I'll Be Seeing You (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"I'll Be Seeing You"
Published 1938
Form Showtune
Writer Irving Kahal, Sammy Fain
Composer Sammy Fain
Lyricist Irving Kahal
Language English

"I'll Be Seeing You" is a popular song, with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Irving Kahal.[1] Published in 1938, the song was inserted into the Broadway musical Right This Way, which closed after fifteen performances.[2] In the musical, it was performed by the singer Tamara Drasin, who had a few years earlier introduced "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". The song is a jazz standard, and has been covered by many musicians.

The musical theme has emotional power, and was much loved during World War II, when it became an anthem for those serving overseas (both British and American soldiers). The lyrics begin, in Bert Ambrose's recorded version, with a preamble:

Cathedral bells were tolling and our hearts sang on;

Was it the spell of Paris or the April dawn?
Who knows if we shall meet again?
But when the morning chimes ring sweet again...

I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places [etc.]

As the song develops, the words take a jaunty commonplace of casual farewell and transform it by degrees, to climax with

...and when the night is new,

I'll be looking at the moon,

But I'll be seeing you.

The resemblance between the main tune's first four lines and a passage within the theme of the last movement of Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony (1896) was pointed out by Deryck Cooke in 1970.[3]

Movie and television performances[edit]

Featured throughout the 1944 movie also titled I'll Be Seeing You, starring Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten, the recording by Bing Crosby became a hit that year, reaching number one for the week of July 1. Later, the song became notably associated with Liberace, as the theme music to his television show of the 1950s. In 1956, Jackie Gleason's character, Ralph Kramden, referenced the song on an episode of The Honeymooners in which Kramden experienced an early exit on the game show, The $99,000 Answer, and refused to leave the stage. The song was heard on an episode of the 1960s spy spoof Get Smart, when the main character had a high-tech trumpet that could play any tune, just by speaking the title into the mouthpiece. The song was aptly used in the 1979 film, Yanks starring Richard Gere - a WWII story set in England in 1944. In a 1987 episode of Designing Women, appropriately titled 'I'll Be Seeing You', Jean Smart's character Charlene dreams that the cast in back in the WWII era; Charlene performs the song herself and the Bing Crosby version is also featured. It has also been played in the 1989 Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors; in the end credits of the 1990 film Misery (Liberace's rendition); in the 1992 movie Shining Through; in the closing episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; in the 1999 documentary Beyond the Mat, in the 2004 film The Aviator, and in the 2004 film The Notebook as the song for Noah and Allie. It was featured and performed by Anne Shelton in the 2006 "Dance with the Dead" episode of Midsomer Murders, which was set near an old WWII airfield. It was also played in the closing credits for the final (until 2011) episode of Beavis and Butt-head; in the 2010 season 4 episodes of Eureka ("Founder's Day" "A New World" and "I'll Be Seeing You"). On the final episode of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson which was aired on May 22, 1992, Doc Severinsen and the NBC Orchestra closed the show with it, as it was one of Carson's favorite songs.

During the 2009 Academy Awards presentation, Queen Latifah sang the song during the "In Memoriam" tribute to members of the motion picture industry who had died during the previous year, which was controversial because the In Memoriam tribute was previously traditionally unaccompanied.[4][5]

On October 26, 2014, the song was played as part of a video tribute to Robin Williams at AT&T Park before Game 5 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.[6]


The song has been covered by well known artists.


  1. ^ Leonard, Hal (January 1, 1995). I'll Be Seeing You: 51 Songs of World War II. Hal Leonard Corp. p. 47. ISBN 978-0793537617. 
  2. ^ Leonard, Hal (January 1, 1995). I'll Be Seeing You: 51 Songs of World War II. Hal Leonard Corp. p. 12. ISBN 978-0793537617. 
  3. ^ Cooke's radio broadcast is described in Hans Keller, 'Truth & Music', Music and Musicians Magazine, November 1970
  4. ^ Carr, David (2009-02-19). "Oscars on TV: The Subtext". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  5. ^ Cieply, Michael and David Carr (2009-02-23). "A ‘Slumdog’ Kind of Night at the Oscar Ceremony". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  6. ^ Giants Honor Robin Williams Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  7. ^ Al Hirt, They're Playing Our Song Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  8. ^ 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 B.
  9. ^ The Hollywood Flames, "I'll Be Seeing You" single release Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  11. ^ The Vocal Majority, I'll Be Seeing You Retrieved February 4, 2016.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)" by Harry James and Dick Haymes
U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
July 1, 1944
Succeeded by
"I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)" by Harry James and Dick Haymes
Preceded by
"I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)" by Harry James and Dick Haymes
U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
July 15, 1944–July 29, 1944
Succeeded by
"Swinging on a Star" by Bing Crosby