This torch song was originally a hit for Californian singer/actress Julie London in 1955 peaking at #9 in the US. Two years later, the song became an international smash after featuring in the movie The Girl Can't Help It. Julie London's husband, jazz musician Bobby Troup, wrote the theme tune to the film. The song was written by written by Arthur Hamilton and first published in 1953, intended to be sung by Ella Fitzgerald in her 1955 film Pete Kelly's Blues. The song was squeezed out of the film schedule, and Ella went ahead and recorded it anyway for her 1961 album Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!
The song had a resurgence in popularity after an appearance by Scottish amateur singer Susan Boyle on the reality show Britain's Got Talent, when she sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical Les Miserables. The contrast between her mousy appearance and her fine singing voice triggered global interest and within days a 1999 rendition by Boyle of this song on a charity single had been uploaded onto YouTube. Her performance immediately became an internet sensation.
Joe Cocker generated the only American hit version of this song when his 1970 recording from Mad Dogs and Englishmen went to #11 in the US. Aerosmith covered it in 1982, then UK singer/actress Denise Welch in 1995 (#23 UK), then Canadian artist Michael Bublé took it to UK #34 in 2009 on the coattails of Boyle's X Factor performance; his version was used by the BBC network as the theme music to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. There's dozens of far more obscure covers as well, including one by Combustible Edison - they're the ones who did "Vertigogo," the theme to the 1995 comedy film Four Rooms. Yes, if you've seen that film, that's a tough one to get out of your head. Sorry.
Susan Boyle's brother Gerry Boyle told Radaronline/com
that she originally recorded this at Heartbeat Studios in Scotland many years ago. He recalled: "The former manager of the Bay City Rollers, David Valentine, gave Susan her first break and the technicians at Heartbeat Studios all said that they were 'blown away' with Susan's performance back then."
Susan Boyle explained this song in publicity materials: "About bitterness and anger as a relationship between a boy and girl has ended. This timeless song is from the film Breakfast At Tiffany's
. (Note: It appears Susan has got this song mixed up with Moon River
). A release of tension and a greater insight into the human condition."
Soundtrack usage includes the films Passion of Mind (2000), V for Vendetta (2006), and Repo Men (2010) (not at aaaaalll to be confused with the 1984 cult classic Repo Man).
BBC Radio 2 DJ Sarah Kennedy dedicated this song to the people of Cumbria in the north west of England, after many of them were forced to evacuate their homes after a series of floods.