Thursday, November 26, 1992

50 years ago: “As Time Goes By” immortalized by Casablanca

As Time Goes By

Rudy Vallee

Writer(s): Herman Hupfield (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 19, 1931

Peak: 14 US, 14 HP (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 13.7 video, -- streaming

As Time Goes By

Dooley Wilson

Released: November 26, 1942

First Charted: --

Peak: 14 HP, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 13.7 video, -- streaming

Awards (Rudy Vallee’s version):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Dooley Wilson’s version):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Herman Hupfield was a 26-year-old Tin Pan Alley writer when he composed this unforgettable ballad in 1931. NPR Originally the song was sung by Frances Williams JA in the Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome. MM Rudy Vallee (#15) and Jacques Renard (#13) each charted with versions in 1931. PM

The song took on a new life more than a decade later in the film Casablanca in 1942. Dooley Wilson played the song in a North African bar in the war-time Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman war-time classic. The song was “too sentimental…and…too backward-looking” DS but perfect “for its moment, both in the narrative of Casablanca, where its misty truisms of love and loyalty thaw Bogart’s iced-over soul, and in the larger narrative of America[ing] the challenge of producing the materials and manpower to win two wars at the two ends of the earth.” DS

Because of a musicians’ strike, Wilson couldn’t release his recording, but Vallee and Renard’s versions were re-released, hitting #1 and #3 respectively. PM The song was a hit again in 1952 with Ray Anthony’s #10 version. Wilson performed the song again on screen in 1972 in the movie Play It Again, Sam. The song also showed up in What’s Up Doc?, Blue Skies Again, and Round Midnight.

In 1994, British television sit-com used the song as its title and theme song. JA A rendition by Jimmy Durante was featured in the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan film Sleepless in Seattle. Other versions were recorded and performed by Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, and Barbra Streisand. The song came in at #2 on the American Film Institute’s 2004 list of the top 100 movie songs of all time.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Dooley Wilson
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Rudy Vallee
  • DS Don’t Stay Up Too Late (blog)
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 13.
  • MM Max Morath (2002). The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards. New York, NY; Penguin Putnam Inc. Page 150.
  • NPR National Public Radio (1999). “The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 472.

Last updated 10/4/2021.

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