Sentimental Journey (song)

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"Sentimental Journey"
Single by Les Brown and His Band of Renown, featuring Doris Day
B-side"Twilight Time"
RecordedNovember 20, 1944
GenreBig Band, Pop
Songwriter(s)Les Brown, Ben Homer and Bud Green

"Sentimental Journey" is a popular song published in 1944. The music was written by Les Brown and Ben Homer, and the lyrics were written by Bud Green.


Les Brown and His Band of Renown had been performing the song, but were unable to record it because of the 1942–44 musicians' strike. When the strike ended, the band, with Doris Day as vocalist, recorded the song for Columbia Records on November 20, 1944, and they had a hit record with the song, Doris Day's first number one hit, in 1945.[1] The song's release coincided with the end of the Second World War in Europe and became the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans.[1] The recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 36769, with the flip side "Twilight Time".[2] The record first reached the Billboard chart on March 29, 1945, and lasted 23 weeks on the chart, peaking at number one.[3] The song reached the chart after the later-recorded "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time".

About the same time, the Merry Macs had a recording following Brown and Day, which featured a bouncy arrangement where the group modulates (or augments) the verse eight times in the last half of the song – a vocal feat for any group attempting to record a song in one take, without the benefit of tape editing in that era of modern recording.[original research?][citation needed]

The song later became a standard with jazz artists and was recorded by, among others, Buck Clayton with Woody Herman and by Ben Sidran. Frank Sinatra recorded his version of the song in 1961. Rosemary Clooney issued an album Sentimental Journey (2001) which included the song. Harry James recorded a version in 1965 on his album New Versions of Down Beat Favorites (MGM E-4265).


The song describes someone about to take a train to a place to which they have a great emotional attachment, and their mounting anticipation while wondering why they ever roamed away. The opening verse is:

Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories.[1]

Cover versions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The song features prominently in the 1978 M*A*S*H episode "Your Hit Parade", as Col. Potter – citing a long-standing infatuation with Doris Day – requests the song be played over the camp P.A. system several times during the day.

In the UK spot on The Muppet Show Episode 3:08 with Loretta Lynn, Gonzo and Kermit the Frog sang the song on their way back to the show.

It was the theme song of the ABC Radio program Sentimental Journey presented by John West.

An instrumental version of the song is also used as intro and outro of german television series "Eisenbahn-Romantik" ("Railway Nostalgia", literally "Railway Romance"), a 30 minute episode show about railways in Germany and abroad, which was broadcast first in 1991.

The song is featured in Season 2, Episode 4 of The Man in the High Castle.

The song is featured in the season 2 third episode of The Afterparty, "Travis", where it was told in a noir detective setting and with Ulysses, Zoë and Grace Zhu performing the song.


  1. ^ a b c 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.
  2. ^ ”Columbia Records in the 36500 to 36999 series”.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940–1955. Record Research.
  4. ^ "Coral Records in the 60000 to 60999 series".
  5. ^ "Margie Rayburn, "Magic Words" Single Release". Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  6. ^ Miles, Barry (1998). The Beatles a Diary: An Intimate Day by Day History. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780711963153.[page needed]