Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Terry’s Theme (Eternally)

Written by Charles Chaplin and first performed in Limelight (1952).
Hit versions by Frank Chacksfield (as “Terry’s Theme” US #5/UK #2 1953), Rod Goodwin (as “Terry’s Theme” UK #12 1953), Vic Damone (as “Eternally” US #12 1953), Jimmy Young (as “Eternally” UK #8 1953).

From the wiki: “‘Terry’s Theme’ was composed by Charles Chaplin (née Charlie Chaplin), with lyrics by the English lyricists Geoff Parsons and John Turner. The music was first used for Chaplin’s film Limelight (1952) titled ‘Terry’s Theme’. The music for the film was belatedly awarded an Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score at the 45th Academy Awards in 1973.

“Chaplin spent more than two years writing Limelight. His method was remarkable, and unique in his work. As a preliminary, he wrote the story in the form of a full-length novel – some 100,000 words long and entitled ‘Footlights’. The novel – never published in Chaplin’s lifetime or apparently even intended for publication – relates the story as it appears in the finished film.

“The movie is set in London in 1914, on the eve of World War I (and the year Chaplin made his first film). Calvero (Charles Chaplin), once a famous stage clown but now a washed-up drunk, saves a young dancer, Thereza ‘Terry’ Ambrose (Claire Bloom), from suicide. Nursing her back to health, Calvero helps Terry regain her self-esteem and resume her dancing career. In doing so he regains his own self-confidence, but his attempts to make a comeback meet with failure. Later reunited with an old partner (Buster Keaton), Calvero gives a triumphant comeback performance. He suffers a heart attack during a routine, however, and dies in the wings while watching Terry, the second act on the bill, dance on stage.

“Chaplin said that he based the character on real-life stage personalities whom he had seen lose their gifts and their public – the American black-face comedian Frank Tinney (1878-1940) and the Spanish clown Marceline (1873-1927) with whom he had himself worked as a boy. Clearly he was also thinking of his own present bitter experience of a faithless public.

“Chaplin had always composed his own music scores, with the assistance of arrangers. Exceptionally, the music for the ballet – 25 minutes, though it was reduced in the final film – had to be composed in advance. Chaplin was relieved when Melissa Hayden and her partner and fellow star André Eglevsky assured him that the music was suitable for choreography. The ‘Terry’s Theme’ would go on to become one of Chaplin’s best-loved compositions; and in 1972, twenty years after the film’s first release, he and his musical collaborators Ray Rasch and Larry Russell were awarded a belated Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score. It was the only competitive Academy Award that Chaplin ever received (he had previously received two Honorary Oscars).

“‘Terry’s Theme’ became a popular and often-covered song as ‘Eternally’, recorded by Jimmy Young (UK #8, 1953), Vic Damone (U.S. Pop #12, 1953), Li Xianglan (in Chinese and Japanese), Petula Clark (These Are My Songs, 1967), Bing Crosby (for his radio show), Dinah Shore, Steve Lawrence, Michel Legrand, Jerry Vale, Sarah Vaughan, Roger Whittaker, Engelbert Humperdinck (1973 and 2007), Victor Wood (1971), Amália Rodrigues, John Serry Sr. (Squeeze Play, 1956), Majida El Roumi (Ghazal, 2012), among many others.”

Frank Chacksfield, “Terry’s Theme (from Limelight)” (1953):

Rod Woodwin, “Terry’s Theme (from Limelight)” (1953):

Vic Damone, “Eternally” (1953):

Jimmy Young, “Eternally” (1953):

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