When You Were Sweet Sixteen

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"When You Were Sweet Sixteen"
Cover, sheet music, 1898
Written by James Thornton
Published 1898
Language English

"When You Were Sweet Sixteen" is a popular song. It was written by James Thornton. The song was published in 1898. Its chorus:

I love you as I never lov'd before,
Since first I met you on the village green.
Come to me, or my dream of love is o'er.
I love you as I lov'd you
When you were sweet, when you were sweet sixteen.[1]

The song was inspired by Thornton's wife, Bonnie, when she asked her husband if he still loved her. Thornton replied, "I love you like I did when you were sweet sixteen."[2]

The original sheet music attributed Bonnie Thornton, Raymon Moore, Helene Mora, and others as having sung the song with "great success"; however, the song has been recorded by many artists. One of the best-known versions of the song was made by Al Jolson in 1929. In 1938, it occurred in the movie Little Miss Broadway with a short solo by Shirley Temple. In 1946 it appeared in the film The Jolson Story, where Rudy Wissler's voice was used as young actor Scotty Beckett lyp-synched on screen as the young Al Jolson (though in the film's later scenes, Jolson was his own voice-double for actor Larry Parks). The song was changed to a different format and became the version that most people remember.[citation needed] The song was then recorded by Perry Como in 1947 and was a hit.

Recorded versions[edit]

Early recordings[edit]

After 1946[edit]

The 1947 revival of the song led to a number of artists recording it that year, including Jolson:


  1. ^ Boni, Margaret (1960), Songs of the Gilded Age, New York: Golden Press, p. 103 
  2. ^ Jasen, David A. (2003). Tin Pan Alley: an Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song. Taylor & Francis. p. 389. ISBN 0-415-93877-5

External links[edit]

Lyrics with guitar chords and video http://unitedireland.tripod.com/id147.html