Discussion:
The Number Ones: The Platters’ “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”
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Bob Roman
2018-11-08 00:43:31 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

The Platters – “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”
HIT #1: January 19, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks

Rock ‘n’ roll, as it played out in real time, wasn’t exactly a rupture. It was a burst of excitement, sure, but it existed within a pop-music context, and plenty of its stars were old-fashioned showmen, not insurgent bomb-throwers. Consider the Platters. The Los Angeles group had three #1 hits in Billboard’s pre-Hot 100 era, starting with 1955’s lovely “The Great Pretender.” Stylistically, they were closer to jazz-era singing groups like the Ink Spots than they were to, say, Chuck Berry or Jerry Lee Lewis, and yet they were one of the most popular groups of that early rock ‘n’ roll era.

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” the Platters’ final #1 hit, wasn’t a rock ‘n’ roll song. It was originally written for the 1933 musical Roberta, and it became a standard. Pop singers like Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, and Eartha Kitt recorded versions of the song, and so did jazz innovators like Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. The Platters didn’t record it as a rock ‘n’ roll song, either. Instead, in their hands, it was a sweeping, orchestral weeper of a ballad, with strings and harps and kettle drums. And it’s lovely.

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” is a deeply and fundamentally sad song. It’s about losing yourself in love, ignoring all the friends who tell you that these things fall apart. And then it’s about losing someone and being forced to admit that all your friends are right. Lead tenor Tony Williams keeps his composure all through the song, singing with a sweet fondness that only lets in a hint of that sadness. But then he builds up to a fiery, cinematic final note, exploding upward as the strings swirl with him. The song must’ve sounded terribly old-fashioned, even in 1958. But it’s also immaculately sung and beautifully orchestrated in ways that only add to that central emotional gut-punch.

GRADE: 8/10
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-08 01:07:55 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Platters ­ ³Smoke Gets In Your Eyes²
HIT #1: January 19, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks
Rock Œn¹ roll, as it played out in real time, wasn¹t exactly a rupture. It
was a burst of excitement, sure, but it existed within a pop-music context,
and plenty of its stars were old-fashioned showmen, not insurgent
bomb-throwers. Consider the Platters. The Los Angeles group had three #1 hits
in Billboard¹s pre-Hot 100 era, starting with 1955¹s lovely ³The Great
Pretender.² Stylistically, they were closer to jazz-era singing groups like
the Ink Spots than they were to, say, Chuck Berry or Jerry Lee Lewis, and yet
they were one of the most popular groups of that early rock Œn¹ roll era.
³Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,² the Platters¹ final #1 hit, wasn¹t a rock Œn¹ roll
song. It was originally written for the 1933 musical Roberta, and it became a
standard. Pop singers like Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, and Eartha Kitt
recorded versions of the song, and so did jazz innovators like Charlie Parker
and Thelonious Monk. The Platters didn¹t record it as a rock Œn¹ roll song,
either. Instead, in their hands, it was a sweeping, orchestral weeper of a
ballad, with strings and harps and kettle drums. And it¹s lovely.
³Smoke Gets In Your Eyes² is a deeply and fundamentally sad song. It¹s about
losing yourself in love, ignoring all the friends who tell you that these
things fall apart. And then it¹s about losing someone and being forced to
admit that all your friends are right. Lead tenor Tony Williams keeps his
composure all through the song, singing with a sweet fondness that only lets
in a hint of that sadness. But then he builds up to a fiery, cinematic final
note, exploding upward as the strings swirl with him. The song must¹ve
sounded terribly old-fashioned, even in 1958. But it¹s also immaculately sung
and beautifully orchestrated in ways that only add to that central emotional
gut-punch.
GRADE: 8/10
He's right about how good the song is, but somewhat wrong about its
meaning. The singer is trying to keep his friends from knowing how sad
he is by saying that the tears in his eyes are from the smoke of what
in the 50s were ubiquitous cigarettes. And while the song verged on
being pop, the Platters were steeped in r&b vocal group sounds and that
comes through clearly enough to make it a r'n'r song. Certainly my
friends and I never doubted that it was r'n'r.Or maybe it's just that
Breihan knows nothing about doo-wop. I will admit though that
"Twilight Time" and much of what followed by the Platters did somehow
cross the line.
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t***@iwvisp.com
2018-11-08 01:25:13 UTC
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It includes my second favorite set of brief ballad lyrics:

“They said "someday you'll find
all who love are blind"
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize,
smoke gets in your eyes
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-08 14:23:55 UTC
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“They said "someday you'll find
all who love are blind"
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize,
smoke gets in your eyes
Yes, it's all about the smoke from the fire of love.

"when a lovely flame dies
smoke gets in your eyes"

The smoke is at first blinding then the smoke produces tears.
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-08 15:22:12 UTC
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Post by Jim Colegrove
“They said "someday you'll find
all who love are blind"
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize,
smoke gets in your eyes
Yes, it's all about the smoke from the fire of love.
"when a lovely flame dies
smoke gets in your eyes"
The smoke is at first blinding then the smoke produces tears.
Yes, he admits that to himself, but it's all playing with the excuse of
physical smoke making the eyes tear to hide the fact that he is crying,
or so it means back in the days when crying was considered "unmanly."
--
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Dennis C
2018-11-08 15:54:30 UTC
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Don and Phil disguised their lachrymosity amid a pluvial event,baby!!
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-08 16:15:55 UTC
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On Thu, 08 Nov 2018 09:22:12 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Jim Colegrove
“They said "someday you'll find
all who love are blind"
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize,
smoke gets in your eyes
Yes, it's all about the smoke from the fire of love.
"when a lovely flame dies
smoke gets in your eyes"
The smoke is at first blinding then the smoke produces tears.
Yes, he admits that to himself, but it's all playing with the excuse of
physical smoke making the eyes tear to hide the fact that he is crying,
or so it means back in the days when crying was considered "unmanly."
Similar to "Tracks of My Tears" would you say?
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-08 17:47:37 UTC
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Post by Jim Colegrove
On Thu, 08 Nov 2018 09:22:12 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Jim Colegrove
“They said "someday you'll find
all who love are blind"
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize,
smoke gets in your eyes
Yes, it's all about the smoke from the fire of love.
"when a lovely flame dies
smoke gets in your eyes"
The smoke is at first blinding then the smoke produces tears.
Yes, he admits that to himself, but it's all playing with the excuse of
physical smoke making the eyes tear to hide the fact that he is crying,
or so it means back in the days when crying was considered "unmanly."
Similar to "Tracks of My Tears" would you say?
Yes, though I'm sure there are quite a few songs with similar ideas. It
also turns up often enough in movies and television scripts to have
become mostly a comic bit.
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Bill B
2018-11-08 18:48:19 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
I'm sure there are quite a few songs with similar ideas.
As good as 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" is, here's my favorite:

Smoke from Your Cigarette (Mellows)



Lillian Leach has a wonderful voice, filled with emotion.
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-08 19:06:02 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by Mark Dintenfass
I'm sure there are quite a few songs with similar ideas.
Smoke from Your Cigarette (Mellows)
http://youtu.be/wSYbqdk4jMk
Lillian Leach has a wonderful voice, filled with emotion.
It's one of those I first heard because of this group, and has become a
great favorite. But I'm not sure the lyrics have the same theme, even
though there is the same cigarette smoke. In fact, I just listened to
the song again and found what she's saying a bit confusing since she
starts by implying that she's being ditched by the guy for some other
woman (his cigarette some having clouded her eyes to his loss of
interest in her) and ends up with her apologizing for some unknown
transgression of her own. I think I'll be like Bruce on this on and
just ignore the words of this gorgeous record.
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Bill B
2018-11-08 19:24:24 UTC
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In article ,
Post by Bill B
Post by Mark Dintenfass
I'm sure there are quite a few songs with similar ideas.
Smoke from Your Cigarette (Mellows)
http://youtu.be/wSYbqdk4jMk
Lillian Leach has a wonderful voice, filled with emotion.
It's one of those I first heard because of this group, and has become a
great favorite. But I'm not sure the lyrics have the same theme, even
though there is the same cigarette smoke. In fact, I just listened to
the song again and found what she's saying a bit confusing since she
starts by implying that she's being ditched by the guy for some other
woman (his cigarette some having clouded her eyes to his loss of
interest in her) and ends up with her apologizing for some unknown
transgression of her own. I think I'll be like Bruce on this on and
just ignore the words of this gorgeous record.
I remember it from Alan Freed's show. It was an instant favorite. Glad you think so highly of it.

I don't have a problem with the lyrics. Although they are still together, he is ready to move on because of something she did.

"Smoke from your cigarette clouds my eyes
Things that you speak of make me realize
That you've found someone else to take my place
In your heart, in your heart
There was a time you would say
I was the only one who could bring
Happiness to you or anyone
But now those days are gone
Gone are the days when we would say
We were meant for each other
Gone are the days, those wonderful days
When on you kisses I would smother
Smoke from your cigarette clouds my eyes
Please don't say it, darling, won't you realize
And tell me you'll forgive me
Before those days are gone, gone"
SavoyBG
2018-11-08 22:17:07 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Bill B
Post by Mark Dintenfass
I'm sure there are quite a few songs with similar ideas.
Smoke from Your Cigarette (Mellows)
http://youtu.be/wSYbqdk4jMk
Lillian Leach has a wonderful voice, filled with emotion.
It's one of those I first heard because of this group,
How did you miss this in 1955? It was HUGE on Freed's show.

Roger Ford
2018-11-08 16:43:13 UTC
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On Thu, 08 Nov 2018 09:22:12 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Jim Colegrove
“They said "someday you'll find
all who love are blind"
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize,
smoke gets in your eyes
Yes, it's all about the smoke from the fire of love.
"when a lovely flame dies
smoke gets in your eyes"
The smoke is at first blinding then the smoke produces tears.
Yes, he admits that to himself, but it's all playing with the excuse of
physical smoke making the eyes tear to hide the fact that he is crying,
or so it means back in the days when crying was considered "unmanly."
Actually Jerome Kern wrote one of his best ever songs for the 1933
musical play "Roberta" for a WOMAN to sing in the Broadway hit---hence
Tamara Drasin introduced the song iin the show and the first recording
followed by Gertrude Neilsen shortly afterwards.



I believe the first recording of it by a man was the 1934 hit version
by Paul Whiteman with vocal by Bob Lawrence


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Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-08 17:48:48 UTC
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Post by Jim Colegrove
On Thu, 08 Nov 2018 09:22:12 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Jim Colegrove
“They said "someday you'll find
all who love are blind"
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize,
smoke gets in your eyes
Yes, it's all about the smoke from the fire of love.
"when a lovely flame dies
smoke gets in your eyes"
The smoke is at first blinding then the smoke produces tears.
Yes, he admits that to himself, but it's all playing with the excuse of
physical smoke making the eyes tear to hide the fact that he is crying,
or so it means back in the days when crying was considered "unmanly."
Actually Jerome Kern wrote one of his best ever songs for the 1933
musical play "Roberta" for a WOMAN to sing in the Broadway hit---hence
Tamara Drasin introduced the song iin the show and the first recording
followed by Gertrude Neilsen shortly afterwards.
http://youtu.be/6dNoC9CoYRc
I believe the first recording of it by a man was the 1934 hit version
by Paul Whiteman with vocal by Bob Lawrence
Whoops. But that doesn't change the gist of the argument, blaming
cigarette smoke for teary eyes.
--
--md
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Eric Ramon
2018-11-08 02:55:15 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
He's right about how good the song is, but somewhat wrong about its
meaning. The singer is trying to keep his friends from knowing how sad
he is by saying that the tears in his eyes are from the smoke of what
in the 50s were ubiquitous cigarettes. And while the song verged on
being pop, the Platters were steeped in r&b vocal group sounds and that
comes through clearly enough to make it a r'n'r song. Certainly my
friends and I never doubted that it was r'n'r.Or maybe it's just that
Breihan knows nothing about doo-wop. I will admit though that
"Twilight Time" and much of what followed by the Platters did somehow
cross the line.
I'm going with the "knows nothing about doo-wop". There are all kinds of inaccurate, weird things in his little essays that show he's half-informed. He comes at it from his own angle, keeps referring to REM. In his write-up of Paperback Writer he says about Rain, "my favorite Beatles song ever — a gooey and head-blown pop meditation that essentially predicts the Stone Roses."

Which is a very strange way to look at it. Expressing it that way does what? Legitimizes the Beatles? For what it's worth I just tried to listed to the Stone Roses and gave up. The first one just vamped on and on and at about the 1:20 mark without an actual song happening I clicked on a different one...which I soon saw runs 8 minutes and 14 seconds.

But that's where Breihan is coming from. REM, the Stone Roses, Husker Du. In other words, my least favorite era.
Roger Ford
2018-11-08 05:52:25 UTC
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On Wed, 7 Nov 2018 16:43:31 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Platters =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CSmoke Gets In Your Eyes=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: January 19, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks
Rock =E2=80=98n=E2=80=99 roll, as it played out in real time, wasn=E2=80=99=
t exactly a rupture. It was a burst of excitement, sure, but it existed wit=
hin a pop-music context, and plenty of its stars were old-fashioned showmen=
, not insurgent bomb-throwers. Consider the Platters. The Los Angeles group=
had three #1 hits in Billboard=E2=80=99s pre-Hot 100 era, starting with 19=
55=E2=80=99s lovely =E2=80=9CThe Great Pretender.=E2=80=9D Stylistically, t=
hey were closer to jazz-era singing groups like the Ink Spots than they wer=
e to, say, Chuck Berry or Jerry Lee Lewis, and yet they were one of the mos=
t popular groups of that early rock =E2=80=98n=E2=80=99 roll era.
=E2=80=9CSmoke Gets In Your Eyes,=E2=80=9D the Platters=E2=80=99 final #1 h=
it, wasn=E2=80=99t a rock =E2=80=98n=E2=80=99 roll song. It was originally =
written for the 1933 musical Roberta, and it became a standard. Pop singers=
like Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, and Eartha Kitt recorded versions of =
the song, and so did jazz innovators like Charlie Parker and Thelonious Mon=
k. The Platters didn=E2=80=99t record it as a rock =E2=80=98n=E2=80=99 roll=
song, either. Instead, in their hands, it was a sweeping, orchestral weepe=
r of a ballad, with strings and harps and kettle drums. And it=E2=80=99s lo=
vely.
=E2=80=9CSmoke Gets In Your Eyes=E2=80=9D is a deeply and fundamentally sad=
song. It=E2=80=99s about losing yourself in love, ignoring all the friends=
who tell you that these things fall apart. And then it=E2=80=99s about los=
ing someone and being forced to admit that all your friends are right. Lead=
tenor Tony Williams keeps his composure all through the song, singing with=
a sweet fondness that only lets in a hint of that sadness. But then he bui=
lds up to a fiery, cinematic final note, exploding upward as the strings sw=
irl with him. The song must=E2=80=99ve sounded terribly old-fashioned, even=
in 1958. But it=E2=80=99s also immaculately sung and beautifully orchestra=
ted in ways that only add to that central emotional gut-punch.
GRADE: 8/10
A definite 10/10 for me and the best record the Platters ever made.
Released November 1958 and a #1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic in
early 1959

It's one of my very,very favorite revivals of a "standard" alongside
Ray Charles' classic "Georgia On My Mind".

Here's how I rate this record in my favorites list from 1958

1. Johnny B.Goode Chuck Berry
2. Good Golly Miss Molly Little Richard
3. For Your Precious Love Jerry Butler & Impressions
4. (Night Time Is) The Right Time Ray Charles
5. Reelin' And Rockin' Chuck Berry
6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Platters
7. Sweet Little Sixteen Chuck Berry
8. Rock Around With Ollie Vee Buddy Holly (Decca LP version)
9. Yakety Yak Coasters
10. Don't You Just Know It Huey (Piano) Smith




ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-08 12:56:16 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
Here's how I rate this record in my favorites list from 1958
1. Johnny B.Goode Chuck Berry
2. Good Golly Miss Molly Little Richard
3. For Your Precious Love Jerry Butler & Impressions
4. (Night Time Is) The Right Time Ray Charles
5. Reelin' And Rockin' Chuck Berry
6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Platters
7. Sweet Little Sixteen Chuck Berry
8. Rock Around With Ollie Vee Buddy Holly (Decca LP version)
9. Yakety Yak Coasters
10. Don't You Just Know It Huey (Piano) Smith
Which goes to show how little a focus on number ones tells us about
what was really going on musically at any given time.
--
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