As Time Goes By (song)

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"As Time Goes By"
Song by Frances Williams
Written 1931
Published 1931
Songwriter(s) Herman Hupfeld

"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] (only surpassed by "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland). The song has since become the representative song of Warner Bros. (and used as such in the production logos at the beginning of many Warner Bros. films since 1999, as well as the closing logos to most Warner Bros. Television shows since 2003) and was also the title and theme song of the 1990s British romantic comedy series As Time Goes By.

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.[2]


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. Elisabeth Welch included it in her cabaret act as soon as it was released.

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.[3] The song is heard throughout the film as a leitmotif.[4] 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.[5][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. He 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. He wrote over one hundred songs, including "Let's Put Out the Lights and Go to Sleep," and the popular Great Depression song "Are You Making Any Money?"[7] (Nancy Sinatra included her rendition of this song in her 2013 album "Shifting Gears".) (Mexican pop singer Yuri recorded a Spanish version as "Decir Adiós" in her album "Obesesiones".)

Composition and lyrics[edit]

The original song in the film as sung and played by "Sam" was recorded in D-flat 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 other keys including A major and E-flat major, the key in which the song was originally published.

In Casablanca, Wilson sings the Chorus ("You must remember this..."), but does not sing the Verse ("This day and age we're living in..."). The omitted lines refer to Albert Einstein.[8][9][10] [11]


  1. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs". Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  2. ^ "NPR's 100". Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  3. ^ Buhler, James; Caryl Flinn; David Neumeyer (2000). Music and cinema. Wesleyan University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8195-6411-5. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Hall, Roger (2015). A Guide to Film Music: Songs and Scores. PineTree Press, 6th edition. p. 23. 
  8. ^ Randy Wayne (Nov 20, 2015). "As Time Goes By and Albert Einstein. Do the Fundamental Things Still Apply?". The Lansing Star. Retrieved 2015-11-23. 
  9. ^ Peter Galison (2015-02-12). "EMC2x: The Einstein Revolution". HarvardX - Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  10. ^ Peter Galison (22 January 2015). "HAREMC2XT115-V000200_100". HarvardX - YouTube. Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  11. ^ 'As Time Goes By' (Binnie Hale, 1932) – via YouTube.