I Wanna Be Around

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"I Wanna Be Around" is a popular song. In the lyrics, the singer declares that he "wants to be around" when the woman who spurned him inevitably gets her heart broken. The song is credited to Sadie Vimmerstedt and Johnny Mercer.

Origins[edit]

Vimmerstedt was a grandmother and housewife[1] (or a beautician)[2] in Youngstown, Ohio, who sent Mercer an idea for the song in 1957, as well as giving Mercer the opening line ("I want to be around to pick up the pieces, when somebody breaks your heart"). She was inspired by Frank Sinatra divorcing his first wife in order to marry Ava Gardner, only to then see Gardner leave Sinatra. Not knowing exactly where to send her letter to, Vimmerstedt simply addressed it to 'Johnny Mercer...Songwriter...New York, NY'. The post office forwarded it to ASCAP, who in turn passed it along to Mercer, who was a member of the organization. Mercer wrote the song and agreed to share 1/3 of the royalties and credits with Vimmerstedt.[3] The song was published in 1959.

Recordings[edit]

Tony Bennett's recording, from his 1963 album of that name, remains the definitive version of the song, (#14 pop, #5 easy listening), and has appeared in several films, including The Freshman (1990); however, the has been recorded by many other artists, including Dorothy Loudon (in her album "Saloon"), Patti Page, Peggy Lee, James Brown, Buddy Greco, Dinah Washington (for her final album Dinah '63), and John Cale (for the 2002 album Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues).[4] Ironically, Frank Sinatra himself also covered the song (for his 1964 album with Count Basie & Quincy Jones, It Might As Well Be Swing), although it is unclear whether he knew of the inspiration he himself provided.

The song was recorded by Terri Gibbs for her 1981 album I'm a Lady from which it was released as a single to reach #38 C&W.[5]

Aretha Franklin recorded the song for her album Laughing on the Outside (1962).

The song was to be included as a part of The Beach Boys project Smile, but the project was scrapped, only to later be finished in 2004 by Brian Wilson.

The song was also sung by Sally (Rose Marie) on an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, "The Sam Pomerantz Scandals".

The Tony Bennett recording is used as the theme song for Joey Diaz's Podcast "The Church Of What's Happening Now". Renée Geyer covered the song on Swing (2013).

Michael Buble recorded a version of the song on his 2016 album Nobody but Me.

References[edit]