Song 88 – When I Fall in Love

SONG: When I Fall In Love

ARTIST: Nat King Cole

YEAR: 1957

Listen to it here: 


When I Fall in Love was written in 1952 by Victor Young and Edward Heyman.  It was first recorded in 1952 by Jen Southern for the movie One Minute to Zero and became a popular jazz standard, especially after it was recorded and released by Doris Day later that same year.  Our version was recorded by Nat King Cole on December 28, 1956 and released on his album Love is the Thing.  It has since been covered by the likes of everyone from Donny Osmond to Linda Ronstadt.

Natalie Cole, Nat’s daughter recorded a ‘virtual duet’ version with her father for her 1996 album Stardust.  This recording included vocals from Nat’s 1956 version.  It won 2 Grammy awards

Everyone’s silky-voiced 2 hit wonder recorded a version in 1987, and came in second for the UK Christmas number one.


For more on Nat King Cole, head WAAAAAY back to song review number 28!


The song was recorded in 1993 by Celine Dion and Clive Griffin specifically for the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack.


Ok, so I really like the idea of “when I fall in love, it will be forever”.  It’s a very romantic song.  I’m sure it gets a lot of airplay around Valentine’s Day and anniversaries and weddings and such.  Nat sounds great as usual – voice as smooth and rich as butterscotch; beautiful, interesting melody, cool chord progression.  But the cheese.  The utter fromage of it all.  With this version I feel like you take a perfectly good songbook-esque song and just pour liquid sugar alllllll over it with that orchestra and orchestration and it becomes a lounge singer’s dream.  I think this song would fare much better with a combo, like with Nat’s old trio – piano, bass drums.  The orchestra just puts it over the top for me.  


You know, I know this song really well, but I’m not sure I’ve ever sat down and listened to this version. I think the first time I was really exposed to this song was in high school when both Kelly and I were really into this Swedish a capella group called The Real Group. Their harmonies on this song were gorgeous. Nat King Cole doesn’t have an a capella group backing him, but he does have a very lush and possibly over-orchestrated string orchestra backing him up. The orchestra is super dated and makes it sound like film music, but Nat King Cole does his super identifiable Nat King Cole thing, with his very distinct pronunciations, and the super fluid way of singing rhythms. I love how much liberty he can take without ever sounding contrived or mushy. I’d love to hear him sing this with some tasteful brush work on a drum kit, piano, and bass. I think that would be perfect.

Average mark out of 10:

Holly: 8/10

Kelly: 6/10

Other notable versions of this song:

Celine and Clive for Sleepless in Seattle:

Yup.  Rick Astley.

Listen with us!

Link to 1,001 Songs to Hear Before You Die spotify playlist:

Published by Kelly

What I like: Music, travel, coffee, beer, makeup and photography! My gear: Canon EOS 60D and 18-200mm lens. Where call home: Vancouver, BC, Canada Photography Experience: Very amateurish.

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