Strangers in the Night

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"Strangers In the Night"
Single by Frank Sinatra
from the album Strangers in the Night
B-side "Oh, You Crazy Moon"
Released May 1966 (1966-05)
Format 45-rpm record
Recorded April 11, 1966
Genre Traditional pop
Length 2:35
Label Reprise[1]
Composer(s)
Lyricist(s)
Producer(s) Jimmy Bowen[1]
Frank Sinatra singles chronology
"It Was a Very Good Year"
(1965)
"Strangers In the Night"
(1966)
"Summer Wind"
(1966)
Audio sample

"Strangers in the Night" is a song credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder.[1] Kaempfert originally used it under the title "Beddy Bye" as part of the instrumental score for the movie A Man Could Get Killed.[1] The song was made famous in 1966 by Frank Sinatra, although it was initially given to Melina Mercouri, who thought that a man's vocals would suit more to the melody and therefore declined to sing it.[2][3]

Reaching #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Easy Listening chart,[4] it was the title song for Sinatra's 1966 album Strangers in the Night, which became his most commercially successful album. The song also reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart.[5]

Sinatra's recording won him the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist for Ernie Freeman at the Grammy Awards of 1967.

Authorship disputes[edit]

Avo Uvezian[edit]

In an interview, Avo Uvezian gave an account of the story behind Strangers in the Night, stating that he originally composed the song for Frank Sinatra while in New York at the request of a mutual friend who wanted to introduce the two. He wrote the melody after which someone else put in the lyrics and the song was originally titled "Broken Guitar." He presented the song to Sinatra a week later, but Sinatra did not like the lyrics, so they were rewritten and the song was renamed and became known as Strangers in the Night.[6]

When asked about why someone else (Kaempfert) was claiming the song, Uvezian went on to say that since Kaempfert was a friend of his and in the industry, he asked him to publish the German version in Germany so the two could split the profits, since Uvezian did not feel he would get paid for his work on the song in the US. Uvezian stated that when he gave the music to Kaempfert the song had already been renamed and lyrics revised. Uvezian also stated that Kaempfert gave him a letter acknowledging Uvezian as the composer.[6]

Ivo Robić[edit]

It is sometimes claimed that Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the original composer of "Strangers in the Night," and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after entering it without success in a song contest in Yugoslavia. This has not been substantiated. Robić—often referred to as "Mr. Morgen" for his 1950s charts success with Morgen, created in collaboration with Bert Kaempfert—was rather the singer of the Croatian-language version of the song, called "Stranci u Noći."[citation needed]

It was published in 1966 by the Yugoslav record company Jugoton under the serial number EPY-3779. On the label of the record, B. Kaempfert and M. Renota are stated as authors, wherein Marija Renota is the creator of the Croatian lyrics. The original composition of "Strangers" was under the title "Beddy Bye"--referring to the lead character William Beddoes--as an instrumental for the score of the movie A Man Could Get Killed.[citation needed]

The phrase "Strangers in the Night" was created after the composition, when New York music publishers Roosevelt Music requested that lyricists Snyder and Singleton--fresh off of "Spanish Eyes," composed by Kaempfert of "Moon Over Naples" fame--put some words to the tune. "Stranci u Noći" is a literal translation of this phrase.[citation needed]

Philippe-Gérard[edit]

In 1967 French composer Michel Philippe-Gérard (more commonly known as Philippe-Gérard) established a claim that the melody of "Strangers" was based on his composition "Magic Tango," which was published in 1953 through Chappells in New York.[7] Royalties from the song were thus frozen[8] until a court in Paris ruled in 1971 against plagiarism, stating that many songs were based on similar constant factors.[9]

Recording[edit]

The track was recorded on April 11, 1966, one month before the rest of the album. Hal Blaine was the drummer on the record and Glen Campbell played rhythm guitar.[10]

One of the most memorable and recognizable features of the record is Sinatra's scat improvisation of the melody with the syllables "doo-be-doo-be-doo" as the song fades to the end.[3] For the CD Nothing but the Best, the song was remastered and the running time is 2:45 instead of the usual 2:35. The extra ten seconds is just a continuation of Sinatra's scat singing.

Sinatra despised the song, calling it at one time "a piece of shit" and "the worst fucking song that I have ever heard."[11] He was not afraid to voice his disapproval of playing it live. In spite of his contempt for the song, for the first time in 11 years he had a #1 song, and it remained on the charts for 15 weeks.

The song was a basis for a joke on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (NBC 1968-72). "If Ruby Dee married Frank Sinatra, she'd be Ruby Doo-Be-Doo."

Cover versions[edit]

"Strangers in the Night" was recorded by many other artists, among them:

a first version in English (recorded April 2, 1966 - nine days prior to Sinatra's recording), which remains unreleased as of July 2012[12]
a second Version in English for her 1966 album Movie Greats Of The 60s[13]
in Italian as "Sola più che mai" for her 1967 album Connie Francis canta i suoi best-seller[12]
in Spanish as "No puedo olvidar" for her 1967 album Grandes Exitos del Cine de los Años 60[13]
in German as "Fremde in der Nacht"
in Croatian as "Stranci u Noći"
  • Gerhard Wendland, in German as "Fremde in der Nacht"
  • Andy Williams released a version in 1967 on his album, Born Free
  • song title in Spanish "Extraños en la Noche"
  • In Spanish the song was recorded by superstar Artists
  • - Marco Antonio Muñiz (Mexico). . Year ??
  • - Sandro de America (Argentina). .Year ??
  • - Jose Guardiola (Spain)..... . .Year ??
  • - Jose Feliciano (Puerto Rico)....Year ??

Chart performances[edit]

Chart Peak
position
UK (Official Charts Company) 1
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 101. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ "Eddie Snyder obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  3. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 22 - Smack Dab in the Middle on Route 66: A skinny dip in the easy listening mainstream. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.  Track 3.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 191–2. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ a b A Manhattan Theft Rooted in a Tale of Songwriting, Sinatra and Cigars
  7. ^ "Court Told Music Hit Plagiarized: French Composer Asks $400,000 For Sinatra Record". Toledo Blade. 7 December 1968. p. 4. 
  8. ^ "Charge Is Holding Up 'Strangers' Royalties". Billboard. 15 April 1967. p. 52. 
  9. ^ "Writer Loses 'Strangers' Case". Billboard. 17 April 1971. p. 50. 
  10. ^ Hartman, Kent, The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret, Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2012, pp.133-134
  11. ^ Summers, Anthony; Swan, Robbyn. Sinatra: The Life. Random House Digital, Inc., New York, 2006, p. 334.
  12. ^ a b Roberts, Ron: Connie Francis Discography 1955 – 1975, revised editions 1979 and 1983
  13. ^ a b Francis, Connie and others: Souvenirs, companion book to 4 CD retrospective "Souvenirs", Polydor (New York) 1995, Kat.-Nr. 314 533 382-2
  14. ^ "Bert Kaempfert Music - Cover Versions". Kaempfert.de. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  15. ^ "Frank Sinatra Chart History (Hot 100)" Billboard.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Paperback Writer" by The Beatles
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
July 2, 1966
Succeeded by
"Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells
Preceded by
"Band of Gold" by Mel Carter
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single (Frank Sinatra version)
June 4, 1966 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" by Jack Jones
Preceded by
"Paint It, Black" by The Rolling Stones
UK number-one single
2 June 1966 – 16 June 1966
Succeeded by
"Paperback Writer" by The Beatles