Love Letters (song)

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"Love Letters" is a 1945 popular song with lyrics by Edward Heyman and music by Victor Young.[1] The song appeared, without lyrics, in the film of the same name released in October 1945. A vocal version by Dick Haymes, arranged and conducted by Young, was recorded in March 1945 and peaked in popularity in September.[2][3] "Love Letters" was subsequently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1945, but lost to "It Might as Well Be Spring" from State Fair.

The song has been covered by a number of artists, most notably by Nat King Cole (1957), Ketty Lester (1962), Elvis Presley (1966), and Alison Moyet (1987).

Ketty Lester version[edit]

"Love Letters"
Single by Ketty Lester
from the album Love Letters
B-side"I'm a Fool to Want You"[4]
LabelEra, London
Ketty Lester singles chronology
"Queen for a Day"
"Love Letters"
"But Not for Me"

In 1962, Era Records released Ketty Lester's version of "Love Letters" as a single, backed by her version of "I'm a Fool to Want You". Lester's recording of "Love Letters", which featured Lincoln Mayorga's sparse piano and organ arrangement and Earl Palmer on drums, reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1962.[6] The single also reached No. 2 on the R&B chart and No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart, selling over 1 million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.[7] In 1991, it was ranked 176th on the RIAA's list of the Songs of the Century.

Lester's version appeared in David Lynch's 1986 film Blue Velvet, playing during a police raid on Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper)'s apartment, and on its accompanying soundtrack album.[8]


Chart (1962) Peak
Australia Kent Music Report[9] 10
Ireland IRMA[10] 8
New Zealand RIANZ[11] 6
UK Singles Chart[12] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B[14] 2

Elvis Presley versions[edit]

"Love Letters"
Single by Elvis Presley
A-side"Come What May"
ReleasedJune 8, 1966
RecordedMay 26, 1966
StudioRCA Studio B, Nashville
Songwriter(s)Edward Heyman, Victor Young
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Frankie and Johnny"
"Come What May" / "Love Letters"

Elvis Presley recorded a version of "Love Letters" on May 26, 1966.[15] Just over a week later, on June 8, 1966, RCA released the song as a single, with "Come What May" as the B-side.[15][16] "Love Letters" peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 22, 1966, staying on the chart for only seven weeks.[17] Musicians on this recording included Scotty Moore on electric guitar, Chip Young on acoustic guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano, David Briggs on organ, Bob Moore on upright bass, D. J. Fontana on drums, Buddy Harman on percussion, Boots Randolph and Rufus Long on saxophone, and Pete Drake on pedal steel guitar.[18]

Presley re-recorded the song in 1970; this later version appears on the 1971 album Love Letters from Elvis.[19]


Chart (1966) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[20] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[21] 49
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[22] 29
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 7
UK Singles (OCC)[24] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 19
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[26] 38

Alison Moyet version[edit]

"Love Letters"
Single by Alison Moyet
B-side"This House"
ReleasedNovember 1987[27]
Songwriter(s)Edward Heyman
Victor Young
Producer(s)Alison Moyet
Steve Brown
Alison Moyet singles chronology
"Sleep Like Breathing"
"Love Letters"
"It Won't Be Long"

In 1987, Alison Moyet released her own version of the song as a non-album single. It reached No. 4 in the UK and remained in the charts for twelve weeks.[28] A music video was filmed to promote the single and featured Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.[29]

Speaking to The Quietus in 2013, Moyet revealed she recorded "Love Letters" as she knew it would be a hit: "'Love Letters' and 'Weak in the Presence of Beauty' – neither song I enjoy now – they're both my fault. I found them. That was when I was feeling smart, thinking that I knew what a hit was."[30] She also told the BBC in 2004: "After my versions of 'Love Letters' and 'That Ole Devil Called Love' did well, there was definite pressure for me to become some sort of jazz diva."[31]

Upon release, Music & Media described Moyet's version as "moody" and "sparsely-backed".[32] Zodiac Mindwarp, as guest reviewer for Smash Hits, felt the song was "very well done" but reminiscent of Simply Red.[33] Carole Linfield of Record Mirror criticised Moyet's rendition as "dreary" and a "slow and dopey cover".[34]


Chart (1987) Peak
Belgian Singles Chart (V)[35] 24
Dutch Singles Chart[36] 40
Ireland IRMA[37] 6
New Zealand RIANZ[38] 39
South African Charts[39] 11
UK Singles Chart[28] 4

Other versions[edit]


  1. ^ Joel Whitburn’s chart book Pop memories, 1890-1954, retrospectively compiled from various sources, has the Dick Haymes record peaking at #11 on 29 September, 1945 (p.205). Digitised copy at Internet Archive, retrieved 4 January 2024.
  2. ^ Denis Brown and Maurice Dunn, A Dick Haymes discography volume 1 (1974), p.20. Digitised copy at Internet Archive, retrieved 4 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Ketty Lester Discography". Soulful Kinda Music. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  4. ^ England, Angela (11 November 2020). "About Ketty Lester". Little House on the Prairie. Retrieved 23 November 2023.
  5. ^ Profile,; accessed August 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 148. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. ^ Rombes, Nicholas (July 18, 2012). "The Blue Velvet Project, #140". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  8. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June 23, 1962". Billboard. 9 June 1962.
  9. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June 16, 1962". Billboard. 16 June 1962.
  10. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June, 1962". Billboard. 30 June 1962.
  11. ^ "UK Official charts company". Official Charts.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2000). "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits". Billboard. p. 371.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2006). "The Billboard Book of Top 40 R & B and Hip-hop Hits". Billboard. p. 338.
  14. ^ a b "Elvis The Music".
  15. ^ Osborne, Jerry (2007). Presleyana VI - the Elvis Presley Record, CD, and Memorabilia Price Guide. Jerry Osborne Enterprises. ISBN 9780932117496.
  16. ^ "Billboard Charts". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Elvis Presley Recording Sessions".
  18. ^ "Billboard Album Reviews". Billboard. June 19, 1971.
  19. ^ "Elvis Presley – Love Letters" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  20. ^ "Elvis Presley – Love Letters" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5789." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Love Letters". Irish Singles Chart.
  23. ^ "Elvis Presley: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ "Elvis Presley Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Elvis Presley Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  26. ^ Andy Strickland, ed. (21 November 1987). "Index: Releases". Record Mirror. p. 10. ISSN 0144-5804.
  27. ^ a b "Alison Moyet; full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  28. ^ Rees, Dafydd (2006-12-29). Rock Movers & Shakers - Dafydd Rees, Luke Crampton - Google Books. Abc-Clio. ISBN 9780874366617. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  29. ^ "Features | A Quietus Interview | Changeling: Alison Moyet Interviewed". The Quietus. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  30. ^ Bishop, Tom (2004-09-06). "Entertainment | Alison Moyet frees her voice". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  31. ^ "Previews: Singles". Music & Media. 5 December 1987.
  32. ^ Mindwarp, Zodiac (18 November 1987). "Review: Singles". Smash Hits.
  33. ^ Linfield, Carole (28 November 1987). "Singles". Record Mirror. p. 13. ISSN 0144-5804.
  34. ^ "Alison Moyet - Love Letters". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  35. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Alison Moyet - Love Letters". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  36. ^ Ward, Jaclyn. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  37. ^ Hung, Steffen. " - Alison Moyet - Love Letters". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  38. ^ Currin, Brian. "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Acts (M)". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  39. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 205. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.