I have always considered Frank Sinatra’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight” to be the perfect song for the traditional bride’s dance with her father. Dorothy Fields’ poignant lyrics and Jerome Kern’s timeless melody were originally sung by Fred Astaire in the movie “Swing Time” in 1936. The song has been “covered” by dozens of singers from Billie Holiday to Rod Stewart, but I’ve always felt that Nelson Riddle’s spectacular arrangement for Sinatra in 1964 to be the definitive version.
Here are Dorothy Fields’ beautiful lyrics:
Some day, when I’m awfully low, when the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight
Yes you’re lovely, with your smile so warm and your cheeks so soft.
There is nothing for me but to love you, and the way you look tonight
With each word your tenderness grows, tearing my fear apart
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose, touches my foolish heart
Lovely, never ever change, keep that breathless charm
Won’t you please arrange it ’cause I love you?
Just the way you look tonight.
Nelson Riddle’s spectacular arrangement of Kern’s simple melody has just enough swing to avoid any hint at being too “mushy,” while Fields’ lyrics remain touchingly sweet, without ever sounding saccharine. Written 80 years ago, and recorded 52 years ago, this gem from The Great American Songbook remains remarkably fresh. “The Way You Look Tonight” has always been, and will undoubtedly always be, my number one request for the Father/Daughter dance at every wedding.
Let me know what you think.