04 April 2011

Smoke gets in your eyes

(Listen to the British version 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes' by Elsie Carlisle, 1934)

Of course we don't see clearly when we fall in love. However, I suppose when smoke gets in my eyes, wow, it's painful. Not only will it cause temporary vision loss, but also trigger coughs and bring tears trickling down the cheeks.

Before I bought this record, the only thing I knew about 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' was that it is an oldie, probably similar to something like 'Moon River'. Never had I realised that it is a 1930s jazz standard, as old as the celebrated 'Over The Rainbow' and 'Summer time', nor had I been aware of this British version recorded only one year after its composition.

According to Stanley Green's famous Broadway reference book Broadway Musicals: Show by Show, which I purchased about twenty years ago at a secondhand bookshop, it is originally a song written for the 1933 Broadway musical Roberta by the composer Jerome Kern and the lyricist Otto Harbach.

Just like many other evergreen pieces, 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' has been covered by several dozens of artists, of which the household name would probably be the doo wop group The Platters. The cover version they made in 1958, the very one I would think of when this tune rings out, reached number one on Billboard Hot 100.

Enjoy the British interpretation of this classic piece by Elsie Carlisle, the most popular radio performer in England in the 1930s. It's slightly faster than the covered one performed by The Platters.

Here come the lyrics for your reference.

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
Oh, I of course replied
Something here inside
Cannot be denied

They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind
Oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed
To think they could doubt my love
Yet today my love has flown away
I am without my love

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I can not hide
Oh, so I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes

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