They Left Their Hearts in San Francisco

The Lives of Songwriters George Cory and Douglass Cross


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SKU: 9781476669007 Categories: ,

About the Book

George Cory and Douglass Cross wrote just one hit song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” They were unknown before they wrote it–and were unknown after it became a standard.
Their lives were a tangle. They eked out a meager living in San Francisco and Brooklyn for 15 years before Tony Bennett serendipitously came across the song, which had languished. His recording revived his career and made the songwriters rich.
Wealth didn’t beget happiness. The duo broke up. Cross drank himself to death. Cory died from drinking as well (widely believed to be a suicide). In 2016, San Francisco dedicated a monument to the city’s official song in front of the iconic Fairmont Hotel–a statue of Tony Bennett.

About the Author(s)

Bill Christine won nine national writing awards and shared in a Pulitzer Prize during his 25 years with the Los Angeles Times. His books include Roberto!, a biography about baseball great Roberto Clemente, and Bill Hartack: The Bittersweet Life of a Hall of Fame Jockey. He lives in Redondo Beach, California.

Bibliographic Details

Bill Christine
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6900-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3081-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. The Puzzling Death of George Cory 5
2. Walter K. Hinton 17
3. Westward, Ho 30
4. Douglass Cross Writes a Will 36
5. A Song Grows in Brooklyn 43
6. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda 52
7. The George Cory Ensemble: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow 61
8. “The Phantom”: Tony Bennett’s Secret Weapon 71
9. “The middle of nowhere” 82
10. December 28, 1961 90
11. String Along with Mitch 99
12. The Battle of San Francisco 112
13. City Ditties 122
14. Suppositions 131
15. Old Man River 140
Appendix I: Douglass Cross’ and George Cory’s Wills 153
Appendix II: Other One-Hit Wonders 159
Appendix III: The Richest Songs of All Time 167
Chapter Notes 173
Bibliography 187
Index 193

Book Reviews & Awards

“Meticulously researched…a superlative study of a song that has not left our hearts in the course of over half a century. It belongs on the shelf of all those who are interested in the Great American Songbook.”—ARSC Journal; “Christine’s book is a dual biography of the guys who wrote Bennett’s signature song, ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco.’ But the book is much more than a topsy-turvy Horatio Alger saga (rags-to-riches-to-booze). Christine writes in the first person, like a real-life detective novel, about his search for the truth about the star-crossed lives of the composer and lyricist…a captivating mixture of intrigue and double-crosses.”—Ed Goldman, daily columnist, Sacramento Business Journal.