February 29, 2016

The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You (1959)

This doo-wop group was originally formed in 1950 by cousins Jacob “Jake” Carey and Ezekiel “Zeke” Carey. The two had moved from Baltimore, Maryland to the south side of Chicago, Illinois and joined their church’s choir, where they met other original members. As with most doo-wop groups of the time, members of the group left, other members joined, and the lineup switched around quite a few times. The group started out under the name “The Swallowsand,” until they discovered a group in Baltimore using the name “The Swallows” had started to take off. This led them to start calling themselves “The El Flamingos,” followed by “The 5 Flamingos,” and then finally, just “The Flamingos.”

Originally performed in the 1934 movie Dames by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, this song was written by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin. It had been featured in numerous films by different performers; and, at its peak, hit number two for Ben Selvin in 1934.

But it was The Flamingos who really put the song into popular culture when they recorded and released their version in 1959. Though The Flamingos’ version only reached number eleven on the national charts, it reached number one in countless local markets, and became a hit in multiple countries surrounding the globe. Since its debut, the version heard below has been used in dozens of movies, television shows, and has been sampled by numerous artists.

album art

The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You (1959)

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My love must be a kind of blind love
I can't see anyone but you

Are the stars out tonight?
I don't know if it’s cloudy or bright

I only have eyes for you, dear

The moon may be high
But I can't see a thing in the sky

I only have eyes for you

I don't know if we're in a garden
Or on a crowded avenue

You are here
And so am I
Maybe millions of people go by
But they all disappear from view
And I only have eyes for you

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