In the Middle of an Island

Album: The Good Life (1957)
Charted: 9
  • "In the Middle of an Island" was written by the songwriters Nick Acquaviva and Ted Varnick. The Tony Bennett version was first released as a single on Columbia records.

    "The Tony Bennett version..." Why, did somebody else do this song? Yes, it was also released in the same year by "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, that romping TV host and recording artist whose work is largely forgotten today except for - look it up yourself if you don't believe it - his bit-role appearance in several episodes of the TV show I Love Lucy, playing the country-bumpkin character "Cousin Ernie." "Now cousin Ernie, I said to myself, somebody ain't a-goin' to Bent Fork!"
  • Even some old-school Tony Bennett fans are surprised that this is his only Top-10 Billboard-charting hit. He had over a dozen hits in the Top-40. Tony himself didn't like this one so much.
  • The United States went through something of a Tiki fad in the late 1950s, with an obsession with all things Hawaiian that bordered on the manic. Today's generations, encountering the endless hotels, cocktail lounges, and bowling alleys along American highways themed after a Tiki motif, might wonder what got into people all of a sudden. Well, after World War II, US servicemen returned to the mainland filled with tales of the South Pacific, especially Hawaii. Hawaii was only a US territory until 1959 when Dwight D. Eisenhower ("I like Ike!") signed them into statehood. So the US went Hawaii-crazy for awhile, at the same time that the broadest middle class the nation had ever seen began to emerge and at the time when air travel was seeing leaps and bounds in the industry. Cue the veterans, now in their 40s, feeling nostalgia for the land of pineapples and grass skirts, and here comes Tiki decorations mixing in with the googie architecture of strip malls and gas stations.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 18th 1957, the CBS-TV network's 'The Big Record Show' had its national debut {it was the network's answer to ABC-TV's 'American Bandstand'}...
    The show's hostess was Patti Page and it lasted for one season with 35 episodes...
    Tony Bennett performed "In the Middle of An Island" on the show; at the time the song was at #9 on Billboard's Top 100 chart {its peak position} and #11 on Billboard's Best Sellers chart...
    The song spent 21 weeks on the Top 100 chart.
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