Tony Bennett, I Left My Heart In San Francisco

Will Friedwald

By Will Friedwald

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

Tony Bennett
A mixed bag of all-time Tony Bennett classics

Tony Bennett's biggest hit led to a brilliant mixed bag of an album: when the single unexpectedly started catching on in 1962, Columbia hastily rushed an album out with this title. But rather than having Bennett record anything new, they quickly grabbed 11 other previously recorded titles, many recycled from earlier Tony albums (such as his percussive and polyrhythmic treatment of "Love For Sale" from the 1957 Beat of My Heart). All the tracks here are great, even if they scarcely have anything to do with each other — among other tracks, you'll hear Bennett with Count Basie's Orchestra on "Taking A Chance on Love," a number that had already been released on a 1958 "live" album but heard here without any applause or crowd noise. Considering that this was a random selection, there are a lot of all-time Tony Bennett classics here, including two particularly stunning ballads in "Once Upon A Time" and "Smile." Tony's close friend, composer Cy Coleman, authored two of the better up-tempo numbers, "Rules of The Road" and "The Best Is Yet To Come," the latter also a Bennett signature, and a standard that Tony put on the map well before Sinatra.