Tony Bennett: “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails”
What’s the happiest darn thing you’ve seen or heard in the last week? Seriously, take a moment. Think of it. Got it? Good.
I’m about 95% certain that whatever it is isn’t quite as happy as Tony Bennett singing “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails.” The song was originally written by Irving Berlin for the 1935 movie, Top Hat. Sung and danced by Fred Astaire, it’s charming (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZOJoV6H2UM), but in that performance it’s also oriented toward showcasing Astaire’s dancing talents (of which he has some worth noting, in case you haven’t heard), which means there are long, somewhat uninteresting instrumental passages.
As a song for actually listening to, I find Bennett’s version (from his 1993 Steppin’ Out album) appealing. A seasoned professional, Bennett sells the heck out of this song, with a warm delivery that feels like it has nothing to prove. It also helps that Bennett has a surplus of class such that one can easily see him getting dressed up in very formal attire that nobody on the West Coast wears anymore (it’s our loss, honestly), and stepping out to an elegant party. He’s happy: no guilt, no irony, no nothin’ else . . . just happy to go out.
Wherever he’s going, you just know he’s going to have a good time.