Tears on My Pillow

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For the song of the same name by Johnny Nash, see Tears on My Pillow (Johnny Nash song). For the album of the same name by Johnny Tillotson, see Tears on My Pillow (album).
"Tears on My Pillow"
Little Anthony And The Imperials - Tears on My Pillow.jpg
One of A-side labels for the U.S. vinyl single
Single by Little Anthony and the Imperials
from the album We Are the Imperials Featuring Little Anthony
Released 1958
Format 7" single
Genre Doo wop
Length 2:20
Label End
Little Anthony and the Imperials singles chronology
"Tears on My Pillow"
"The Glory of Love"

"Tears on My Pillow" is a doo-wop song written by Sylvester Bradford and Al Lewis in 1958. The composition was first recorded by Little Anthony and the Imperials on End Records and was that group's debut recording under that name. Their original recording of the song became a Billboard Top 10 Pop smash, peaking at #4, and was The Imperials' first million-seller. It was also a two-sided hit, with its flip side, "Two People in the World," also becoming a major hit. Although it remains one of the Imperials' signature songs, "Tears on My Pillow" has been extensively covered, including a No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart version by Kylie Minogue in January 1990.[1]

The Imperials' Original version[edit]

Early copies of the single were credited simply to "The Imperials," a group which had previously been known as "The Duponts" and "The Chesters." Brooklyn, New York deejay Alan Freed gave the group's lead singer, Anthony Gourdine, top billing while introducing the single over the air and the moniker of "Little Anthony and the Imperials" stuck.

"Tears on My Pillow" was a #4 hit single in the United States. Selling over a million copies, "Tears on My Pillow" was the most successful single of the Imperials' doo wop period. Its success would be matched only by the Imperials' 1964 single "Goin' Out of My Head." The Imperials ("Little Anthony" Gourdine, Clarence Collins, Ernest Wright,Tracy Lord, and Nate Rogers - the last two of whom were later replaced by Sammy Strain) performed the song on numerous TV programs, including The Dick Clark Show [2] and on the PBS Oldies special, Rock, Rhythm, and Doo-Wop in 1958 and 2002 respectively. They also performed the tune on the American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special (also in 2002).[3][4]


  • One of the earlist covers was by The McGuire Sisters in 1961, reaching #12 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  • A cover of "Tears on My Pillow" by Sha Na Na was featured on the soundtrack to Grease. They played it also on their 1973 concert "Musikladen", in 1972 and in 1973 concerts in San Francisco and in their TV show.
  • In 1986, New Edition released a Motown-covers album Under the Blue Moon that included a cover of "Tears on My Pillow." In the New Edition version, Little Anthony Gourdine himself appeared as a guest vocalist.
  • S Club 8 did a cover version as a B-Track on their second album, Sundown.
  • Clem Snide recorded a cover for the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack.

"Tears on My Pillow" has also been covered by Timi Yuro, Chuck Jackson, Bobby Vee, Lou Christie, Martha and the Vandellas, Bobby Vinton, Johnny Tillotson, Neil Sedaka, Reba McEntire, Jodeci, Lorrie Morgan, Derrick Morgan with Lyn Tait & The Jets, Neils Children, and The Fleetwoods.

The song was also used in the season one seventh episode of Sliders entitled "The Weaker Sex," which originally aired as episode six. The character Rembrandt Brown (played by Cleavant Derricks) sings the song repeatedly on the street in an effort to raise money for a motel room.

Kylie Minogue version[edit]

"Tears on My Pillow"
Kylie Minogue - Tears on My Pillow.png
Single by Kylie Minogue
from the album Enjoy Yourself
  • "We Know the Meaning of Love"
  • "Nothing to Lose"
Released 12 November 1989
Recorded February 1989,London, England
Genre Pop
Length 2:30
Label PWL
Producer(s) Stock Aitken Waterman
Kylie Minogue singles chronology
"Never Too Late"
"Tears on My Pillow"
"Better the Devil You Know"

Released by Australian singer Kylie Minogue as the final single from her second studio album, Enjoy Yourself. It was released in November 1989 in Australia and on January 8, 1990 in Europe. Minogue's cover was also included on the soundtrack of the film The Delinquents, which she also starred in. The song was the #1 single on the UK Singles Chart for one week in January 1990,[1] and reached #35 in Canada. The B-side, "We Know the Meaning of Love," reached #1 in its own right in Sweden.

Music video[edit]

The music video shows Kylie in a black dress with a Brigitte Bardot hairstyle singing the song. The video is inter-cut with clips from the 1989 film The Delinquents.

Live performances[edit]

Minogue performed the song on the following concert tours:

The song was also performed on:

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Tears on My Pillow".

CD single

  1. "Tears on My Pillow" - 2:33
  2. "We Know the Meaning of Love" (Extended) - 5:50
  3. "Tears on My Pillow" (More Tears Mix) - 4:14

7" vinyl single

  1. "Tears on My Pillow" - 2:28
  2. "We Know the Meaning of Love" - 3:25

12" vinyl single

  1. "Tears on My Pillow" (More Tears Mix) - 4:14
  2. "We Know the Meaning of Love" (Extended) - 5:50

US & Canadian cassette

  1. "Tears on My Pillow" - 2:33
  2. "Nothing to Lose" - 3:20

Release history[edit]

Country Date
Australia November 12, 1989
Europe January 8, 1990


Chart (1990) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[5] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[6] 9
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[7] 35
European Hot 100 Singles 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[8] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[9] 31
Ireland (IRMA) 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 20
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[11] 33
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 1


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Silver 200,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

End of year charts[edit]

Year Chart Position
1990 UK Singles Chart[15] 34

See also[edit]


Preceded by
"Hangin' Tough"
by New Kids on the Block
UK Singles Chart number-one single
27 January 1990
(one week)
Succeeded by
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
by Sinéad O'Connor