Cheek to Cheek

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"Cheek to Cheek"
Cheek to Cheek.jpg
Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing in Swing Time, 1936
Song by Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman's Orchestra
B-side"No Strings (I'm Fancy Free)"
PublishedJuly 2, 1935 (1935-07-02) by Irving Berlin, Inc., New York[1]
ReleasedAugust 1935
RecordedJune 26, 1935 (1935-06-26)[2]
StudioARC Recording Studios, 1776 Broadway, New York City
GenreJazz, Pop Vocal
LabelBrunswick 7486
Songwriter(s)Irving Berlin
Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman's Orchestra singles chronology
"Flying Down to Rio"
(1934)
"Cheek to Cheek"
(1935)
"Isn't This a Lovely Day?"
(1935)

"Cheek to Cheek" is a song written by Irving Berlin in 1934–35,[3] specifically for the star of his new musical, Fred Astaire. The movie was Top Hat, co-starring Ginger Rogers.[4] In the movie, Astaire sings the song to Rogers as they dance. The song was nominated for the Best Song Oscar for 1936, which it lost to "Lullaby of Broadway".[5] The song spent five weeks at #1 on Your Hit Parade and was named the #1 song of 1935.[4] Astaire's 1935 recording with the Leo Reisman Orchestra was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.[6] In 2004, Astaire's version finished at No. 15 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

Release[edit]

On June 26, 1935, Fred and Leo Reisman, along with his Orchestra, got to work at ARC (parent company of Brunswick Records at the time) Studios in New York City. They recorded two Irving Berlin compositions, "Cheek To Cheek" and "No Strings (I'm Fancy Free)". The next day, with Johnny Greene's Orchestra, "Isn't This a Lovely Day?" and "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" were completed. Both singles were released in August, and then at the end of the month, "Top Hat" premiered. The timing must have been perfect, because "Cheek to Cheek" headed straight to #1, where it stayed for eleven weeks, and finished the #1 hit of 1935. Fred topped his career high of ten weeks for "Night And Day".

Recorded versions[edit]

According to the database of secondhandsongs.com, "Cheek to Cheek" has been recorded by 438 different artists as of July 2021.[7]

Release Performer Vocalist Recording date Album Label Source
1935 Guy Lombardo Guy Lombardo
1935 The Boswell Sisters The Boswell Sisters
1956 Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong Ella & Louis August 16, 1956 Ella and Louis Verve
1957 Lou Donaldson feat. Horace Silver Quartet instrumental June 20, 1952 Quartet/Quintet/Sextet Blue Note [8]
1958 Peggy Lee Peggy Lee January 3, 1958 Jump for Joy Capitol
1958 Doris Day Doris Day February 24, 1958 Hooray for Hollywood Columbia
1958 Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald March 1958 Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book Verve
1958 Billie Holiday Billie Holiday August 1956 All or Nothing at All Verve
1959 Frank Sinatra Frank Sinatra December 1958 Come Dance with Me! Capitol
1976 Alex Harvey Alex Harvey Christmas 1975 The Penthouse Tapes Vertigo
1982 Taco Taco 1981 After Eight RCA Victor
2014 Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga June 2013 Cheek to Cheek Columbia

In popular culture[edit]

  • A sequence from Top Hat with Fred Astaire singing the song while dancing is shown on an outdoor moviescreen in the Oscar-winning 1996 film The English Patient.
  • "Heaven on the 7th Floor," a 1977 hit song by Paul Nicholas, quotes the opening line of "Cheek to Cheek" in its backing vocals.
  • It was featured prominently in the 1999 film The Green Mile.
  • The song was heard in the 2017 animated film The Boss Baby.
  • A rendition was also heard at the work Christmas party in the 2020 film Godmothered.
  • The song was used as a parody called Seven Goldfish for Sesame Street.
  • An instrumental version is used as background music in a dance scene at a party at Mrs Pumfrey’s house in season 1, episode 2 of “All Creatures Great and Small”.
  • The song was used as a parody in an episode of Arthur (TV Series) for its 6th Season.
  • The song is played at the Summer Hunt Ball in a first series episode of To The Manor Born with Audrey and DeVere dancing to it on Audrey's terrace. It is reprised in the final episode of the third series as the two dance together again at the manor house during Audrey's homecoming party.
  • This song was also sung and danced to in a later episode of Taxi[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Library of Congress. Copyright Office. (1935). Catalog of Copyright Entries 1935 Musical Compositions New Series Vol 30 Pt 3. United States Copyright Office. U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
  2. ^ "BRUNSWICK 78rpm numerical listing discography: 7300 - 7500". www.78discography.com. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  3. ^ Irving Berlin Collection description from the Library of Congress's online Performing Arts Encyclopedia; retrieved 2012-03-07.
  4. ^ a b "Cheek to Cheek" by Fred Astaire, 1935 Archived 2014-10-12 at the Wayback Machine; from the University of Virginia's American Studies website, subsection "Manufacturing Memory Archived 2014-10-14 at the Wayback Machine: 1935-1939"; retrieved 2012-03-07.
  5. ^ The 8th Academy Awards (1936) Nominees and Winners, from the website of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science (www.oscar.org); retrieved 2012-03-07.
  6. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame page from www.grammy.org; retrieved 2012-04-07.
  7. ^ "Cover versions of Cheek to Cheek by Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman and His Orchestra | SecondHandSongs". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  8. ^ Cheek to Cheek by Lou Donaldson, secondhandsongs.com.
  9. ^ Taxi, season five, episode 10, Elaine and the Monk, written by James L. Brooks, Stan Daniels, David Davis, and directed by Danny DeVito. It was produced by Brooks, Daniels, Cary Matsumura, Ken Estin, Sam Simon, Richard Sakai and Ed Weinberger for John-Charles-Walters Productions and Paramount Television, then broadcast first on ABC, Thursday, the second of December, 1982.