“Love is a Many Splendored Thing” was the first song in the rock era written exclusively for a movie that reached number one. It was, of course, written for the movie by the same name Love is a Many Splendored Thing which starred William Holden and Jennifer Jones. The song won the Oscar that year (1955) for best song from a film.
The movie was originally called A Many Splendored Thing, but they changed it to the longer title because it looked better on a movie theater marquee. The song was written by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. That had earlier won an Oscar for another song, “Secret Love” for Doris Day which appeared in the movie Calamity Jane. So, these guys were hot at the time.
The song writers started peddling the song to various performers of the day. They approached Eddie Fisher, Tony Martin, Doris Day and Nat “King” Cole and they all turned them down. Then they asked the Four Aces. The four man group was on the verge of breaking up but decided to go ahead and record the song. They had had a good career, including another number one song “Three Coins in the Fountain” back in 1954.
The Four Aces were made of (all from Chester, Pennsylvania): Al Alberts (lead vocal,) Dave Mahoney (tenor,) Sol Vaccaro (baritone,) and Lou Silvestri (bass.) Alberts left the group shortly after and had a solo career. After the song hit number one, every single one of the artists that had turned down Fain and Webster recorded versions of their own.
And who remembers Grease in 1978. In the opening scene of the movie as John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John gaze into each others eyes, you can hear “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” playing in the background.
I know it’s a little (OK, a lot) old fashioned, but I still love the song. Hope you enjoy it. too.
Next:”Autumn Leaves” – Roger Williams