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I Left My Heart in San Francisco
Written: music and original lyric,1945; revised lyric, 1954
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was originally written (with different lyrics) almost a decade before it was immortalized by Tony Bennett, who first sang it in 1954, at the Fairmont Hotel in the title city. Thomas Hischak explains that in the mid 1940s George Cory (August 3, 1920 - April 11, 1978) wrote a melody for a "verbose lyric about love in the California city" written by Douglas Cross. (According to Wikipedia, Cory and Cross were a gay couple who had left San Francisco for New York and had written the song as an exercise in nostalgia for the West Coast city.)
The song found no interest among singers until Tony Bennett, in 1954, requested that the lyric be revised for his gig at the Fairmont. The new version included a series of concrete images about the city ("cable cars, the morning fog, the 'blue and windy sea'" and asserts that his love is waiting for him there. The song received a very strong positive reaction and the recording sold three million copies. It became Bennett's theme song and "single-handedly allowed him to resurrect his career" (Hischak, p. 160).
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The Cafe Songbook
Record/Video Cabinet: Selected Recordings of
"I Left My Heart
in San Francisco"
(All Record/Video Cabinet entries
include a music-video
of this page's featured song.
The year given is for when the studio
track was originally laid down
or when the live performance was given.)
(*indicates accompanying music-video)
Performer 1 (year)
Performer 2 (year)
Notes: (Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)