About The Song

Ah, yes, The Platters’ “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (1958). A timeless ballad that continues to resonate with listeners across generations. Released on their album Remember When? this wasn’t even an original composition for the doo-wop group. But their smooth vocals and heartfelt delivery transformed it into a chart-topping sensation, solidifying their place in the pantheon of American vocal groups.

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Originally, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” was a show tune from the 1933 musical Roberta, composed by the legendary Jerome Kern with lyrics by Otto Harbach. The song found a wider audience when it was featured in the 1935 film adaptation and its 1952 sequel, Lovely to Look At. But it was The Platters’ 1958 rendition that truly captured the hearts of the nation.

The beauty of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” lies in its poignant lyricism. It’s a bittersweet ballad that explores the lingering effects of a lost love. The opening lines set the stage for a conversation: “They asked me how I knew/ My true love was true” – a simple question that sparks a cascade of memories. The narrator, still deeply affected by the heartbreak, replies with unwavering conviction: “I of course replied/ Something here inside/ Can’t be denied.”

The use of “smoke” becomes a powerful metaphor throughout the song. It represents the hazy, dreamlike state of being in love, where objectivity can be clouded by intense emotions. The line “Fooled around and fell in love/ Just like a fool would do” perfectly captures this vulnerability. The narrator acknowledges the potential folly of their love, yet they remain powerless to resist its pull.

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As the song progresses, the smoke begins to dissipate, revealing a harsher reality. The narrator admits “Some day, the spell will break/ I know you won’t be mine” – a moment of heartbreaking clarity. The lyrics then take a more accusatory tone towards the lost love: “The tears you shed for me/ Like to wine would stain/ But what’s the use of tears/ When love is gone for good?”

The final verse brings a sense of melancholic acceptance. The narrator reflects on the lingering effects of the relationship: “But when I tell you, honeytime/ You were my guiding star/ Though smoke gets in your eyes/ You can’t pretend you see far.” Even though the love has faded, the memories remain vivid, a bittersweet reminder of a time etched in their heart.

The Platters’ masterful rendition elevates “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” beyond its origins as a show tune. Their rich vocal harmonies, particularly the soaring lead by Tony Williams, imbue the song with a profound sense of emotional depth. The doo-wop backing vocals, a signature sound of the era, add a layer of tenderness and vulnerability.

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” transcended the doo-wop genre, achieving mainstream success and topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1958. It has since become a standard, covered by countless artists across genres, a testament to its enduring power to evoke the bittersweet emotions of a lost love.

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Lyrics

“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
I of course replied
Something here inside
Can not be denied

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They, said some day you’ll find
All who love are blind
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
And yet today, my love has flown away
I am without my love

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes

Smoke gets in your eyes