Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

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For the Homicide episode, see Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Homicide: Life on the Street). For the Mad Men episode, see Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Mad Men).
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"
Single by The Platters
from the album Remember When?
B-side "No Matter What You Are"
Released 1958
Format 45 rpm
Genre Doo-wop
Length 2:40
Label Mercury
Writer(s) Otto Harbach, Jerome Kern
Producer(s) Buck Ram[1]
The Platters singles chronology
"I Wish"
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" is a show tune written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for their 1933 musical Roberta. It was sung in the original show by Tamara Drasin and originally recorded by Gertrude Niesen on October 13, 1933, on the Victor label 24454. It was performed by Irene Dunne for the 1935 film adaptation, co-starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Randolph Scott.

Possibly the most famous version was recorded in 1958 by The Platters, which became a number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 — it reached number three on the R&B charts in 1959[2] — and on the UK charts, where it spent five weeks at the top in February and March of that same year.[3] Platters' producer Buck Ram reported that Harbach "congratulated Buck Ram and the Platters for reviving his song with taste."[1]

It has been covered by numerous artists, beginning with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra with Bob Lawrence on vocal, which went to the top of the charts in 1934, and including Nat "King" Cole, who first covered it in 1946. It also featured in Lovely to Look At, a 1952 remake of Roberta, where it was sung by Kathryn Grayson. In 1956, Vic Damone covered this song with a very different rendition, which became one of his most famous songs.

For bandleader Ray Conniff, it was one of his signature songs during his career. A 1972 remake by British band Blue Haze, formed by Johnny Arthey and Phil Swern,[4] also became popular. Saxophone player Boots Randolph did an instrumental version of the song on the B-side of his LP Yakety Sax. Bryan Ferry recorded a quavering version of the song in 1974 on the album Another Time, Another Place, which reached number 17 on the UK charts in September 1974. Jerry Garcia, who was named after Jerome Kern, released a music video in the early 1990s covering the song, with actress Ashley Judd sitting in the background listening. In the early 1990s, the song was performed by Eartha Kitt as part of her work with a small jazz combo in Germany; these recordings are preserved under the name Thinking Jazz.

Notable recordings[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The song has been featured in several films including:

In literature[edit]

In Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield listens to this song when he is at the carousel.

In music[edit]

In American Alt Rock Band Cake's song "Wheels" from their album Pressure Chief, the song is referenced: "In a seedy karaoke bar... there's a Japanese man in a business suit singing 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'".

In television[edit]

The Platters' version of the song was featured in a 2012 episode of Criminal Minds, entitled "Heathridge Manor".[6]

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" is the title of the pilot episode of the AMC TV series Mad Men (airdate July 19, 2007).

Polly Bergen sang "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" on the series premiere of her NBC variety show, The Polly Bergen Show (airdate September 21, 1957).[7]

It was on the Muppet Show Season 2 Episode 2.

Used as the background music throughout the 2006 Korean drama, 90 Days, Time to Love.

In other uses[edit]

In 1943, Giuliana Camerino and her husband fled Italy to escape the persecution of Jews in Italy and returned in 1945, when Giuliana launched her fashion house, Roberta di Camerino. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" was the last song the Camerinos danced to before becoming refugees, so Giuliana named her fashion house after the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film as a reminder of happier times.[8]

The song was performed by Shirley Bassey in a 1971 edition of The Morecambe and Wise Show, with assistance (in the form of well-meaning but less-than-competent stagehands) from the two comedians.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Buck Ram interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 463. 
  3. ^ Charlie Gillett, Simon Frith (1976). Rock File 4. Panther Books Ltd. p. 388. 
  4. ^ Verity, Michael. One Hit Wonders: Blue Haze’s "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes". Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Pearls overview". 
  6. ^ "Criminal Minds episode Heathridge Manor". Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Polly Bergen Show". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (9/11/1999). "Front Row: To Have and To Hold". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 

External links[edit]