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Hoagy Carmichael wrote this after giving up his law career in 1927 and first recorded it that year with his band as a Jazz number. According to legend, Carmichael came up with the song when he went for a walk under the stars and started thinking about former girlfriends.
Carmichael's instrumental version did pretty well, and 2 years later, Mitchell Parish added lyrics and Carmichael reworked the song as a slow ballad. Bandleader Isham Jones recorded this new arrangement, which became the first of many hit records of the tune. The song became a Big Band standard, with just about every prominent bandleader and singer of the '30s and '40s performing it, making it one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century.
Nat King Cole's version is the most well-known. It was revived when it was featured in the 1993 movie Sleepless In Seattle. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above)
Bette Midler considers this her favorite song, with the lyrics, "And now the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart" her favorite words. (thanks, Jack C - Auckland, New Zealand)
Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"
The Nails lead singer Marc Campbell talks about those 44 women he sings about over a stock Casio keyboard track. He's married to one of them now - you might be surprised which.
Mike Watt - "History Lesson, Pt. 2"
Mike Watt of the Minutemen tells the story of the song that became an Indie Rock touchstone. It's also the story of what Mike calls "The Movement."