It was 50 year ago this year that Tony Bennett recorded a song that will forever hold a place in the history of San Francisco: “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” And to commemorate the anniversary, the city will be holding a sing along on Valentine’s Day.
At noon of Tuesday, February 14, there will be a sing along to the famous tune in the City Hall Rotunda. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Nancy Pelosi are among the luminaries expected to attend the ceremony for Bennett.
The Ruth Asawa School of the Arts Choir and Band, the San Francisco Boys and Girls Choruses, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Beach Blanket Babylon will perform their own versions of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and pay tribute to Tony Bennett’s musical legacy. The song will also be played over the public address system in Union Square and at Hallidie Plaza. Mayor Lee has also requested that all radio stations that broadcast in San Francisco play the song at or around noon.
Bennett first sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” at the Fairmont Hotel’s Venetian Room in December of 1961. He would record the song the next year, never expecting it to be such a hit (it was a B side on the record). But since then, the song has become an anthem for San Francisco and a worldwide hit, while also earning Bennett his first Grammy Award in 1962.
Bennett will be performing the song and a number of others at a sold-out benefit dinner and concert for heart research at UCSF at the Fairmont on Valentine’s Day.
Photo Credit: Dwightmccann, via Wikimedia Commons