Tears On My Pillow

Album: We Are The Imperials (1958)
Charted: 4

Songfacts®:

  • The first and best-selling single for Little Anthony & the Imperials, "Tears On My Pillow" used the same backing tracks as the Penguins' "Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)." This was done as an economy move as the record company barely had enough money for the session tape.
  • Little Anthony is a sobbing mess in this song, where he can't deal with a heartbreak:

    Tears on my pillow, pain in my heart
    Caused by you


    The song was written by Sylvester Bradford and Al Lewis; this team also wrote the Fats Domino song "I'm Ready."
  • Kylie Minogue covered this in 1990 for the soundtrack of the movie The Delinquents. Her version hit #1 in the UK.
  • Other artists who have covered this song include Vikki Carr, Lou Christie, Chuck Jackson, Martha & the Vandellas, Gwen McCrae, Reba McEntire, Lorrie Morgan, New Edition, S Club 8, Neil Sedaka, Johnny Tillotson, and Bobby Vee. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • This was featured in the 1995 Sliders episode "The Weaker Sex." When the Sliders land in an alternate world and need to find jobs, Rembrandt Brown (Cleavant Derricks) takes up busking and sings the tune for passersby. It's the perfect song choice for Rembrandt - back home he's a popular doo-wop singer known as Crying Man.
  • Sha Na Na, as the fictional '50s band Johnny Casino & The Gamblers, performed this in Grease (1978) at the school dance. Their version was also included on the movie's hit soundtrack, which topped the album charts in the US and UK.

Comments: 8

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1958 {October 20th} Billboard Magazine posted it's first 'Hot R&B Sides' chart...
    "Tears On My Pillow" was at position #2, and that would also be it's peaked position on the newly formed chart...
    The Top 10 was:
    At #1. 'Rockin'-Robin" by Bobby Day
    #2. "Tears On My Pillow" by Little Anthony and the Imperials
    #3. "It's All In The Game" by Tommy Edwards
    #4. "Win Your Love For Me" by Sam Cooke
    #5. "Topsy II" by Cozy Cole
    #6. "Down The Aisle Of Love" by The Quin-Tones
    #7. "Hold It" by Bill Doggett
    #8. "It Don't Hurt Anymore" by Nappy Brown
    #9. "The Ten Commandments of Love" by Harvey and the Moon Glows
    #10. "I'm Gonna Get My Baby" by Jimmy Reed
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm
    Frederick 'Denny' Greene, member of Sha Na Na when the group formed at New York's Columbia University and later appearing with them at Woodstock, died in Columbus, Ohio Saturday, September 5th, 2015 at the age of 66...
    Denny sang lead on "Tears On My Pillow" with the group in the movie 'Grease', but he left after 15 years to go to Harvard University and get his law degree from Yale. Since 2007 he had taught law at the University of Dayton School of Law...
    He was with the group during their syndicated TV program and sang on their two Top 100 records - "Top Forty (of the Lord)” (#84 in 1971) and the covered version of "(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet" (#55 in 1975)...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 25th 1970, Little Anthony and the Imperials performed "Tears On My Pillow" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show' (it was performed in a medley with "Goin' Out of Head", "Don't Get Close", "Shimmy Shimmy Koko Bop", and "Hurts So Bad")...
    Twelve years earlier on August 5th, 1958 "Tears On My Pillow" entered Billboard's Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #4 and spent 19 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    On July 18th, 1961 the McGuire Sisters' covered version entered the Top 100 for a five week stay, peaking at #59...
    The most successful covered version of the song was released by Australian singer Kylie Minogue; on January 21st, 1990 her version peaked at #1 (for 1 week) on the United Kingdom's Singles chart but in her native Australia it only reached #20.
  • R from Denver, CoRight you are, Peter...the two songs do not use the same backing track. All you really have to do is listen to them.
  • Maria from Bangalore, IndiaI Love this song....simply love it!!
  • King Yang from Junior Bay, OtherTears on m pillow was also covered in Reggae by Roman Stewart of Jamaica
  • Peter from Hillsborough, NcTo Brad from Miami- I don't think your comment is true. Not only are the backgound vocals different, but the Penguins were a West Coast group (Dootone label) and Little Anthony was an East Coast group. It is doubtful that their respective labels had anything to do with each other.
    In "Earth Angel", the background vocal is "ooh ooh" sung in unison, as in "Tears...", but the vocal after the first line of "Earth Angel" is "ooh.." followed by "wah ah ah ooh" in harmony. "Tears..."'s background on the verses stays in unison. This is all pretty trivial, but fun to write about.
    When I was growing up in suburban New York, Little Anthony played at my sister's Eastchester High School prom in 1964. The next year I saw them in Brooklyn at a stage show with the Motown Revue. Although the Miracles were probably the favorite overall crowd favorite, Little Anthony was the home graoup, as they were from Brookyn. They sang "I'm On the Outside Looking In" and "Hurt So Bad" and had exciting dance routines (featuring splits)on uptempo numbers. I recently saw the group on a PBS special and am happy to sat that Little Anthony hasn't lost a thing vocally.- Peter, Hillsborough, N.C.
  • Kei from Salem, OrThis song was also covered on New Edition's 1986 Motown-covers album Under the Blue Moon. In the NE version, Little Anthony himself appeared as a guest vocalist, doing harmony ad-libs with the boys at the song's end. This was the first version of the song I ever had, and it remains my favorite.
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