age, his career took off when he signed with Colombia records in the fifties. After a number of popular hits in that decade he recorded what has become known as his signature song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in 1962. The rock era briefly interrupted his momentum but it never kept him out of the loop. He made a strong come back in the 80’s and 90’s with his recorded revivals of music from the Great American Songbook garnering a whole new generation of fans. His duet projects with contemporary artists one of which includes a version of “Just in Time” with Michael Bublé and a very recent collaboration with Lady Gaga have kept him in the forefront of the music industry and deservedly so! Among many other acknowledgments, he has won 19 Grammy Awards, 2 Emmy’s, sold over 50 million records and has received an endless list of other honours and awards including being named a NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Centre Honouree. His voice is still remarkable to this day!