It took a while for Mel Tormé to come home to this jazzy groove that brought him back to the Top 40 in 1962 after a 10-year absence from the chart. With the advent of rock and roll, the crooner fell out of favor with the younger crowd and was loathe to try to fit in. "Rock music is heinous," he claimed. "I'm not a teenagers' singer. My steady market is the Young Marrieds."
In the early '60s, however, he joined Atlantic Records, where producer Nesuhi Ertegun convinced him to record the beat-centric R&B scorcher "Comin' Home Baby." It took a fair bit of arm-twisting to get Tormé to agree. The singer recalled: "It was a minor-key blues tune with trite repetitious lyrics and an 'answer' pattern to be sung by the Cookies, a girl trio that had once worked for Ray Charles." To his surprise, his rendition - arranged by Claus Ogerman - peaked at #36 on the Hot 100 and notched a #13 entry on the UK chart. It proved to be a bittersweet success in the long run, as it marked his final appearance on both charts.
Composed by jazz bassist Ben Tucker, this was originally recorded as an instrumental by his group the Dave Bailey Quintet on their 2 Feet In The Gutter album in 1961. Just six weeks later, it was recorded live at the Greenwich Village venue Village Gate by the Herbie Mann jazz group (with Tucker on bass). With the tune gaining more attention, Tucker thought adding lyrics would be a good idea and enlisted his friend Bob Dorough (who later wrote songs for Schoolhouse Rock!) for the task.
Tormé brought the lyrics to life in the studio on September 13, 1962, taking on the persona of a contrite wanderer who's hightailing it back home to his woman.
Quincy Jones recorded this for his 1963 album, Quincy Jones Plays Hip Hits.
Michael Bublé recorded a version featuring Boyz II Men for his 2007 album, Call Me Irresponsible. It was released as a single in Germany, where it peaked at #17.
In 2021, this was used in a Hulu commercial
promoting the streaming service's original content. In the ad, TV fans are launched through walls and pulled back home to watch new episodes of their favorite shows.
This was used in these TV shows:
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier ("Power Broker" - 2021)
The Queen's Gambit ("Doubled Pawns" - 2020)
The Umbrella Academy ("Right Back Where We Started" - 2020)
The Crown ("Margaretology" - 2019)
Tin Star ("Prairie Gothic" - 2019)
House Of Lies ("Wreckage" - 2014)
And in these movies:
What To Expect When You're Expecting (2012)
Calendar Girls (2003)
Two Weeks Notice (2002)
The Anniversary Party (2001)
The Iron Giant (1999)
Dinner And Driving (1997)
The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
Get Shorty (1995)
Day Dreamer (1975)