Sunday Song Lyric:
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the American Film Institute has revised its list of the 100 greatest American films (reg. req'd). It has also compiled a series of other lists, including the 100 greatest movie songs. "Over the Rainbow" from the Wizard of Oz tops the list, and it is hard to quarrel with that selection. Still, I prefer the tune that came in second, "As Time Goes By," from Casablanca. Interestingly enough, the song was not written for the movie, and the version featured in the movie was never released as a single. Still, it is hard for me to associate the song with anything else. It simply belongs at Rick's.

I suspect many readers are already familiar with the lyrics. Nonetheless, here are the opening verses:

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by

And when two lovers woo
They still say, "I love you"
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by.
A Casablanca-based video of the song is on YouTube here.
Cornellian (mail):
e version featured in the song was never released as a single.

I think you mean the version released in the movie was never released as a single.
9.23.2007 12:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
Don't know how the AFI selected those songs, but each market niche has a different view of favorite songs and movies and so on. For instance, for gay men, Over the Rainbow will always be tops. I suspect with hetero men, though, it's a little too sentimental for them.

It still makes me cry a little everything I hear it, though.....
9.23.2007 1:04pm
Joshua Holmes (mail) (www):
There's actually a substantial lead-in, though I don't think it's sung in Casablanca:

This day and age we're living in
Gives cause for apprehension
With speed and new invention
And things like third dimension

Yet we get a trifle weary
With Mr. Einstein's theory
So we must get down to Earth at times
Relax, relieve the tension

And no matter what the progress
Or what may yet be proved
The simple facts of life are such
They cannot be removed

You must remember...etc.
9.23.2007 1:11pm
DiverDan (mail):
I have to say I never really understood who compiled the AFI lists -- too many selections &placements that I just could not understand Like putting The Graduate in the top 10 of the 100 greatest Comedies -- What the hell!! Yes, I loved the Graduate, thought it was a great film, but top 10 in Comedies??? -- frankly, it couldn't beat out ANY of the Marx Brothers films, or any of the Mel Brooks Films (well, except for Spaceballs &maybe High Anxiety)in my list of Comedies). I do understand putting "Over the Rainbow" first, but, in my own personal opinion (yes, I understand that it's just a matter of taste), "Rainbow" would be no higher than 6th or 7th, &might not crack the top 10 if I gave it a lot of thought. As for selecting a No. 1, "As Time Goes By" would definitely be in the running, as would the Theme from Moulin Rouge (from the Jose Ferrer version, not the Nicole Kidman version), Theme from A Summer Place, Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago, and Everybody's Talkin At Me, from Midnight Cowboy, and possibly several others -- Which one I select as No. 1 would depend entirely upon my mood at the time. So trying to rank songs, or films, from 1 to 100 seems like a useless exercise.
9.23.2007 1:18pm
DiverDan (mail):
Just went and looked at AFI's lists, both of the top 100 Songs and the 400 Nominated Songs; these lists just confirm to me that the people dong the nominating and those doing the voting have NOTHING in common with me. Come on now, "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" gets nominated, while none of the Theme from Moulin Roge, Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago, or Theme from A Summer Place even make the nominations???? Were they left off because they are only instrumentals? Aome of the Placements on the Top 100 List have me just scratching my head in amazement -- Was a complete lack of musical taste a prerequisite for joining the voting panel?
9.23.2007 1:50pm
Curt Fischer:
"As Time Goes By" was on NPR's list of the top 100 American songs of the 20th century, and so they did a longish background piece on the song back in 2000. It's worth listening to.
9.23.2007 2:08pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
I would be tempted to agree that As Time Goes By Belongs at Ricks, except there is a great Bugs Bunny cartoon from the 40s that opens with Bugs scrubbing himself in a bathtub, singing:

Moonlight and lovesongs never out of date
Hearts full of passion jealousy and hate
Woman meets man, and man must have his mate...

At which point Bugs turns to look at the "camera" and say's

"Ain't it the truth?"
9.23.2007 2:36pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Cornellian --

Thanks for the catch. Post now corrected.

9.23.2007 4:40pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
I have to quarrel with "Aquarius" being on there because nearly everybody would associate that with the stage production or the Fifth Dimension, not the movie.

"The Way You Look Tonight" belongs much higher.

Not a single song from "The Music Man?"
9.23.2007 5:17pm
Bruce F. Webster (mail) (www):
Note, by the way, that you can buy the Casablanca soundtrack, which -- besides having all the music, including some alternate recordings -- has most of the key dialog sequences as well. It's kind of like listening to the movie in a compressed time period. One of my favorite albums (and, IMHO, the best movie ever made). ..bruce..
9.23.2007 5:39pm
For many others, "As Time Goes By" is associated just as much with the Judy Dench / Geoffrey Palmer series "As Time Goes By." It was on for 13 years and was quite popular.
9.23.2007 7:08pm
Also, how can you NOT have "Lydia" on that list? I first heard that when I was very young and heard it many times over the years. It wasn't until I was singing it and my girlfriend at the time pointed it out that I realized that it's kind of a dirty song! Funny how if we hear something a lot we no longer think about it's meaning.
9.23.2007 7:13pm
Joe Jackson:
I like the one you did a couple of months ago with Metallica.
9.23.2007 7:27pm
Karl (mail):
Diver Dan:

"Yes, I loved the Graduate, thought it was a great film, but top 10 in Comedies???"

I didn't love it, but liked it enough. The film always shows up in top tens or twenties. A mystery to me. I expect a good amount of the voters are/were awkward boomer males who identified with it.
9.23.2007 7:57pm
Randy R. (mail):
Movie themes are not the same thing as a song. So Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago would be ineligible.
9.23.2007 8:11pm
markm (mail):
Lara's Theme/Somewhere My Love does have lyrics, although they weren't used in the movie.
9.23.2007 9:09pm
I'm not a big fan of "As Time Goes By." I'd guess if it weren't associated with Casablanca, it would be forgotten today.

Here's a trivia question: What artist had a #1 hit with "As Time Goes By"?
9.23.2007 9:10pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Rudy Vallee, in 1943,on a re-release of his 1931 recording. Dooley Wilson planned to record the song but there was a strike in the recording industry which stopped him, and the record companies released the old Vallee recording to ride the popularity of Casablanca.
9.23.2007 10:12pm
byomtov (mail):
Actually, lots of these songs were not written for the movie listed. A fair number were from the musicals the movie was based on. I guess that's OK, but they really are not movie songs.

But since they do count, shouldn't "Summertime" be considerably higher than #52, ahead of, say, "Jailhouse Rock" and "Stayin Alive?"

I have other complaints as well.
9.23.2007 11:22pm
"As Time Goes By" exactly fit the film. The genius was seeing that a forgotten song from the 1920s matched the movie to be made.

The club set looked like an actual club. They had piano players in those days. It was perfectly natural that Bogart and the others spoke with Wilson as they did.

The lyrics paralleled the story. The words overtly say that desires, wants, and love trump everything. But they mock - those are not the fundamentals, they don't even count much.

Rick's famous "hill of beans" is just a recap of the song.
9.23.2007 11:59pm
triticale (mail) (www):
The club set looked like an actual club. They had piano players in those days. It was perfectly natural that Bogart and the others spoke with Wilson as they did.

Some places still have piano players. One Easter brunch, in a place my mother-in-law chose for ambiance, I sidled up to the white haired guy in a tuxedo, and said "I thought I told you never to play that song." He grinned.
9.24.2007 12:55am
Tracy Johnson (www):
Nowadays I'm reminded of the BBC sitcom "As Time Goes By" currently running in syndication on some PBS channels.
9.24.2007 11:53am
triticale: Yes. Piano players are still used in some places, usually upscale and catering to older people.

Whatever night clubs are being called these days, the music is likely to be either recorded or by a small group leading with guitar.

I think the song captured the imagination because it was the perfect song for the film, the presentation was low key, and the film was relatively modest (no idiotic 100 dancer revues performed at Ricks).

My favorite film song is from Oklahoma. The girl hasn't been asked to the dance by the boy she likes. He has asked someone else. "Many A New Day" is her reaction.
9.24.2007 1:58pm