2021 Song Draft- Round 3 Pick 2- Eclectic Music Lover selects- ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’- The Flamingos.
One of the most romantic love songs ever written has to be “I Only Have Eyes For You”. The song was written by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin for the 1934 film Dames, starring Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell. Powell sang it in the film and several artists also recorded their own versions of the song in 1934, including bandleader Ben Selvin, (with vocals by Howard Phillips), pianist Eddy Duchin, and singer Jane Froman. But the version released in 1959 by R&B/doo wop band The Flamingos is without question the most captivating of them all. It’s among the earliest songs I ever remember hearing as a very young boy, and I’ve loved it my entire life.
The song was the biggest hit for the Flamingos, reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Hot R&B Songs chart, but it should have been #1 in my opinion. Their version has endured over the years and is recognized as an important work. The song has been included in numerous ‘best-of’ lists, and in 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #158 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
The song is perfection from start to finish, with a dreamy arrangement and that sultry doo wop groove that’s so damned enchanting. I love the repetitive piano riff that establishes the mesmerizing percussive rhythm for the song, as well as those tasty little guitar notes sprinkled throughout. Then there are the fabulous silky vocals by Nate Nelson, backed by echoed vocal harmonies of the rest of the band that almost have the effect of another instrument in themselves. God, what a magnificent song it is!
My love must be a kind of blind love
I can’t see anyone but you
Are the stars out tonight?
I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright
I only have eyes for you, dear
The moon may be high
But I can’t see a thing in the sky
I only have eyes for you.
I don’t know if we’re in a garden
Or on a crowded avenue
You are here, and so am I
Maybe millions of people go by
But they all disappear from view
And I only have eyes for you
Other versions of the song were later recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1962, The Lettermen in 1966, Art Garfunkel in 1975 (who’s version went to #1 in the UK), Carly Simon in 2005, and Michael Buble in 2018. But the best will always remain the one by the Flamingos.
In the mid 80s I got a job as an inventory person in a parts cage at a company…I had a radio and listened to 96.3 and oldies channel there…I learned all of the 50s songs I didn’t learn from my dad. When I hear this music I’m 19-20 again. I like the voices, melody, and the nuisances of this music. I agree…this one is probably the most romantic of them all. Wonderful pick Jeff
A very good oldie. I grew up hearing (I guess) the Garfunkel version , but this one is hard to top.
Certainly one of the great songs from that era. Excellent choice.
It’s a timeless classic for sure.
When I listen to this song, all I want to do is slow dance. There is no version that can top The Flamingos version. That lush harmony sends me into orbit. I appreciate the enthusiasm you have for this song. Good write-up, Jeff!
Thank you Lisa.
You hovered around one of my first picks, now you have hit one bang on. CB did one of his first takes on this song. A song that absolutely sends me (Im in orbit with Lisa). I cant think of ‘American Graffiti’ without thinking of this song.
Fantastic pick in my books!
This is so easy on the ears. Lovely choice. I’ve been hearing it my whole life, and just realized I couldn’t have told you until now, who sang it.
Oh god yes… Fantastic song. I’m with CB. I immediately think of American Graffiti:
I thought I remembered it being played in the film, but wasn’t sure.
Perfect scene, too.
I love that scene. Toad is my hero. I did a take on the scene itself. Etched in my mind. The song is perfect.
This truly is a masterpiece! Don’t we all wish for this kind of love? Your lover is the only thing you are aware of, despite everything else around you. Wow! That’s love!
The song is well written and well sung. It is one of the great Doo-Wop songs of the 50’s. I agree that it should have been a number one song. This was a song that was in a hot rotation at the oldies station I worked at. It was ALWAYS being requested for brides & grooms, boyfriends and girlfriends, and anniversaries.
Thanks Keith. For years I assumed it was a #1 hit, until I purchased Joel Whitburn’s encyclopedic 6th Edition of Billboard Top 40 Hits.
We used Whitburn books all the time when I first got into radio. They are like The Bible for radio. Somewhere I have an old copy of Top Pop Singles, which is every Top 100 hit. I think mine goes to 1996. I know there have been updated volumes, but I haven’t had a need to use it since getting out of radio full time.
I’ve been addicted to music lists ever since New Year’s Day 1970, when I listened to San Francisco AM radio station KYA count down their Top 100 of the 60s. I still refer to my 1996 edition of the Whitburn book all the time.
my Whitburn 1955-2015 is always near by… I figure there may be an updated one and someday I might get one but since I have no interest in the charts of today– maybe I won’t- what a great reference.
I think that’s why I haven’t really upgraded. There are not too many new songs that interest me.
Yes to me- unless they would add more to the book in some way- I will pass. I also have the country music version of it- I think its updated to around 2000 give or take a year or two. And again in my opinion at least country music has gone into the toilet so I haven’t updated to a newer edition….
Lol. I worked in Country radio for about 15 years. I agree. It really sucks.
I was wondering if you agreed with me on that- I knew you had worked in Country radio.
The whole “Bro Country” thing is annoying. Most of the crap on the radio today is more rock/rap then country. The only thing that semi resembles country are the ballads, and even they could be something you’d hear on a pop station.
I figure you saw the Ken Burns Country Music a few years back- I thought it was a great touch how he basically ended it with Johnny Cash’s death- and by passed the past two decades.
Believe it or not, that’s one thing I didn’t see. I meant to watch it, but finding time to actually sit down and watch anything these days is difficult for me.
I heard a buddy of mine say that today’s country is more Southern rock. I still have a very difficult time trying to even call it that! All I know is it’s 100% not country
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