Tony Bennett I Left My Heart In San Francisco on 180g Import LP
Can there really be a definitive album from a singer whose voice is one of the most immediately recognized and internationally cherished, and whose command of songs is second to none. If so, then I Left My Heart In San Francisco is that record, the 1962 effort a turning point for the great Tony Bennett and an all-time pop standard. Winner of two Grammy Awards, the record contains Bennett's signature track as well as eleven other indelible classics.
At the time of the album's sessions, Bennett found himself caught between the need to sing thin uptempo numbers in order to appease the marketplace and the desire to move beyond the jazzier material he tackled in the late-50s. Unwilling to compromise his will to sing ballads and swing, Bennett, along with producer Ernest Altschuler and arranger/pianist Ralph Sharon, found the perfect combination on I Left My Heart In San Francisco, replete with expansive orchestration, period echo, anthemic ballads, and lush pop arrangements that still leave plenty of room for intimacy and delicacy.
There's little left to say about the timeless title track, amidst the most definitive songs ever recorded. Similarly, the closing "The Best Is Yet to Come" ranks equally high, with Bennett's rendition coming a full two years before Frank Sinatra's version. It's no wonder why The Voice deemed Bennett his favorite singer. The proof is everywhere, whether on the brassy "Rules of the Road," big-band bossa nova send-up of Cole Porter's "Love for Sale," tender "Have I Told You Lately?," or the white-gloves treatment of the Broadway tune "Once Upon a Time." Bennett's charismatic personality and refined singing ring true throughout, his burnished baritone as clear as spring water.