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Oct 03

TONY BENNETT – “Stranger In Paradise”

Popular7 comments • 1,777 views

#32, 13th May 1955

When Tony Bennett had his mini-revival in the wake of the 90s student lounge boom, I couldn’t help but think it was barrel-scraping: the biggest names in that scene were unavailable or dead, so Bennett gamely stepped up to meet the demand. He knew a few good stories and still looked terrific in a good suit, which was more than enough for the magazine editors pushing a trend to sell bad stories and OK suits. That “Stranger In Paradise” doesn’t do much to make me reconsider is hardly Bennett’s fault, he does his best against a smothering production. Actually I take that back a bit ‘ the opening 10 seconds are memorably wide-eyed and widescreen despite the rest of the record’s determination to do them in, and part of that is down to Bennett and his slightly rumpled delivery. So there you go.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Rolf - Bennett Fan on 11 Mar 2007 #

    Well, I quite like Bennett’s performace!

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 22 Mar 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Tony Bennett was too big a star to need British television apperances in the 1950s. By the 1960s he started to turn up, but all the programmes are missing;

    THE ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK SHOW: with The Irving Davies Dancers, The Mike Sammes Singers, Jack Parnell and his Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Donald O’Connor, Leslie Uggams (1970)

    THE LONDON PALLADIUM SHOW: with Dickie Henderson (Compere), Tony Bennett, Buddy Rich and his Orchestra, Dusty Springfield, Les Dawson, Les Farfadets, Jack Parnell and his Orchestra (1968)

    SHOW OF THE WEEK: Tony Bennett Meets Robert Farnon (1967)

    SHOW OF THE WEEK: Tony Bennett Sings… (1971)

    SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM (VAL PARNELL’S …..): with The Tiller Girls, Jack Parnell and his Orchestra, The Mike Sammes Singers, Tony Bennett, Dickie Henderson, Dana (1974)

    THIS IS… TOM JONES: with The Mike Sammes Singers, The Norman Maen Dancers, Sue & Sonny, Tony Bennett, Vikki Carr, Ace Trucking Company (1969)

    TONY BENNETT SINGS (1965)

    TONY BENNETT SINGS SYD LAWRENCE PLAYS (1977)

    Here’s a list of surviving appearances. He’s the first artist on Popular who still sometimes turns up on TV in the present day;

    BBC 1 SESSIONS: with Tony Bennett (2007)

    BRUCE’S GUEST NIGHT: with Roy Castle, Tony Bennett, Harry Secombe (1993)

    THE DANNY BAKER SHOW: with Jo Brand, Tony Bennett, Sheridan Brown (1994)

    THE FRANK SKINNER SHOW: with Tony Bennett, Jodie Marsh, Morrissey, Lee Francis, Davina McCall (2004)

    FRIDAY NIGHT’S ALL WRIGHT: with Caprice (Doorwoman), Sheryl Crow, Tony Bennett, Ramon And Anita, Pete Tong, Eileen Drewery, Seeta Indrani, All Saints (1998)

    THE GABY ROSLIN SHOW: with Tony Bennett (1996)

    HARTY: with Tony Bennett, Julian Lennon (1984)

    LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND: with The Charlatans, Tony Bennett, Boz Scaggs, Khaled, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (1997)

    LATER… WITH JOOLS HOLLAND: with Scissor Sisters, Tony Bennett, The Good, The Bad And The Queen, The Hours, Eric Bibb, Mr Hudson And The Library, Scott Matthews (2006)

    LIVE FROM THE PICCADILLY: with Patti Labelle, Bucks Fizz, Maggie Moone, Tony Bennett (1986)

    MICHAEL BALL: with Larry Adler, George Martin, Tony Bennett (1994)

    MUPPETS TONIGHT!: with Tony Bennett (1996)

    PARKINSON: with Michael Caine, Tony Bennett, Paul Simon (2006)

    SHOW OF THE WEEK: Tony Bennett and the Count Basie (1969)

    THE SUN TELEVISION AWARDS: with Tony Bennett, Tony Curtis, Max Bygraves, Jimmy Hill (1972)

    TONY BENNETT: with Tony Bennett (1974)

    THE VAL DOONICAN MUSIC SHOW: with Tony Bennett, Charley Pride, Don Lusher (1978)

    WOGAN: with Tony Bennett, Faith Brown, Ruth Madoc, Ann Mallaieu, Anita Roddick (1988)

    WOGAN: with Tony Bennett, Frank Evans, David Frost, Bill Jordan (1990)

  3. 3
    thefatgit on 24 Mar 2010 #

    “Strangers In Paradise” is taken from the musical, “Kismet”. So if you find the melody familiar, then dig out some Borodin, the source material from which the songs from Kismet are adapted.

    Bennett is no Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin for that matter, but lounge enough to make this encounter between hero and heroine listenable, with or without the cloying production. Given the choice though, I would be listening to Saint Etienne’s version.

  4. 4
    Mutley on 24 Mar 2010 #

    I’m surprised at the lukewarm comments about Tony Bennett. Although I’m no particular fan, I was under the impression that he was considered the singers’ singer, receiving the highest accolades from Sinatra and other singers.

  5. 5
    AndyPandy on 24 Mar 2010 #

    Yes you’re right Sinatra said he was THE best (Bing Crosby was Frank’s inspiration but he thought Bennett was the consumate singer).Tony Bennett’s quite scathing about his own early (a few years before this ie late 40s/early 50s) stuff now but I’ve downloaded a bit and think he’s being unnecessarily self-critical.Obviously not a patch on the later stuff though such as “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”. He still had the voice until very recently (may still have it!)as his duet with George Michael a couple of years proved – shame the song wasn’t that special though which did neither of their reputations any good.

  6. 6
    wichitalineman on 31 Oct 2010 #

    Bing Crosby recorded my favourite version of this; he’s all lost in a wonderland, and his delivery has the dream-drunk understatement that the lyric requires. Tony B slightly bulldozes it.

    I’ve loved this song since I was a kid. It makes the awful mistake of rhyming the title with “danger in paradise”, but beyond that it’s wildly wordy and original:

    I saw your face, and I ascended
    Out of the common place and into the rare
    Somewhere in space
    I hang suspended
    Until I know there’s a chance that you care

    I wonder if it’s the source of the Boo Radleys’ I Hang Suspended?

    Eddie Calvert’s Sweep-like version – as well as Bing’s – also charted, but neither got close to no.1.

  7. 7
    Eli on 22 Dec 2010 #

    The trend for buying a million different versions seemingly peaked around this time. “Stranger” charted for Tony, Eddie, Bing, Tony Martin, the Four Aces and Don Cornell. Six versions.

    Tony Bennett IS a legend, and puts in a good performance here, but I much prefer his US blockbuster hit of 1953, “Rags to Riches”. It didn’t chart here at all – record buyers had to make do with David Whitfield’s version, which had already charted by the time Philips bothered to issue Tony’s recording.

    As for Tony’s dislike of his earlier recordings. Well…
    1. He was ruled by The Bearded Devil of Pop Music, Mitch Miller.
    2. The trend for the day was sugary sweet forgettable ballads.
    3. His vocal style was more Al Martino than Frank Sinatra.

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