As Time Goes By (song)

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For the 1999 J-pop song, see Hiroko Shimabukuro.
"As Time Goes By"
from the musical Everybody's Welcome
Song by Frances Williams
Written 1931
Published 1931
Writer(s) Herman Hupfeld

"As Time Goes By" is a song written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931. It became most famous in 1942 when part of it was sung by the character Sam (Dooley Wilson) in the movie Casablanca. The song was voted No. 2 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs special, commemorating the best songs in film.[1] (only surpassed by Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland). The song has since become the representative song of Warner Bros. and was also the title and theme song of the 1990s British romantic comedy series As Time Goes By.


Herman Hupfeld wrote "As Time Goes By" for the 1931 Broadway musical Everybody's Welcome. In the original show, it was sung by Frances Williams. It was recorded that year by several artists, it was sung by Rudy Vallée and Binnie Hale, and orchestra recordings were made by Jacques Renard and Fred Rich. In terms of popularity at the time, it was a modest hit. Elisabeth Welch included it in her cabaret act as soon as it was released.

The song was re-introduced in 1942 in the film Casablanca. It was sung by "Sam" (Dooley Wilson); "Sam"'s piano accompaniment was played by pianist Elliot Carpenter.[2] The song is heard throughout the film as a leitmotif.[3] Wilson was unable to record his version of the song at the time due to the 1942–44 musicians' strike. So Brunswick reissued the Jacques Renard 1931 recording, and Victor re-issued Vallée's 1931 recording, giving Vallée a number one hit in 1942.[4][5]

The AFI listed it among its "top 100" movie songs. National Public Radio included it in its NPR 100, a 1999 list of the most important American musical works of the 20th century as compiled by NPR's music editors.[6]

Hupfeld lived his whole life in Montclair, New Jersey, and was a regular customer at the Robin Hood Inn, a tavern built in 1922 on Valley Road, then part of Upper Montclair. Hupfeld spent many hours at the piano and wrote several of his songs in this tavern, now the Valley Regency. A plaque on the second floor of the Valley Regency Catering Facility in Clifton, New Jersey, commemorates the song.

Omitted reference to Einstein[edit]

In Casablanca, Wilson sings the song as written ("You must remember this..."), but does not sing the Prelude ("This day and age we're living in..."). The omitted lines refer to Albert Einstein.[7][8][9]


The song has been performed by many artists. Notable versions include:

Other recordings: Spike Jones 1943, Ray Anthony 1952, Nat King Cole 1953, Liberace 1954, Perry Como 1955, Johnny Nash 1958, Billie Holiday 1959, Johnny Mathis 1959, Vic Damone 1959, Cliff Richard 1960, Peggy Lee 1961, Vera Lynn 1961, Frank Sinatra 1962, Barbra Streisand 1963, Andy Williams 1962, Jimmy Durante 1965, Julie London 1965, Jack Jones 1967, Paul Anka 1968, Ella Fitzgerald 1970, Harry Nilsson 1973, Tony Bennett 1975, Dick Haymes 1978, Shirley Bassey 1978, Sammy Davis, Jr. 1979, Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias 1983, Carly Simon 1987, Natalie Cole 1993, Jerry Vale 1994, Engelbert Humperdinck 1997, Neil Diamond 1998, Tom Jones 1999, Kenny Rogers 2001, Rod Stewart 2004, Anne Murray 2005, Joni James 2008


The original song in the film as sung and played by "Sam" was recorded in D-flat major, but it has since been played in several keys, commonly C major, but also B-flat major, as in Frank Sinatra's recording, and others keys included including A major and E-flat major.


  • It inspired the title of the first memoir of Beatles publicist Derek Taylor (published by Sphere Books in 1973).[11]
  • It is the source of the title of the 1990s British comedy series As Time Goes By; a recording by Joe Fagin is the show's theme song.[12]
  • Warner Bros., the studio that produced Casablanca, has included the chorus to the song in the opening logo to its films since the 1999 release of Message in a Bottle, when it celebrated its 75th anniversary. A shorter version was later added to the closing logo for productions of Warner Bros. Television.
  • The song can also be heard in the queue at Disneyland's Jungle Cruise attraction.


  1. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs". Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  2. ^ Buhler, James; Caryl Flinn; David Neumeyer (2000). Music and cinema. Wesleyan University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8195-6411-5. 
  3. ^ Zinsser, William (2000). Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs. Jaffrey, New Hampshire: David R. Godine. p. 165. ISBN 1-56792-325-9. 
  4. ^ Jasen, David A. (2003). Tin Pan Alley: an encyclopedia of the golden age of American song. New York: Taylor & Francis. p. 216. ISBN 0-415-93877-5. 
  5. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 1, side A.
  6. ^ "NPR's 100". Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  7. ^ Randy Wayne (Nov 20, 2015). "As Time Goes By and Albert Einstein. Do the Fundamental Things Still Apply?". The Lansing Star. Retrieved 2015-11-23. 
  8. ^ Peter Galison (2015-02-12). "EMC2x: The Einstein Revolution". HarvardX - Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  9. ^ Peter Galison (22 January 2015). "HAREMC2XT115-V000200_100". HarvardX - YouTube. Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Derek Taylor Portfolio". The Internet Beatles Album. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  12. ^ "As Time Goes By Crew List". Retrieved 2008-02-12. [dead link]