Beginning in 1949, the New York Yankees major league baseball team began dominating their sport like no other team before or since. By 1964, the team had won the pennant 14 times and won the World Series nine times. It’s no wonder that the novel Douglass Wallop wrote in 1954 became a bestseller: The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant. The novel was a fantasy about a deal with the devil that led to the Washington Senators beating the Yankees in the final game of the year.
It’s probably just a coincidence that the Yankees lost the pennant to the Cleveland Indians in 1954, the only loss they suffered in a ten-year period.
In 1955, a musical play based on the book became a hit on Broadway – Damn Yankees. Several artists released covers of one song from the musical. While you may recall the name of the song as being You Gotta Have Heart, the actual name was simply Heart. While a cast album contained the song, it doesn’t appear that they ever released a single version from the album.
Eddie Fisher recorded a version of the song in 1955 and his single reached the charts on May 14th and peaked at #6 in late June. While some background singers sang on the record, they weren’t singing harmony with Eddie and the song doesn’t sound exactly like the play.
Several Yankees in the locker room performed the song in the play, so it wasn’t too surprising that the Four Aces released a second version of the song that replicated at least some of the harmonies found in the stage production. Their single hit the charts two weeks after Eddie’s version and peaked at #13 two weeks before Eddie reached #6.
A film version of the play premiered in 1958 that featured most of the original Broadway cast reprising their roles and songs.
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