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 — and on the UK charts, where it spent five weeks at the top in February and March of that same year.
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, 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.
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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 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.