Certain songs enter the public lexicon and after a while people forget where it is that they actually came from. One of those that pops into mind is "My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)". It's sort of the taken its place along side of the other city anthem "Chicago" (That Toddlin' Town) and to many people they may even be from the same era. In fact, "My Kind of Town," rather than being written during the Roaring 20s or a bit later was written in 1964 and comes from a move, Robin and the 7 Hoods, which was a sort of Rat Pack musical with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and also Bing Crosby, among others In fact, "My Kind of Town" was nominated for Best Original Song, though it lost out to "Chim Chim Cheree" from Mary Poppins. It was written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen.
I love Sammy Cahn's work, and he had an absolutely wonderful one-man (in a way...) show called Words & Music that he toured the country with, and I think it even played on Broadway. (The "in a way" part is that he had three singers to help out on certain numbers throughout the evening.) The one quibble I had with it is that whenever he came to another city, he would change the words from "Chicago" to wherever he was -- and tweak the words to fit that "town." I'd been waiting the whole show to hear "My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)" and it was such a letdown to hear it about Los Angeles. Ack.
No, it's about Chicago. That's like changing, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" to "I Left My Heart in in Tallahassee" just because he playing there and trying to suck up to the audience. This not only is about Chicago, it has a context. And that context is that the gangster Robbo who's turned benevolent has just been found not guilty of trumped-up charges, left the courthouse and been greeted by an overjoyed crowd.
Which is when he sings this. (This video quality isn't great -- but the song is.)
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