"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 — 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.
Notable recordings 
In popular culture 
The song has been featured in several films including:
In literature 
In Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield listens to this song when he is at the carousel.
In music 
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 
The song was played in an episode of Criminal Minds while a serial killer was sharing a dance with his sister.
"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).
In other uses 
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.
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 
External links