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I'll Be Seeing You (song)

"I'll Be Seeing You"
Published 1938
Composer(s) Sammy Fain
Lyricist(s) Irving Kahal

"I'll Be Seeing You" is a popular song, with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Irving Kahal. Published in 1938, it was inserted into the Broadway musical Right This Way, which closed after fifteen performances. In the musical it was performed by the singer Tamara Drasin, who had a few years earlier introduced "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". The song is a jazz standard, and has been covered by many musicians.

The musical theme has emotional power, and was much loved during World War II, when it became an anthem for those serving overseas (both British and American soldiers). The lyrics begin, in Bert Ambrose's and Vera Lynn's recorded versions, with a preamble:

Cathedral bells were tolling and our hearts sang on
Was it the spell of Paris or the April dawn?
Who knows if we shall meet again?
But when the morning chimes ring sweet again ...
I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places

As the song develops, the words take a jaunty commonplace of casual farewell and transform it by degrees, to climax with

And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you

The resemblance between the main tune's first four lines and a passage within the theme of the last movement of Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony (1896) was pointed out by Deryck Cooke in 1970.

Featured throughout the 1944 movie also titled I'll Be Seeing You, starring Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten, the recording by Bing Crosby became a hit that year, reaching number one for the week of July 1. Later the song became notably associated with Liberace, as the theme music to his television show of the 1950s. In 1956, Jackie Gleason's character, Ralph Kramden, referenced the song in an episode of The Honeymooners in which Kramden experienced an early exit on the game show, The $99,000 Answer, and refused to leave the stage. The song was heard in an episode of the 1960s spy spoof Get Smart, when the main character had a high-tech trumpet that could play any tune, just by speaking the title into the mouthpiece. The song was aptly used in the 1979 film Yanks, starring Richard Gere, a World War II story set in England in 1943-44. In a 1987 episode of Designing Women, appropriately titled 'I'll Be Seeing You', Jean Smart's character Charlene dreams that the cast is back in the World War II era; Charlene performs the song herself and the Bing Crosby version is also featured.

Preceded by
"I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)" by Harry James and Dick Haymes
U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
July 1, 1944
Succeeded by
"I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)" by Harry James and Dick Haymes
Preceded by
"I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)" by Harry James and Dick Haymes
U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
July 15, 1944–July 29, 1944
Succeeded by
"Swinging on a Star" by Bing Crosby



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