I Left My Heart in San Francisco – Tony Bennett

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………….on May 15th of 1963 at the fifth annual Grammy Awards, Record of the Year is awarded to Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”. This song was written in 1954 by two then-unknown songwriters, George C. Cory, Jr. and Douglass Cross. Cory wrote the music and Cross wrote the lyrics. They pitched the song to Bennett’s pianist and musical director, Ralph Sharon, who was looking for new material for Bennett to sing at the Fairmont Hotel. “We dug down to the bottom of our trunk and gave it to him,” said Cross. Bennett performed it for the first time in 1962 at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco, and it quickly became his signature song. Columbia Records released this as a single, and although it only reached the Top 20, it remained on the national charts for almost nine months. The “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” album reached the Top 5 and went gold, and the single won Bennett Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Solo Vocal Performance, Male. The song has sold more than 14 million records and one million copies of sheet music in the US, and has been a huge commercial success overseas as well. The Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) honored Cory and Cross with the Towering Song Award for writing the song and also gave Bennett the Towering Performance Award for his timeless vocal rendition. The song was originally written for the opera singer Claramae Turner, who often used it as an encore, but she never got around to recording it. According to Tony Bennett’s autobiography Just Getting Started, the song was originally given to the singer’s pianist Ralph Sharon in 1954 but the music manuscript got mislaid, only to be rediscovered in 1961 at the bottom of a shirt drawer. The song peaked at #19 in the US and #25 in the UK.