I'll Never Smile Again

Album: Collector's Series (1940)
Charted: 1
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  • This song was written by a Toronto-based songwriter named Ruth Lowe, who composed it out of the despair she felt when her husband, Harold Cohen, died in 1939 after an operation went wrong (in glorified tales of this story, Cohen was a Canadian fighter pilot who was killed in action). Lowe's sentiment was that she could never love another, or even laugh again, since her true love was killed. To give the song a more universal appeal, she made it about a breakup, including the lines:

    Tears would fill my eyes
    My heart would realize
    That our romance is through
  • The first performance of this song was by Percy Faith's orchestra on CBC Radio in 1939. Tommy Dorsey, whose orchestra was one of the most popular in America, received a copy of the song and recorded it with his young vocalist, Frank Sinatra. Issued as a Tommy Dorsey single, it was the first-ever #1 on Billboard's singles chart, the magazine's precursor to the Hot 100.
  • This became one of Sinatra's most popular songs, especially later in his career when it was included in most of his sets. His daughter Nancy explained in the documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, "That song, it followed by dad his whole life, and I think it was probably because so many people identified with it in the first place, with their personal losses."
  • World War II was raging when this song was recorded, but America didn't enter the war until 1941, after the Pearl Harbor bombing (Sinatra was not drafted because he was born with a perforated eardrum). With a theme of longing and anguish, the song resonated with many listeners whose loved ones were fighting or were killed, and it became very much associated with the war.
  • Some of the many artists to record this song include The Ink Spots, Sarah Vaughan, Michael Bublé, Al Hirt and Barry Manilow. The Platters took the song to #25 US in 1961, and that same year the Wanderers' version hit #107.

Comments: 2

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 24, 1961, the Platters were guests on the Dick Clark ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the quintet's covered version of "I'll Never Smile Again" was at #34 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, three weeks later it would peak at #25 {for 1 week} and it spent 8 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #17 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1955 and 1967 the Los Angeles-based quintet had thirty-nine Top 100 records; seven* made the Top 10 with four reaching #1, "The Great Pretender" for 2 weeks in 1956, "My Prayer" for 5 weeks in 1956, "Twilight Time" for 1 week in 1958, and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" for 3 weeks in 1959...
    Sadly, all five original members of the group have passed away; the last being bassist Herb Reed on June 4th, 2012 at the age of 83...
    May they all R.I.P.
    *They just missed having nine Top 10 records when both "You'll Never Never Know" {1956} and "I'm Sorry" {1957} peaked at #11 on the Top 100.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 23rd 1940, Frank Sinatra with the Pied Pipers* and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra recorded "I'll Never Smile Again"...
    Two months and four days later on July 27th, 1940 it became the first #1 record on Billboard's National List of Best Selling Retail Records chart...
    It remained at #1 for 12 weeks and was replaced at the top spot by "Only Forever" by Bing Crosby...
    * Jo Stafford was a member of the Pied Pipers; and between 1944 and 1957 she , as a solo artist, had eighty-four records make the Top 100 with four reaching #1.
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