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"As Time Goes By"
Song by Frances Williams
Songwriter(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] The song has since become the representative song of Warner Bros. and was also the title and theme song of the 1990s British 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[]

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:

  • Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra (recorded ca. 1943). It appears on the collection "The Best of Louis Armstrong" (Vol. 2, Track 5).
  • Frank Sinatra on his album Point of No Return (1962).
  • Jimmy Durante on his album Jimmy Durante's Way of Life... (1965). This rendition was later included on the soundtrack of Sleepless in Seattle.
  • Harry Nilsson on his album A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973).
  • Gloria Gaynor in a medley with "The Hands Of Time" (1977).
  • The Love Unlimited Orchestra on their Super Movie Themes: Just a Little Bit Different (1979).[10]
  • The Real Group on their album Debut (1987).
  • Mina on her album Uiallalla (1989).
  • Engelbert Humperdinck on his album As Time Goes By (1997).
  • Neil Diamond on his album The Movie Album: As Time Goes By (1998).
  • Bryan Ferry on his album As Time Goes By (1999)
  • ZZ Top in Mescalero (2003)
  • Seth MacFarlane on the Family Guy episode, "Play It Again, Brian"
  • Minami Takayama in Love Live! The School Idol Movie (2015)


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 October 6, 2010.
  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. Template:Pop Chronicles 40s
  6. "NPR's 100". Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2009. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  7. Randy Wayne (November 20, 2015). "As Time Goes By and Albert Einstein. Do the Fundamental Things Still Apply?". The Lansing Star. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  8. Peter Galison (February 12, 2015). "EMC2x: The Einstein Revolution". HarvardX - Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  9. Peter Galison (January 22, 2015). "HAREMC2XT115-V000200_100". HarvardX - YouTube. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  11. "Derek Taylor Portfolio". The Internet Beatles Album. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  12. "As Time Goes By Crew List". Retrieved February 12, 2008.[dead link]