First recorded by Anthony Newley (1961).
Also recorded by Tony Bennett (1962), James Brown (1970).
Hit versions by Sammy Davis, Jr. (US #17/MOR #6 1962), Shirley Bassey (UK #47 1963).
From the wiki: “”What Kind of Fool Am I?” is a popular song written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and published in 1962. It was introduced by Anthony Newley in the musical Stop The World – I Want To Get Off. Bricusse and Newley received the 1961 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
“This song was recorded while Newley was on the road with the touring company of ‘Stop the World …’ in the United States, after its hugely successful run in the United Kingdom. By the time the cast reached New York, Tony Bennett had re-recorded the song*. The song was a hit for Sammy Davis Jr. in the year of its publication, peaking at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at #6 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart. It also won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, with songwriters Bricusse and Newley becoming the first Britons to do so. In 1963 Shirley Bassey released the song as a Columbia Record single and her version reached #47 on the UK charts.
“James Brown covered ‘What Kind of Fool Am I?’ for his 1970 album, Soul on Top.
“The song was also the inspiration for a Gary Larson cartoon (see below).
* “Publisher Harold Richmond related an amusing story about Bennett and ‘What Kind of Food Am I?’:
‘When I was in England to see Oliver! and I heard ‘What Kind of Fool Am I?’, Tony was my first choice for the song. (Sammy Davis, Jr. found the song by himself.) Tony had had ‘San Francisco’ out for six or eight weeks and he said, ‘Howie, I’m going to stick with ‘San Francisco’ for a while. I like ‘What Kind of Fool’ but –.’ I said to him, ‘Tony! ‘San Francisco’ has been out a couple of months and nothing’s happening with it!’ Tony said, ‘Well, I’m still going to stick with it for a while.’ Well, we all know how that turned out.'”
First recorded (as “I Gotta Be Me”) by Steve Lawrence (MOR #6 1968).
Also recorded by Della Reese (1968).
Other hit versions by Sammy Davis, Jr. (US #11/MOR #1 1968), Tony Bennett (MOR #29 1969).
From the wiki: “‘I’ve Gotta Be Me’ appeared in the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow, which starred Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé. The musical opened in New York City at the Shubert Theatre on February 4, 1968. The music and lyrics for the musical were by Walter Marks and were composed in 1967. Lawrence released the song as a single in 1967, and the following year it hit #6 on the Billboard MOR chart, with little or no support from traditional Top 40 radio.
“Sammy Davis, Jr. recorded the song in 1968 while the musical was still running on Broadway, altering the title slightly to ‘I’ve Gotta Be Me’ and releasing it as a single late in the year. This version of the song was a surprise hit for Davis, since the musical was not among the more successful shows on Broadway that season. It became Davis’ third-highest charting single in his career on the Hot 100.”
First recorded by Pete Seeger (1956).
Also recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. (1957), Earl Robinson (1957), The (UK) Spinners (1969), Maytones (1970).
Hit versions by Greyhound (UK #6/NETH #2 1971), Three Dog Night (US #1/CAN #1/AST #8/GER #24 1972).
From the wiki: “‘Black and White’ was written in 1954 by David I. Arkin (father of actor Alan Arkin) and Earl Robinson, inspired by the 1954 United States Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed racial segregation in US public schools. ‘Black and White’ was first recorded by Pete Seeger in 1956, followed by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1957 (for a limited-edition Anti-Defamation League EP) and a version recorded by song co-writer Earl Robinson. The original Folk song lyrics (not used in either Greyhound’s or Three Dog Night’s versions) include the line ‘Their robes were black, their heads were white’, referring to the Supreme Court justices.
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