As Time Goes By (song)

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For the 1999 J-pop song, see Hiroko Shimabukuro.
"As Time Goes By"
from the musical Everybody's Welcome
Song by Frances Williams
Written 1931
Published 1931
Writer Herman Hupfeld
Recorded by Rudy Vallée, Binnie Hale, Dooley Wilson, Billie Holiday, Johnnie Ray, Engelbert Humperdinck, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Julie London, Jimmy Durante, Chet Baker, Sammy Davis, Jr., Willie Nelson, Vera Lynn, Andy Williams, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rod Stewart, The Flamingos, ZZ Top

"As Time Goes By" is a song written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931. It became most famous in 1942 when part of it was sung by the character Sam (Dooley Wilson) in the movie Casablanca. The song was voted No. 2 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs special, commemorating the best songs in film.[1] It has been used as a fanfare for Warner Bros. Pictures since 1999 and was the title and theme song of the 1990s British comedy series As Time Goes By. The original song referred to Albert Einstein's concept of time as a fourth dimension, but this connection was lost by the omission of the first verse in most performances, as detailed below.


Herman Hupfeld wrote "As Time Goes By" for the 1931 Broadway musical Everybody's Welcome. In the original show, it was sung by Frances Williams. It was recorded that year by several artists, it was sung by Rudy Vallée and Binnie Hale, and orchestra recordings were made by Jacques Renard and Fred Rich. In terms of popularity at the time, it was a modest hit.

The song was re-introduced in 1942 in the film Casablanca. It was sung by "Sam" (Dooley Wilson); "Sam"'s piano accompaniment was played by pianist Elliot Carpenter.[2] The song is heard throughout the film as a leitmotif.[3] Wilson was unable to record his version of the song at the time due to the 1942–44 musicians' strike. So Brunswick reissued the Jacques Renard 1931 recording, and Victor re-issued Vallée's 1931 recording, giving Vallée a number one hit in 1942.[4][5]

The AFI listed it among its "top 100" movie songs. National Public Radio included it in its NPR 100, a 1999 list of the most important American musical works of the 20th century as compiled by NPR's music editors.[6]

Hupfeld lived his whole life in Montclair, New Jersey, and was a regular customer at the Robin Hood Inn, a tavern built in 1922 on Valley Road, then part of Upper Montclair. Hupfeld spent many hours at the piano and wrote several of his songs in this tavern, now the Valley Regency. A plaque on the second floor of the Valley Regency Catering Facility in Clifton, New Jersey, commemorates the song.

Omitted reference to Einstein[edit]

In Casablanca, Wilson sings the song as written ("You must remember this..."), but concludes before the talking bridge ("This day and age we're living in..."). The omitted lines refer to Albert Einstein and the "fourth dimension" or time. In Binnie Hale's 1932 recording (which does include the talking bridge) she changed the phrase "fourth dimension" to "third dimension" - presumably because a fourth dimension was incomprehensible to her and her audience. As a result of the success of the movie version, most subsequent recordings have followed Wilson's lead in this omission, and so the talking bridge is virtually unknown to most listeners.[7][8][9]


The song has been performed by many artists, including Billie Holiday, Petula Clark, Johnnie Ray, Engelbert Humperdinck, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Tiny Tim, Harry Nilsson, Louis Armstrong, Julio Iglesias, Johnny Nash (#43 on Billboard pop chart, 1959), Carly Simon, Tony Bennett, Arielle Dombasle, Neil Diamond, Jane Monheit, Julie London, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Durante, Chet Baker, Gal Costa, The Flamingos, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bryan Ferry, Willie Nelson, Vera Lynn, Andy Williams, Barry White, The Duprees, ZZ Top, Amanda Lear, Widespread Panic, Wang Leehom, George Sanders, Mina, Peggy Lee, Lynda Carter, Johnny Mathis, George Burns, Al Hirt,[10] and Sylvester McCoy (as "Doctor Who"). Notable versions include:


The original song in the film as sung and played by "Sam" was recorded in D major, but it has since been played in several keys, commonly C major, but also B-flat major, as in Frank Sinatra's recording, and others keys included including A major and E-flat major.


  • It inspired the title of the first memoir of Beatles publicist Derek Taylor (published by Sphere Books in 1973).[13]
  • It is the source of the title of the 1990s British comedy series As Time Goes By; a recording by Joe Fagin is the show's theme song.[14]
  • Warner Bros., the studio that produced Casablanca, has included the chorus to the song in the opening to its films since the 1999 release of Message in a Bottle, when it celebrated its 75th anniversary. A shorter version was later added to the closing logo for productions of Warner Bros. Television.
  • On the television show Supernatural, in the season 8 episode "As Time Goes By", the song is played to the baby John Winchester, in the year 1958, on glockenspiel put up by his father, who was wearing a Bogart-style trenchcoat).
  • Dooley Wilson's performance of the song in Casablanca was released as a single in late 1977, peaking at number 15 in the UK hit parade.


  1. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs". Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  2. ^ Buhler, James; Caryl Flinn; David Neumeyer (2000). Music and cinema. Wesleyan University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8195-6411-5. 
  3. ^ Zinsser, William (2000). Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs. Jaffrey, New Hampshire: David R. Godine. p. 165. ISBN 1-56792-325-9. 
  4. ^ Jasen, David A. (2003). Tin Pan Alley: an encyclopedia of the golden age of American song. New York: Taylor & Francis. p. 216. ISBN 0-415-93877-5. 
  5. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 1, side A.
  6. ^ "NPR's 100". Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  7. ^ Peter Galison (2015-02-12). "EMC2x: The Einstein Revolution". HarvardX - Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  8. ^ "World's Greatest Songs -- As Time Goes By". Durango Songwriters Expo. Retrieved 2015-02-12. This day and age we're living in/Gives cause for apprehension/With speed and new invention/And things like fourth dimension/Yet we get a trifle weary/With Mr. Einstein's theory... 
  9. ^ Peter Galison (22 January 2015). "HAREMC2XT115-V000200_100". HarvardX - YouTube. Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  10. ^ Al Hirt, Trumpet and Strings Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  11. ^ "Hibbing Hi Times January 23, 1959". Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  12. ^ Cole, Natalie. "As Time Goes By". YouTube. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Derek Taylor Portfolio". The Internet Beatles Album. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "As Time Goes By Crew List". Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-12.