According to the Noël Coward Society, "I'll See You Again" was both the biggest immediate "hit" of his career and the top royalty earner in the Coward catalogue for sixty years, although curiously there is no known recording of it between 1967 and 1998.
Though former child actor Coward had scored big time in 1924 with his play The Vortex, and had been spectacularly successful in revue, some were skeptical that he would be able to emulate his success with a full scale musical. He did not disappoint; after opening at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, Bitter-Sweet moved to His Majesty's Theatre, London on July 18, 1929 where it ran for 697 performances, and the Ziegfeld Theatre, New York on November 5, where it clocked up another 159.
In his two volume study of the British musical theatre, Kurt Gänzl wrote, "I'll See You Again" was "the most popularly enduring [song and] was the show's principal romantic waltz theme... dedicated to Sari by Carl, which becomes the symbol of their love".
Sari was formerly Sarah Millick, who after becoming engaged at sixteen, eloped with her piano teacher, Carl. She had become a singer and hostess in a Viennese café, and her lover had become Linden.