Songs and related Episodes

(80) Harvey Thompson@Here's To Life
@@Japanese Version

Harvey Thompson(1956- )

In 2003, the owner of live house "B-flat", Mr. Sugiya informed me that Harvey Thompson who was born in Detroit, living in Osaka will come. Mr. Sugiya is always sure to notice me when his recommended performer comes to B-flat. Harvey has just moved from U.S. to Osaka in 2002

His vocal hit my brain! I couldn't beleive such a vocalist lives in Japan.

This time, a special joint live of Jo Thompson from Detroit and Harvey Thompson from Osaka was held. So Harvey's stage was one set of about one hour.

I was freezed by his song and voice during his stage. I didn't smoke and didn't touch my glass, I was perfectly still.

I was knocked down by his song hHere's To Lifeh.

This was the first time to listen "Here's To Life" in live.

In February of the next year, 2004, Jazz Fes. called "Yatsugatake Jazz Street" was planned and produced by my younger cousin. I recommended and introduced five groups as the performers of the event to him. Harvey Thompson was included among them.

Artie Butler(1942- j
and Shirley Horn(1934-2005)

"Here's To Life" was composed by Artie Butler. Words by Phyllis Molinary. Artie recorded a single record "Lock Stock & Barrel" when he was thirteen years old.

He is a Composer, Arranger, Song Writer, Music Director, and a Record Producer. He is multi-talented guy.

The sheet music of "Here's To Life" was published by Warner Bros. Publications in 1992, when Shirley Horn recorded. Orchestration was writen by Johnny Mandel. This record got Grammy Nomination.

But, Harvey sings "Here's To Life" enthusiastically. Listen Harvey's "Here's To Life".

by Liane Wakabayashi

Almost people thought "Here's To Life" is originally sung by Shirley Horn. But this song had been sung by Joe Williams since around 1984 or 1985.

Below is Artie Butler's memories of Joe Williams and "Here's To Life."

Joe Williams(1918-1999), 1990

Joe is one of my all time musical heroes. I made my father take me to Birdland when I was a kid to see the Count Basie band with Joe Williams. When that band started to play and Joe sang, my life changed forever. The sense of power and swing that these guys had were such an influence on me. It was contagious. Sitting in front of that band was like sitting in front of an eighteen wheel semi speeding down the highway. As I got more involved with the New York recording scene from 1959 until I moved to Los Angeles in 1967, I started meeting many people in the business. Joe was one of the people I met early in my career. He was always gracious and willing to lend an ear to a new guy trying to break in. Joe always had two things with him. Advice and great jokes. He was truly precious.

Around 1984 I ran into him in Las Vegas when I was conducting for Suzanne Somers at the Desert Inn. I told him I had a song I thought he should hear. I played him gHerefs To Life.h When I finished he was in tears. He actually stood there crying. He told me he loved the song. I could see in his face how affected he was by it. He made me play and sing it again. I figured anyone who can stomach my singing must be serious. About a year or so later he recorded it and started singing it all over the world wherever he worked. He would call me and tell me how great the audience response was.

I wrote some arrangements for Joe and we did some symphony dates and TV shows together. We became real good friends, and when he came to LA he would always call and we would try to have lunch or dinner. There were also the phone calls from each other with the latest greatest joke. He had a great sense of humor. I told him that I thought that he put a tuxedo on the blues when he sang. He gave it class. He liked thatc it made him smile.

The last time I saw Joe was at a dinner in Santa Monica where he was being honored. He sang gHerefs To Lifeh and I accompanied him on piano. Just the two of us. There were about eight hundred people attending. He brought the house down. After we finished he leaned down and hugged me and said gIfll see yaf when I see ya.h Joe passed away about two weeks later. I gave one of the eulogies at his funeral. I keep thinking about the last thing he said to me. When I hear his music I still see him. I still learn from him, and Ifll always cherish my relationship with him. I am honored to be one of the performers for the annual Joe Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund Concert held in Las Vegas each year. He was a class act as a performer and as a man.

Artie Butler

This next article is writen by Joel E. Seagel. He was a professor of George Town University and is famous as the lyricist of "Estate".

The Artie Butler's song "Here's to Life" brings me an interesting story I've heard of some years ago.

First of all, it is said to be a Joe Williams' song as a gift by the composer.
Now and then, the late Williams would include it in his live performances. However, he never recorded it in an album until after Shirley Horn's smash hit. With an irresistible arrangement by Johnny Mandel and the same feeling we are used to, Mrs.Horn will hardly be surpassed in quality, timing. The Grammy and all available awards at that time had to hers.

One of the last Joe Williams' albums for Telarc was entitled "Here's to Life". This title song was recorded in two tracks of the CD edition. The arranger was the famous Robert Farnon. I think it was too late. Horn had taken the song to herself.

As the associate producer of the Horn CD "Here's To Life", I can offer the definitive version of the song's history. Composer Artie Butler, who had an association with Sinatra, gave Frank the first option to record the piece.

For years, Frank kept promising to record it but somehow never got around to doing so. Joe Williams wanted the song, so Butler asked Sinatra to relinquish it, which he did. Joe performed it frequently, but a producer at Verve--I will not reveal the idiot's name--refused to allow Joe to record it. Frustrated, Joe made a private recording of the song for his own edification. Shirley, who early in her career was managed by Joe's managerJohn Levy, talked John into slipping her a copy of that tape. (I know this for a fact, because I was there when he delivered the tape to her.) She recorded it, with great success, and Joe was agnry with both Levy and Shirley for swiping "his" song. That's why he subsequently released a CD with the same title containing TWO versions of the song--an act of revenge, I believe.

Mandel @Shirley @Siegel

Joel Siegel (1943-2007) where I wrote this seemed to work as a manager producer of Shirly Horn in the people who had been working as a film critic of ABS News for many years from 80s through 90s. It is serious human being and that is barefaced whether an equivalence person thinks the image as the manager to be present at to blow of Here's To Life of Shirley that I write the article mentioned above.

At my living room, 2011/6/22

Yesterday, my friend Toru-chan brought Harvey Thompson to my home. So, I edited English version for Harvey's page. (2011/6/23)

Official site

You Raised Me Up

Birks' Works

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