In 1961, The Lettermen’s version of Jerome Kerns’ and Dorothy Fields’ classic song gave them their first big hit. The record went to #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, and #36 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was originally sung by Fred Astaire to Ginger Rogers in the movie Swing Time (1936). The number of cover goes on and on, including Bing Crosby and Dixie Lee, Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Chad & Jeremy, The Coasters, Perry Como, James Darren, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Johnny Maestro, The Jaguars, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Olivia- Newton-John, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Maroon 5, and Gloria Estefan, to name just a few.
The Lettermen were unknown until they signed with Capitol Records in 1961. Group members at the time were Tony Butala, Jim Pike, and Bob Engemann. They have beautiful, tight vocal harmonies and have enjoyed great success over the years. There have been numerous personnel changes over the years. However, Tony Butala has been with The Lettermen since 1958 and is the only original member of the trio performing with the group today.
Here are the lyrics:
“Some day, when I’m awfully low
And the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight
You’re lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft
There is nothing for me but to love you
Just the way you look tonight
With each word your tenderness grows
Tearing my fears apart
And your laugh that wrinkles your nose
Touches my foolish heart
You’re lovely and never, never change
Keep that breathless charm
Won’t you please arrange it?
‘Cause I love you just the way you look tonight
The way you look tonight”
For a fine doo wop version of the song, please listen to The Jaguars. They were an inter-racial group from Los Angeles and recorded “The Way You Look Tonight” in 1956. They were Herman Chaney, Charles Middleton, Valerio “Val” Poliuto, and Manuel “Manny” Chavez.
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