Why this tune?
Tunes On Tuesday this week marks the birthday of the great lyricist and composer Johnny Mercer. He wrote lyrics for over 1,500 songs, including many classics composed by Henry Mancini. Mercer and Mancini collaborated on this tune, a movie theme that won the Oscar for Best Song in 1962.
This is a short song – the lyrics are two complex sentences, but what sentences! The first section follows the “days of wine and roses” running to “a closing door … that wasn’t there before.”
There are over 580 recordings of the song, mostly instrumentals. I expect many of those are still influenced by Mercer’s words. If you hear it now, it will likely be as a medium or fast swing tune, very different from the lush orchestral setting of Mancini’s first version. I’m continuing that swing tradition in my version.
Hear my version
Tunes On Tuesday Reel
Check out these recordings
Henry Mancini and Orchestra
Tony Bennett and Bill Evans (listen to Evans’ intro!)
Keith Jarrett (live)