Partner George Cory
1210 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was written by Douglass Cross (May 4, 1920 - January 7, 1975) for George Cory, after they visited San Francisco in 1954. When the song was written, Cory and Cross were amateur songwriters who had moved to New York following military service during WW II and had become homesick for the West Coast. After pitching the song unsuccessfully to other artists for about eight years, the song was picked up by Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett's musical director, who suggested to Bennett that it would be a good song for a 1962 "Happy New Year" engagement scheduled at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Mayor George Christopher and future mayor Joseph L. Alioto were in attendance. After a good response to the song, Bennett recorded it shortly and released it in February 1962. The song became an enduring hit and in 1969 was named as the official song of San Francisco and the two authors were present for the city's board of supervisors unanimous decision to select it.
Cross was born on May 4, 1920 in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. While in the army, Cory met Douglass Cross who was also in the service at the time. During the war, Cory and Cross collaborated on musical shows for servicemen. After military service, the two moved to Brooklyn, New York, to make a career of songwriting and met with mixed success.
In the 1950s they wrote special material for artists such as Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Chris Connor, Mabel Mercer and Bobby Short. They wrote over 200 songs together, but only 30 were published. The song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was their only commercial success. Cory said, "It was pure nostalgia. We missed the warmth and openness of the people and the beauty. We never took to New York." The song provided them income for life when it became an international hit. In 2003, authors Cory and Cross received the "Towering Song Award" for the song, given by the Songwriters Hall of Fame and presented at the National Academy of Popular Music's 34th annual induction ceremony. Tony Bennett received the "Towering Performance Award for his trademark rendition of the song.
Cross was also a singer, an actor and a radio personality.
Cross died on January 7, 1975, age 54, in Petaluma, California. Cory committed suicide in 1978.
In 2017 Bill Christine published "They Left Their Hearts in San Francisco: The Lives of Songwriters George Cory and Douglass Cross."