Try to Remember

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"Try to Remember" is a song from the musical comedy The Fantasticks. It is the first song sung in the show, to get the audience to imagine what the sparse set suggests. Its lyrics, written by Tom Jones, famously rhyme "remember" with "September", "so tender", "ember", and "December," and repeat the sequence -llow throughout the song: verse 1 contains "mellow," "yellow," and "callow fellow"; verse 2 contains "willow," "pillow," "billow"; verse 3 contains "follow," "hollow," "mellow"; and all verses end with "follow." They also feature an interpolated rhyme in "wept" and "kept," and alliterative lines "when grass was green and grain was yellow" and "without a hurt the heart is hollow." Harvey Schmidt composed the music.

Pop charts and early recordings[edit]

"Try to Remember" was originally sung by Jerry Orbach in the Original Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks.

"Try To Remember" made the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart three times in 1965 in versions by Ed Ames, Roger Williams, Barry McGuire, The Kingston Trio, The Sandpipers, and The Brothers Four.

Eddie Fisher released a version in 1965 on his LP Eddie Fisher Today!

The Kim Sisters released a version in 1959 on their album The Kim Sisters: Their First Album, through Monument Records.

Patti Page released a version in 1965 on her album Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

Andy Williams released a version in 1966 on his album The Shadow of Your Smile.

Perry Como released a version in 1968 on his album Look to Your Heart.

Roy Orbison released a version in 1969 on his album Roy Orbison's Many Moods.

Liza Minnelli recorded a version on her Liza! Liza! album Capitol records September 1964

The song was the first Australian hit for the then-Brisbane based trio New World, billed at the time as The New World Trio. Their version peaked at 11 in late 1968.

In 1971, the Dutch singing duo Saskia & Serge had a national smash hit with their signature song 'Zomer in Zeeland', based on the music of 'Try to Remember'.

In 1975 Gladys Knight & the Pips had a huge international hit with their version of "Try to Remember", combining it into a medley with a cover of Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were". It reached No. 11 on the Hot 100 chart. In Knight's version, she recited some of the lyrics from "Try To Remember" in spoken-word fashion before beginning to sing "The Way We Were".

Harry Belafonte has recorded the song multiple times.

The Greek singer Nana Mouskouri also recorded it in three languages: German, French, and Italian.

Romanian singer Aura Urziceanu recorded a Romanian language version in duet with Aurelian Andreescu in 1975, Septembrie.

In 1973 actress Patricia Routledge recorded it for her solo album Presenting Patricia Routledge Singing the Classics.

Notable appearances in films and TV shows[edit]

Browning Bryant sang it on the Kraft Music Hall in December 1969.[1]

"Try to Remember" was used in the soundtrack of the film The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Sandy Duncan performed this song in 1976 on The Muppet Show.

"Try to Remember" was performed in the opening scenes of the ABC television mini-series "Amerika" Amerika_(miniseries), broadcast in 1987. In this TV mini-series, the lyrics are to remind the audience of the happier times prior to the Soviet occupation of the United States.

Jonathon Morris performed the song in the 1995 film version of The Fantasticks, and a cover version was made by Leon Lai for the 1998 Hong Kong film City of Glass.

In 1996, a parody of "Try to Remember" was used on The Rush Limbaugh Show as a recurring feature to mock Hillary Clinton's Congressional testimony in the Whitewater hearings, in which she claimed to be unable to remember key facts about the issues being investigated.

When Jerry Orbach died, the TV show he had starred in for many years, Law & Order, ran a brief video tribute to him at the end of an episode. An instrumental version of "Try To Remember" played over the clips.

"Try to Remember" is used in Captain America: Civil War when Tony Stark's mother plays it on the piano in his flashback. The song was used at the suggestion of Robert Downey Jr., who portrayed Tony Stark/Iron Man in this and many other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, because he liked the song when he was young.

Later cover recordings[edit]

John Barrowman recorded this song on his 2003 album Reflections from Broadway.

Josh Groban recorded this song for his 2015 album, Stages.


  1. ^ "Browning Bryant on Kraft Music Hall". YouTube. Retrieved 12 February 2019.

External links[edit]