Strangers in the Night

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This article is about the song. For the album by Frank Sinatra, see Strangers in the Night (Frank Sinatra album). For the album by UFO, see Strangers in the Night (UFO album).
"Strangers In the Night"
Song by Frank Sinatra from the album Strangers in the Night
Released 1966
Recorded April 11, 1966
Genre Traditional pop
Length 2:35 (original album/single version, incorrectly listed as 2:25 in the original back cover)
2:44 (extended version from "Nothing But the Best")
Label Reprise[1]
Writer Bert Kaempfert, Charles Singleton, Eddie Snyder[1]
Producer Jimmy Bowen[1]
Strangers in the Night track listing
"Strangers In the Night"
(1)
"Summer Wind"
(2)
Music sample
"Strangers in the Night"
Single by Connie Francis
A-side Somewhere, My Love
Released 1967
Format 7" single
Recorded May 31, 1966
Genre Schlager music
Length 3:01 (A-side)
3:08 (B-side)
Label MGM Records 61 148
Writer(s) Bert Kaempfert, Charles Singleton, Eddie Snyder
Producer(s) Tom Wilson
Connie Francis
German singles chronology
Es ist so schön, dass es dich gibt /
Das soll nie mehr vorübergeh'n
(1967)
Somewhere, My Love /
Strangers in The Night
(1967)
Goodbye, Mama /
Traumboot
(1967)

"Strangers in the Night" is a popular song credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder.[1] Kaempfert originally used it under the title "Beddy Bye" as part of the instrumental score for the movie A Man Could Get Killed.[1] The song was made famous in 1966 by Frank Sinatra.[2][3]

Reaching number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Easy Listening chart,[4] it was the title song for Sinatra's 1966 album Strangers in the Night, which became his most commercially successful album. The song also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.[5]

Sinatra's recording won him the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist for Ernie Freeman at the Grammy Awards of 1967. Hal Blaine was the drummer on the record and Glen Campbell played rhythm guitar.[citation needed]

Song origin[edit]

In an interview, Avo Uvezian gave an account of the story behind Strangers in the Night stating that he originally composed the song for Frank Sinatra while in New York at the request of a mutual friend who wanted to introduce the two. He wrote the melody after which someone else put in the lyrics and the song was originally titled "Broken Guitar". After presenting the song to Sinatra a week later, Sinatra did not like the lyrics, so the lyrics were rewritten and the song was renamed and became known as Strangers in the Night.

When asked about why someone else (Kaempfert) was claiming the song, Uvezian went on to say that since Kaempfert was a friend of his and in the industry, he asked him to publish the German version in Germany so the two can split the profits since Uvezian did not feel he would get paid for his work on the song in the US. Uvezian stated that when he gave the music to Kaempfert the song had already been renamed and lyrics revised. Uvezian also stated that Kaempfert also gave him a letter acknowledging Uvezian as the composer.

Other claims and copyright issues[edit]

It is sometimes claimed that the Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the original composer of "Strangers in the Night", and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after entering it without success in a song contest in Yugoslavia. This has not been substantiated. Robić—often referred to as "Mr. Morgen" for his 1950s charts success with Morgen, created in collaboration with Bert Kaempfert—was rather the singer of the Croatian-language version of the song, called "Stranci u Noći".[citation needed]

It was published in 1966 by the Croatian record company Jugoton under the serial number EPY-3779. On the label of the record, B. Kaempfert and M. Renota are stated as authors, wherein Marija Renota is the creator of the Croatian lyrics. The original composition of "Strangers" was under the title "Beddy Bye"—referring to the lead character William Beddoes—as an instrumental for the score of the movie A Man Could Get Killed.[citation needed]

The phrase "Strangers in the Night" was created after the composition, when the New York music publishers Roosevelt Music requested that the lyricists Snyder and Singleton—fresh off of "Spanish Eyes", composed by Kaempfert of "Moon Over Naples" fame—to put some words to the tune. "Stranci u Noći" is a literal translation of this phrase.[citation needed]

In 1967, French composer Michel Philippe-Gérard (more commonly known as just Philippe-Gérard) established a claim that the melody of "Strangers" was based on his composition "Magic Tango", which was published in 1953 through Chappells in New York.[6] Royalties from the song were thus frozen[7] until a court in Paris ruled in 1971 against plagiarism, stating that many songs were based on similar constant factors.[8]

Vocal improvisation[edit]

One of the most memorable and recognizable features of the record is Sinatra's scat improvisation of the melody with the syllables "doo-be-doo-be-doo" as the song fades to the end.[3] Many fans lament the fact that the fade was early and Sinatra's improvisation is cut off too soon.[citation needed]

For the CD Nothing but the Best, the song was remastered and the running time is 2:45 instead of the usual 2:35. The extra ten seconds is just a continuation of Sinatra's scat singing. The track was recorded on April 11, 1966, one month before the rest of the album.

Sinatra despised the song, calling it at one time "a piece of shit" and "the worst fucking song that I have ever heard."[9] He was not afraid to voice his disapproval of playing it live. In spite of his contempt for the song, for the first time in eleven years he had a number one song, and it remained on the charts for fifteen weeks. Italian-American tenor Sergio Franchi (among many others) covered the song on his 1967 RCA Victor album From Sergio - with Love.

Cover versions[edit]

"Strangers in the Night" was recorded by many other artists, among them:

  • Peter Beil
in German as "Fremde in der Nacht"
for her 1966 album I Couldn't Live Without Your Love
in Italian as "Sola più che mai"
on his 2005 album Romeo Rodney
a first version in English (recorded April 2, 1966 - nine days prior to Sinatra's recording), which remains unreleased as of July 2012[10]
a second Version in English for her 1966 album "Movie Greats Of The 60s"[11]
in Italian as "Sola più che mai" for her 1967 album Connie Francis canta i suoi best-seller[10]
in Spanish as "No puedo olvidar" for her 1967 album Grandes Exitos del Cine de los Años 60[11]
in Japanese as "Yoru no sutorenjaa" for his 2012 album Aru koi no monogatari: My Standard Collection
who also recorded the song in 1966 just before Frank Sinatra recorded his version
for their 1967 album Bert Kaempfert Turns Us On[12]
an electronic version featuring the Moog synthesizer on their album Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music From Way Out
In 1976, Midler recorded a disco version of the song for her album Songs for the New Depression
recorded two versions of this song, one on her 1984 album Catene and another on her 2005 album L'allieva.
in German as "Fremde in der Nacht"
in Croatian as "Stranci u Noći"
  • Gerhard Wendland
in German as "Fremde in der Nacht"
on his album Manilow Sings Sinatra
on their Live! Bootleg album as an instrumental cover

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 101. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ "Eddie Snyder obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  3. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 22 - Smack Dab in the Middle on Route 66: A skinny dip in the easy listening mainstream. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.  Track 3.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 191–2. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ "Court Told Music Hit Plagiarized: French Composer Asks $400,000 For Sinatra Record". Toledo Blade. 7 December 1968. p. 4. 
  7. ^ "Charge Is Holding Up 'Strangers' Royalties". Billboard. 15 April 1967. p. 52. 
  8. ^ "Writer Loses 'Strangers' Case". Billboard. 17 April 1971. p. 50. 
  9. ^ Summers, Anthony; Swan, Robbyn. Sinatra: The Life. Random House Digital, Inc., New York, 2006, p. 334.
  10. ^ a b Roberts, Ron: Connie Francis Discography 1955 – 1975, revised editions 1979 and 1983
  11. ^ a b Francis, Connie and others: Souvenirs, companion book to 4 CD retrospective "Souvenirs", Polydor (New York) 1995, Kat.-Nr. 314 533 382-2
  12. ^ "Bert Kaempfert Music - Cover Versions". Kaempfert.de. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Paperback Writer" by The Beatles
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
July 2, 1966
Succeeded by
"Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells
Preceded by
"Band of Gold" by Mel Carter
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single (Frank Sinatra version)
June 4, 1966 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" by Jack Jones
Preceded by
"Paint It, Black" by The Rolling Stones
UK number-one single
2 June 1966 – 16 June 1966
Succeeded by
"Paperback Writer" by The Beatles