The Brill Building songwriter Carl Sigman wrote this with his good friend Herb Magidson (writer of the first Academy Award-winning song, "The Continental"). Sigman's son Michael tells the story in The Carl Sigman Songbook
Herb was struggling with the excellent but rather unmotivated writer Benny Oakland on a song suggested by an old Chinese proverb. The song wasn't going anywhere, so Herb asked Carl if he would step in for Benny, which was more than fine with Benny. After only a brief get-together, Carl and Herb, a Los Angeleno, wrote the multi-versed song over the phone. It was most memorably recorded by Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians with Kenny Gardner as vocalist. The song's refrain - "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think/Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink/The years go by, as quickly as a wink/Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself/It's later than you think" - couldn't get much more universal, and began to illuminate Carl's instinct for capitalizing on common conversational phrases. As he told Newsday
in an interview shortly before he passed away, "I was always listening, reading or looking for everyday expressions. I strive to make conversational lyrics - that's my strength - like 'Did anyone call?' or 'I'll never forgive myself.'" "Enjoy Yourself" is still played every New Year's Eve all over the English-speaking world. In addition to covers by Bing Crosby, Doris Day, and Louis Prima, it was revived by the English ska band The Specials in 1980, and reappeared in 2005 as a Country number by Todd Snider. It also has been used on motion picture soundtracks (Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You
) and was featured in a Mercedes commercial that ran during the 2000 Olympics coverage.