Strangers in the Night

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"Strangers in the Night"
Strangers In the Night - Frank Sinatra.jpg
Single by Frank Sinatra
from the album Strangers in the Night
B-side"Oh, You Crazy Moon"
ReleasedApril 1966 (1966-04)[1]
RecordedApril 11, 1966
StudioUnited Western Recorders
GenreTraditional pop
Producer(s)Jimmy Bowen[2]
Frank Sinatra singles chronology
"It Was a Very Good Year"
"Strangers in the Night"
"Summer Wind"
Audio sample

"Strangers in the Night" is a song composed by Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder.[2] Kaempfert originally used it under the title "Beddy Bye" as part of the instrumental score for the movie A Man Could Get Killed.[2] 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 better suit the melody and therefore declined to sing it.[3][4]

Reaching #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Easy Listening chart,[5] 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 No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart.[6]

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 with The New York Times, Avo Uvezian discussed the origins of "Strangers in the Night", saying that he had 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 added the lyrics, and the song was originally titled "Broken Guitar". Uvezian presented the song to Sinatra a week later, but Sinatra did not like the lyrics, so they were rewritten, and the song became "Strangers in the Night".[7]

When asked why Kaempfert claimed he had composed the tune, Uvezian noted that Kaempfert was a friend of his, and in the industry, so Uvezian asked him to publish the German version in Germany in order that the two could split the profits, because Uvezian thought he would not receive royalties in the US. Uvezian said that when he gave the music to Kaempfert, the lyrics had already been revised and the song re-titled. Uvezian claimed that Kaempfert had given him a letter acknowledging Uvezian as the composer.[7]

Ivo Robić[edit]

It is sometimes claimed that Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the composer of "Strangers in the Night", and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after having entered it, without success, to a premier Yugoslav song contest Split Festival. In an interview on Croatian TV with Croatian composer Stjepan Mihaljinec, Robić said that he had composed a song "Ta ljetna noć" (That Summer Night) and sent it to a festival in the former Yugoslavia, where it was rejected. Then he sang a first few bars from that song, identical to the first few bars of "Strangers in the Night" ("Strangers in the night, exchanging glances..."). Robić claimed that, later, Kaempfert "composed" that very same song for him, which later became known as "Strangers in the Night".[8] That has never been substantiated. Robić, often referred to as "Mr. Morgen" for his 1950s chart success with "Morgen", which was created in collaboration with Kaempfert, was the singer of the Croatian version of the song, titled "Stranci u noći".[9]

Robić's recording was released in 1966 by the Yugoslav record company Jugoton, with the serial number EPY-3779. On the label of the record, Kaempfert and Marija Renota are stated as authors, with Renota being the author of the Croatian lyrics.[citation needed] The English title, "Strangers in the Night", was created after the composition, when New York music publishers Roosevelt Music asked lyricists Eddie Snyder and Charles Singleton to put some words to the tune. "Stranci u noći" is a literal translation of that phrase.[citation needed]


In 1967, French composer Michel Philippe-Gérard (more commonly known as Philippe-Gérard) claimed that the melody of "Strangers" was based on his composition "Magic Tango", which was published in 1953 through Chappell & Co. in New York.[10] Royalties from the song were thus frozen[11] until a court in Paris ruled in 1971 against plagiarism, stating that many songs were based on similar constant factors.[12]


The track was recorded on April 11, 1966, one month before the rest of the album. Hal Blaine was the drummer and Glen Campbell played rhythm guitar.[13] According to Blaine, he reused the iconic drum beat from "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes in a slower and softer arrangement.[14]

One of the most memorable and recognizable features of the record is Sinatra's scat improvisation of the melody (on take two) with the syllables "doo-be-doo-be-doo" as the song fades to the end.[4] 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. The name of cartoon dog character Scooby-Doo is derived from the scat, with CBS television executive Fred Silverman having listened to the song in 1968 while on a red-eye flight to a development meeting for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and getting inspired by the scat.[15]

Ironically, Sinatra despised the song, calling it at one time "a piece of shit" and "the worst fucking song that I have ever heard." He was reluctant to record it because he said it sounded as if it was "about two f*gs who meet in the bus station bathroom." [16] He was not afraid to voice his disapproval of performing it live. In spite of his contempt for the song, it gave him a number-one hit for the first time in 11 years and remained on the charts for 15 weeks.


According to the AFM contract sheet, the following musicians played on the track.[17]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
Argentinian Singles Chart[18] 1
Australian Singles Chart[19] 4
Austrian Singles Chart[19] 6
Brazilian Singles Chart[18] 1
Danish Singles Chart (DGGIF)[20] 6
Dutch Singles Chart[19] 4
French Singles Chart[21] 1
German Singles Chart[18] 2
Greek Singles Chart[20] 6
Hong Kong Singles Chart[19] 5
Israeli Singles Chart[19] 3
Italian Singles Chart (Musica e Dischi)[18] 1
Mexican Singles Chart (Audiomusica)[19] 3
Norway Singles Chart (Verdens Gang)[19] 5
Philippines Singles Chart[21] 1
Singapore Singles Chart[19] 9
Swiss Singles Chart[18] 1
UK (Official Charts Company) 1
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 1

Commercial performance[edit]

The single sold 60,000 copies in Brazil,[23] 600,000 copies in France,[24] combined it sold a million copies in United States and United Kingdom[24] and over 2 million worldwide.[25]


  1. ^ Billboard, April 23, 1966, p. 18
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Eddie Snyder obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 2011-03-31. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 191–2. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ a b Wilson, Michael (2015-12-07). "A Manhattan Theft Rooted in a Tale of Songwriting, Sinatra and Cigars". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-01-27.
  8. ^ Ivo Robic confirms authorship of Strangers in the night /Ivo Robić je autor pjesme Stranci u noći
  9. ^ Ivo Robic addmits he wrote Stranger in the night on Croatian Public Tv Show in 1982. Croatian_Radiotelevision. Event occurs at October 1, 1982.
  10. ^ "Court Told Music Hit Plagiarized: French Composer Asks $400,000 For Sinatra Record". Toledo Blade. 7 December 1968. p. 4.
  11. ^ "Charge Is Holding Up 'Strangers' Royalties". Billboard. 15 April 1967. p. 52.
  12. ^ "Writer Loses 'Strangers' Case". Billboard. 17 April 1971. p. 50.
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Mattingly, Rick. "Hal Blaine". Percussive Arts Society. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Fred Silverman, TV executive came up with 'Scooby-Doo,' and championed 'All in the Family,' has died". Los Angeles Times. 30 January 2020.
  16. ^ Summers, Anthony; Swan, Robbyn. Sinatra: The Life. Random House Digital, Inc., New York, 2006, p. 334.
  17. ^ "Strangers In The Night AFM Contract" (PDF). The Wrecking Crew. American Federation of Musicians. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  18. ^ a b c d e "Hits of the World". Billboard. October 15, 1966. p. 42. Retrieved August 7, 2021 – via Google Books. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h "Hits of the World". Billboard. August 20, 1966. p. 57. Retrieved August 7, 2021 – via Google Books. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  20. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard. November 12, 1966. p. 57. Retrieved August 7, 2021 – via Google Books. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  21. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard. October 1, 1966. p. 32. Retrieved August 7, 2021 – via Google Books. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  22. ^ "Frank Sinatra Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "International - Brazil" (PDF). Cash Box. October 8, 1966. p. 58. Retrieved August 7, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  24. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1985). Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s : an illustrated directory. Arco Pub. p. 231. ISBN 0668064595. Combined U.S./British sales were over a million ... France (over 600,000 sold)
  25. ^ Don Gigilio (November 26, 1966). "Frank, Fisher: A Win Parley at Las Vegas" (PDF). Billboard. p. 28. Retrieved August 7, 2021 – via World Radio History. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)

External links[edit]