Love Letters (song)

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"Love Letters" is a 1945 popular song with lyrics by Edward Heyman and music by Victor Young. The song appeared, without lyrics, in the movie of the same name performed by Dick Haymes, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1945 but lost out to "It Might as Well Be Spring". The song has been covered by a number of artists, most notably by Ketty Lester (1961), Elvis Presley (1966), and Alison Moyet (1987).

Ketty Lester version[edit]

"Love Letters"
Single by Ketty Lester
B-side"I'm a Fool to Want You"[1]
LabelEra, London
Ketty Lester singles chronology
"Queen for a Day"
"Love Letters"
"But Not for Me"

In 1961, Era Records released Ketty Lester's version of "Love Letters" b/w "I'm a Fool to Want You". Lester's recording of "Love Letters", which featured Lincoln Mayorga's sparse piano arrangement and Earl Palmer on drums, reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1962.[2]

The record 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.[3] In 1991, it was ranked 176th in the RIAA-compiled list of Songs of the Century.

This version appeared on the soundtrack of the David Lynch film Blue Velvet (1986).[4]


Chart (1962) Peak
Australia Kent Music Report[5] 10
Ireland IRMA[6] 8
New Zealand RIANZ[7] 6
UK Singles Chart[8] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[9] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B[10] 2

Elvis Presley versions[edit]

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

Elvis Presley recorded his version of "Love Letters" on May 26, 1966.[11] Just over a week later on June 8, 1966 RCA released the song as a single b/w "Come What May" with The Jordanaires.[11][12] "Love Letters" peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 22, 1966. It was on the chart for just 7 weeks.[13] Elvis Presley re-recorded the song in 1970 and subsequently released the new version on the album Love Letters from Elvis in 1971.[14]


Chart (1966) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[15] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[16] 49
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[17] 29
Ireland (IRMA)[18] 7
UK Singles (OCC)[19] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 19
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[21] 38

Alison Moyet version[edit]

"Love Letters"
Alison Moyet Love Letters 1987 single cover.jpg
Single by Alison Moyet
B-side"This House"
ReleasedDecember 1987
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.[22] A music video was filmed to promote the single and featured Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.[23]

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."[24] 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."[25]

Upon release, Music & Media described Moyet's version as "moody" and "sparsely-backed".[26] Zodiac Mindwarp, as guest reviewer for Smash Hits, felt the song was "very well done" but reminiscent of Simply Red.[27] Carole Linfield of Record Mirror criticised Moyet's rendition as "dreary" and a "slow and dopey cover".[28]


Chart (1987) Peak
Belgian Singles Chart (V)[29] 24
Dutch Singles Chart[30] 40
Ireland IRMA[31] 6
New Zealand RIANZ[32] 39
South African Charts[33] 11
UK Singles Chart[22] 4

Other versions[edit]


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