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Published on Jan 10, 2013
Stranger in Paradise" is a popular song from the 1953 musical Kismet and is credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was based on music composed by Alexander Borodin, in this case, the "Gliding Dance of the Maidens," from the Polovtsian Dances.
Richard Kiley and Doretta Morrow performed the song in the original cast of Kismet. Vic Damone and Ann Blyth performed the song in the 1955 film.
The most popular version was sung by Tony Bennett (1953), but other versions by The Four Aces and Tony Martin also received popular favor in 1954. Bennett's version reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in May 1955. It was not until 1955 that Kismet, and thus the songs from the show, came to London. It was Bennett's debut hit record in the United Kingdom.
The huge popularity of "Stranger in Paradise" in the UK is reflected by the fact that no less than 6 versions charted in 1955: Besides the chart topper by Tony Bennett, there was also the Four Aces (#6), Tony Martin (#6), Bing Crosby (#17), Don Cornell (#19), as well as an instrumental version by Eddie Calvert (#14) in the UK chart listings.
Mose Allison, Sarah Brightman, Ray Conniff, Sammy Davis, Jr., Percy Faith, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gordon MacRae, Johnny Mathis, Keely Smith, Ray Conniff, Curtis Counce, Isaac Hayes, The Ink Spots, Jack Jones, Mantovani, Wes Montgomery, André Rieu, Saint Etienne, George Shearing, Sun Ra, The Supremes, and Toots Thielemans are among the other artists who have recorded cover versions of this standard. Neil Young has performed the song live.
The song was also featured in the video game Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius for the PlayStation. Not only did it appear as background music in Parodius, it was also featured in Ape Escape 3 on the Saru-Mon's (Immobile) Castle stage.
In the 1999 film Breakfast of Champions, based on the book of the same name by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., the song is used as a recurring motif.
It also appeared in an anime, Absolute Boy, as a ringtone.
Violinist André Rieu also made an orchestral cover of this song. It is also used in the rap song Prince Igor by The Rapsody, Warren G and Sissel
In 2011, Tony Bennett rerecorded the song as a duet with Andrea Bocelli for his album Duets II.