50s Music

When I Fall In Love: A Classic Song by Nat King Cole

About the song

If you are a fan of romantic songs, you have probably heard of “When I Fall In Love”, a popular song written by Victor Young and Edward Heyman. It was first introduced in the 1952 film One Minute to Zero, but it became a classic when Nat King Cole recorded it in 1956 for his album Love Is the Thing. In this blog post, I will give you an introduction and highlight the history of this song.

The Origins of the Song

The song was originally composed by Victor Young, a prolific film composer who wrote over 300 scores for Hollywood movies. He collaborated with lyricist Edward Heyman, who had previously worked with him on songs like “Love Letters” and “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”. The song was intended to be an instrumental theme for the war drama One Minute to Zero, starring Robert Mitchum and Ann Blyth. However, the producers decided to add lyrics to the song and have it sung by Jeri Southern, a jazz vocalist who was under contract with Decca Records. Southern’s version was released in April 1952 and became the first vocal recording of the song.

The First Hit Version

The song caught the attention of Doris Day, a popular singer and actress who had starred in musicals like Calamity Jane and Tea for Two. She recorded the song in June 1952 with Percy Faith as the producer and arranger. Her version was released in July 1952 by Columbia Records and became a hit, reaching number 20 on the Billboard chart. Day’s version was also featured in her 1954 film Young at Heart, co-starring Frank Sinatra.

The Classic Version by Nat King Cole

The song was recorded by many other artists in the 1950s, such as Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Rick Nelson, and Johnny Mathis. But the most famous and enduring version was sung by Nat King Cole, one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. Cole had a smooth and velvety voice that could convey deep emotions and charm listeners. He recorded the song on December 28, 1956 for his album Love Is the Thing, which was arranged and conducted by Gordon Jenkins. The album was released in 1957 by Capitol Records and became a huge success, reaching number one on the Billboard album chart and staying there for eight weeks. The song was also used as the recurrent love theme in the 1957 film Istanbul, starring Errol Flynn and Cornell Borchers. In this film, Cole sang the song onscreen in a nightclub scene.

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The Legacy of the Song

The song has become a standard in the pop and jazz repertoire, with hundreds of artists covering it over the years. Some of the notable versions include those by Celine Dion and Clive Griffin (1993), Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole (1996), Rod Stewart (2004), Michael Bublé (2005), Andrea Bocelli and Veronica Berti (2013), and Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett (2014). The song has also been featured in many films, TV shows, commercials, and video games. It has been recognized as one of the greatest songs of all time by various publications and organizations. In 2004, it was ranked number 24 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs list. In 2009, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

“When I Fall In Love” is a timeless song that expresses the hope and faith of true love. It has touched generations of listeners with its beautiful melody and lyrics. It is a testament to the talent and legacy of Victor Young, Edward Heyman, and Nat King Cole.


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