You Fascinate Me So

Brian De Lorenzo
8 min readAug 22

A Lyrical Appreciation of Carolyn Leigh

Carolyn Leigh

I have always associated the song “The Best is Yet to Come” with the great Tony Bennett, who left us just last month at the age of 96. Others may think of Frank Sinatra when they hear the title. In fact, the title is the epitaph on Sinatra’s gravestone.

The song was written in 1959 and first released in 1960 on a recording by Jesse Belvin, with the Marty Paich Orchestra. Bennett recorded it in 1961 and Sinatra — not until 1964.

There’s another person we all should think of when we hear the title: Carolyn Leigh, the song’s lyricist.

Carolyn Rosenthal was born in the Bronx, NY on August 21, 1926. She enjoyed writing poetry and stories and, after attending Hunter College High School, Queens College, and New York University, she worked as a copy writer for ad agencies and radio stations.

According to the biography in her papers from the New York Public Library Theatre Collection, sometime in 1951 Leigh dialed a wrong number, which led to her career as a lyricist. The wrong number happened to be that of a music publisher.

After the phone conversation, Leigh met with the publisher, he reviewed her writing, and contracted her to write lyrics. Her first song, “I’m Waiting Just for You,” with music by Henry Glover, was published the same year. Lucky Millinder and Rosemary Clooney made recordings of it that year, and it became a best seller for Pat Boone six years later.

Rosemary Clooney — I’m Waiting Just for You

In 1953, Leigh was asked to write lyrics to the melody “Moonbeam,” written in 1939 by Johnny Richards (born Juan Manuel Cascales) which Leigh turned into “Young at Heart.” Frank Sinatra’s recording of it became such a hit that the song title became the title of the movie that he and Doris Day were filming at the time. Naturally, the song was played during the film credits.

The song attracted the attention of Mary Martin who, with her husband and manager Richard Halliday, were planning a…

Brian De Lorenzo

Talent America’s "Performer of the Year" and "Top Ten of New York Cabaret." Singer – Recording Artist – Songwriter - Actor