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As Time Goes By

July 25, 1931


“As Time Goes By” is a jazz song written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931. It became famous when it featured in the 1942 Warner Bros. film Casablanca, performed by Dooley Wilson as Sam. The song was voted No. 2 on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs special, commemorating the best songs in film[1] (surpassed only by “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland).

Herman Hupfeld wrote “As Time Goes By” for the Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome which opened on October 31, 1931. In the original show, it was sung by Frances Williams. It was first recorded by Rudy Vallée on July 25, 1931 for Victor Records, then also by Jacques Renard and his Orchestra on Brunswick Records and Fred Rich. In 1932, Binnie Hale recorded the song. Elisabeth Welch included the song in her cabaret act soon after it was released. In terms of popularity at the time, it was a modest hit.

The song was re-introduced in the 1942 film Casablanca where it was sung by Sam, portrayed by Dooley Wilson. Sam’s piano accompaniment was played by a studio pianist, Jean Vincent Plummer. The melody is heard throughout the film as a leitmotif. Wilson was unable to make a commercial recording of the song at the time due to the 1942–44 musicians’ strike. Unable to record new versions of the song, RCA Victor reissued the 1931 recording by Rudy Vallée, which became a number one hit eleven years after it was originally released. Brunswick also reissued the 1931 Jacques Renard recording

Like many later singers, Wilson in Casablanca starts with “You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss…”, singing only the verses and refrain (“As time goes by”). He entirely omits the intro that put those “fundamental things” into context: “This day and age we’re living in/Gives cause for apprehension[…] Yet we get a trifle weary/With Mr Einstein’s theory/So we must get down to earth at times […] The simple facts of life […] cannot be removed.” At least one version moves the intro into the middle of the song.


You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply as time goes by

And when two lovers woo
They still say “I love you”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings, as time goes by

Moonlight and love songs never out of date
Hearts full of passion, jealousy, and hate
Woman needs man, and man must have his mate
That no one can deny

It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers as time goes by

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