Sheet music cover from 1955, with poster artwork from film of the same name featuring its two stars.

"Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" is a popular song with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster.[1] The song appeared first in the movie Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), and it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1956.[1] From 1967 to 1973, it was also used as the theme song to Love is a Many Splendored Thing, the soap opera based on the movie.

Many versions of the song have been released. The best-selling version was recorded by The Four Aces, whose recording reached number two in the UK Singles Chart,[1] and number one on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts in 1955.[2]


The music was commissioned by 20th Century Fox for the movie Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, and it was included in the film's score that was composed and conducted by Alfred Newman. The producer Buddy Adler asked composer Sammy Fain and lyricist Paul Francis Webster to write a title song for the film.[3] The film was based on the book A Many-Splendoured Thing, and the writers wrote the song based on that title, but it was then decided that the title of the film would be better if preceded by "Love Is", and Fain and Webster wrote a second song. This second song with a new set of lyrics then became the title song, while the first song was discarded.[3]

The song has been noted for its similarity to the aria "Un bel dì vedremo" from Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly in its downward moving thirds.[4]

The song was initially only used as background music in the film, later the words were subsequently sung to make it eligible for the Best Original Song category of the Academy Awards.[5] An orchestral version of "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" is played at the title sequence of the film, with a vocal version performed by a chorus at the end. Don Cornell and The Four Aces quickly recorded the song before the film was released.[6] Before the Four Aces had a hit with their version, many major artists, including Nat King Cole, Eddie Fisher and Doris Day, contacted to record the song disliked it and refused to record it, although they recorded the song after it became a hit.[7][3]

Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster won an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 28th Academy Awards, their second Oscar after winning the award for "Secret Love" in 1953.[8] The background score for the film that was built in parts around the melody of the song also won an Oscar for Best Original Score for Alfred Newman.[9]

This song is noted for its memorable lines: "In the morning mist, two lovers kissed, and the world stood still".

Four Aces version

"Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing"
Single by The Four Aces
from the album Hits From Hollywood
B-side"Shine On, Harvest Moon"
ReleasedJuly 22, 1955
GenreTraditional pop
Songwriter(s)Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster
The Four Aces singles chronology
"Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing"
"A Woman in Love"

The song was covered by The Four Aces featuring Al Roberts backed by the Jack Pleis Orchestra and issued by Decca Records as catalog number 29625. The film studio 20th Century Fox was said to have subsidized an album of The Four Aces so that they may release it as a single to help promote the film.[7] The song was released backed with "Shine On, Harvest Moon" in July 1955,[10] and first reached No. 1 on the Best Sellers chart in October 1955.[11] It also became the first number one on Billboard's first ever Top 100 chart released in November 1955.[12][13] It was ranked No. 8 on Billboard's 1955's Top Tune.[14]

The recording by The Four Aces is featured in the film Cookie (1989). It became a gold record.[citation needed]


Chart (1955) Peak
Australia (AMR)[15] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[16] 6
UK Singles (OCC)[17] 2
US The Top 100 (Billboard)[12] 1
US Cash Box[18] 1

Other versions

Don Cornell recorded a version around at the same time as the Four Aces. It was issued by Coral Records (catalog number 61467) backed with "The Bible Tells Me So". The song reached No. 26 on Billboard' Top 100 chart.[19] A number of orchestral versions were also released in the same year and reached the Top 100 chart; David Rose and His Orchestra reached No 54,[20] while Woody Herman and His Orchestra reached No. 79.[21]

Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1955[22] for use on his radio show and it was subsequently included in the box set The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) issued by Mosaic Records (catalog MD7-245) in 2009.[23] The song has also been recorded by Ringo Starr (on his album Sentimental Journey),[24] Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Shirley Bassey, Nat King Cole and Barry Manilow. Neil Sedaka recorded the song in Italian as "L'Amore E' Una Cosa Meravigliosa".

Connie Francis recorded the song in Italian in 1960 during the work for her album More Italian Favorites, although this version remains unreleased to this day. Francis also recorded the original English lyrics in 1961 for her album Connie Francis Sings 'Never on Sunday' and Other Title Songs from Motion Pictures. The instrumental playback of this 1961 recording was also used when Francis cut a German-language version, "Sag, weißt du denn, was Liebe ist", in 1966.[citation needed]

The song was also performed by Fairuz in Arabic ("Zar Bisukun Al Lail"). French-Malaysian singer Shake recorded a French version of the song in 1977 titled "Rien n'est plus beau que l'amour".[25] A disco version was recorded by Tina Charles in 1980. It was also covered by the Bina Vokalia Children's Choir under the direction of Pranadjaja on Dendang Buah Hati concert in 1996.[26] Jeff Lynne recorded his version for his nostalgic cover album Long Wave in 2012.

Barry Manilow recorded a version which reached No. 32 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 2006.[27]

This song has been a staple of Engelbert Humperdinck's live show since 1995.

In popular culture

The song is played in the opening scene of Grease.[3] Other films that used the song include Circle of Friends, Private Parts, St. Trinian's, St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold, and The Nutty Professor 2.[citation needed] The song, among others, was referenced in Moulin Rouge! when Christian says, "Love is like oxygen - love is a many splendored thing - love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is love!"[citation needed]

In an episode of the American sitcom Family Ties, an overjoyed Alex sings the song as he comes home after falling for a girl at his college. His father, Steve, joins in.[28]

It has been also heard in the series Bones, in the 14th episode of the third season sung by Dr. Zack Addy (Eric Millegan).[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 135. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  3. ^ a b c d Bronson, Fred (1997). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books. p. 3. ISBN 9780823076413.
  4. ^ Paymer, Marvin E. (1993). Facts Behind the Songs: A Handbook of American Popular Music from the Nineties to the '90s. Garland. p. 56. ISBN 9780786429462.
  5. ^ Epstein, Edward Z. (1995). Portrait of Jennifer Jones. Simon & Schuster. p. 322. ISBN 9780671740566.
  6. ^ "Cover Activities High on New Tune Crop". Billboard. July 16, 1955. p. 12.
  7. ^ a b Druxman, Michael B. Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Hollywood: More of My Wacky Adventures in Tinseltown.
  8. ^ Tyler, Don (2008). Music of the postwar era. Greenwood Press. p. 190. ISBN 9780313341915.
  9. ^ MacDonald, Laurence E. (2013). The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. Scarecrow Press. p. 161. ISBN 9780810883987.
  10. ^ "Review Spotlight on..." Billboard. July 16, 1955. p. 34.
  11. ^ "The Billboard's Music Popularity Charts: Best Sellers in Stores". Billboard. October 8, 1955. p. 32.
  12. ^ a b "The Top 100". Billboard. November 12, 1955.
  13. ^ "The Chart in Evolution: A Chronicle". Billboard. May 21, 1977. p. RS-110.
  14. ^ "1955's Top Tune". Billboard. December 31, 1955. p. 29.
  15. ^ "Top 100 Singles".
  16. ^ "The Four Aces – Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ "Four Aces: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "The Cash Box Best-Selling Singles: Week ending October 22, 1955".
  19. ^ "The Top 100". Billboard. November 17, 1955. p. 32.
  20. ^ "The Top 100". Billboard. November 19, 1955. p. 36.
  21. ^ "The Top 100". Billboard. November 12, 1955. p. 86.
  22. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  23. ^ "". Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  24. ^ Miles, Barry (1998). The Beatles a Diary: An Intimate Day by Day History. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780711963153.
  25. ^ Youtube - Shake - Rien n'est plus beau que l'amour(1977)
  26. ^ "Paket Spesial Menyambut Hari Ibu". Suara Pembaruan. December 15, 1996. Archived from the original on January 31, 1997.
  27. ^ "Barry Manilow > Adult Contemporary". Billboard.
  28. ^ "The Real Thing: Part 1". IMDB.
  29. ^ West, Abby (13 May 2008). "'Bones' recap: Swan Song?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 23 May 2017.