Words: overdog, n.

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IF EVER there were false economy, it was the engineer who "did not have enough tape" when Tony Bennett suggested that he record all the rehearsals and alternate takes for his sessions with Bill Evans. That would now make a fascinating, lucrative box-set.

Bennett, in favouring good songs, has outlasted those of whom he writes: "I called those kind of artists `overdogs'. It doesn't matter whether or not they had talent or how long they lasted, they were forced down the public's throats." No need for his quotation marks. The word, in this sense, goes back to Thirties America, and was used, ironically, by Thom Gunn two decades later of history's toughs: "I praise the overdogs from Alexander / To those who would not play with Stephen Spender."