The classic and much recorded “When I Fall In Love” was written by Edward Heyman (1907-1981) and Victor Young (1900-1956) and first recorded by American singer Jeri Southern (1926-1991) for the film ‘One Minute To Zero’, released to the cinema’s in April 1952. Looking for a hit, Heyman and Young asked a then rising singer and actress by the name of Doris Day (1922-2019) to record the song and it was duly released two months later in July, reaching No.20 on the US singles chart.
Perhaps the best known version, however, came in 1956 from the legendary Mr. Nat ‘King’ Cole (1919-1965) for his album “Love Is The Thing”. The song was released as a single reaching No.2 in the UK, although strangely, it was not released commercially in America.
Other versions have come from Johnny Mathis in 1959, Blues singer Etta Jones in 1960, The Lettermen in 1961, Donny Osmond in 1973 and Linda Ronstadt in 1984.
The song next received a big release through British singer Rick Astley in 1987. Having already racked up two massive hits with “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Whenever You Need Somebody” (the title track of his debut album), Rick released his ‘crooner’ version at Christmas, peaking at No.2 in the UK as well as hitting the top ten all over Europe and in Australia. Once again, the song was not commercially released in the US, despite Rick having achieved a No.1 single and a No.1 album there only weeks before!
It was at this time that Nat’s 1956 version was re-released in the UK, this time charting at No.4 and making history, as two different versions of the same song spent the next three weeks inside the UK top ten!
Celine Dion was next to record the song for her album “The Colour Of My Love” in 1993. The song was recorded as a duet with British singer Clive Griffin and featured in the film ‘Sleepless In Seattle’. Their version went to No.23 in America, although it saw only limited release elsewhere internationally. Not to worry, “The Colour Of My Love” sold more than twenty million copies, so I’m sure Celine and her record company were not too worried about that!
The most notable version to come since then was from Nat’s own daughter, Natalie (1950-2015), herself a successful recording artist during the 1980’s. In 1996, she recorded the song as a virtual duet with her father for her album “Stardust”. Natalie had previously recorded the song on her own for her 1988 album “Everlasting” and ‘recorded’ “Unforgettable” with her late father in 1991, taking it high in the singles charts the world over.
But which version is the best? JERI’s original, DORIS’ first release, NAT’s most famous, RICK’s smash hit, CELINE and CLIVE’s box office blockbuster or NAT and NATALIE’s sentimental duet?