"I Only Have Eyes for You" is a popular song by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin, written in 1934 for the film Dames where it was introduced by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler.
According to Billboard magazine, the song was a #2 hit for Ben Selvin in 1934. The orchestras of Peter Duchin and Anson Weeks also figured in the song's 1934 popularity, and was used the following year in the film, The Woman in Red, produced by Warner Brothers, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gene Raymond. This song was recorded in 1950 by Peggy Lee, and most notably by The Flamingos in 1959, becoming one of their most popular hits. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the Flamingos' version #157 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This version peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is a jazz standard, and has been covered by thousands of musicians.
A remake of the song by Art Garfunkel was a number one song on the UK Singles Chart in October 1975 for two weeks. The song was his first hit as a solo artist in the UK. In the US, the song reached #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the adult contemporary chart. Garfunkel performed the song on the second episode of Saturday Night Live.
The Flamingos version
The version by the Flamingos features a prominent echo effect, creating a dreamy ambience. This version peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B charts.
In popular culture
The Flamingos' version was included on the soundtracks for the 1973 film American Graffiti and the 1983 films The Right Stuff and Heart Like a Wheel. A 1998 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer borrows its title from the song and also features parts of the song in several instances. It was used in a scene in the 1989 episode of The Wonder Years, 'How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation', and also as a recurring theme in a Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies cartoon of the same title, released three years after the original song, and directed by Tex Avery. Disney featured a music video of the song in the special DTV Doggone Valentine set to clips from Lady and the Tramp. This song also makes an appearance twice in the game The Darkness 2, when Jackie Estacado dances with his love Jenny. It also was a part of the soundtrack for the 2003 movie "Something's Gotta Give" starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.
The song formed the audio portion of Doug Aitken's installation Song \ 1 at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. from March 22 to May 20, 2012.
In addition to the above artists, these artists have also covered this song:
- Al Jolson, featured in the 1949 Columbia movie Jolson Sings Again.
- Frank Sinatra - It All Depends on You" / "I Only Have Eyes for You" (with The Ken Lane Singers) (1949)
- Lionel Hampton, at the 1953 Paris shows that were recorded for the Jazztime Paris album. It's included on the expanded CD rerelease.
- Frank Sinatra - Sinatra–Basie (1962)
- Doris Day: "I Only Have Eyes for You" appears on the album Golden Girl: Columbia Recordings 1944-1966.
- Cliff Richard, on his 1963 EP Love Songs. Also released as a single in Australia.
- Ella Fitzgerald recorded this with Nelson Riddle's orchestra on her 1966 Grammy Award-winning Verve release Ella Swings Brightly with Nelson.
- Hi-NRG producer/songwriter Bobby Orlando did a dance version with Bonnie Forman in 1984.
- Trumpeter Lester Bowie recorded the tune with his Brass Fantasy band as the title track on their 1986 debut album I Only Have Eyes for You (1986).
- The Temptations, produced by Bill Conti, and featured in the 1987 film Happy New Year.
- Marilyn Scott, whose version was released in the soundtrack album for the 1988 film Twins.
- Elaine Paige recorded a version for her 1991 album Love Can Do That.
- Toni Tennille: On her album Never Let Me Go (1991).
- Grenadine covered this song on their debut album Goya (1992), with Jenny Toomey singing lead.
- The Forester Sisters covered the song for their album I Got a Date.
- An a cappella version by The Complexions was mixed with The Flamingos version for the 1993 film A Bronx Tale.
- Gitane Demone: On albums Love for Sale (1993) and With Love and Dementia - Live in Cannes 1994
- Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge On their 1994 CD "Acappella (album)"
- Kenny Rogers: On album Vote for Love (1996).
- Corinne Bailey Rae: Grec 2010, Festival de Barcelona, Teatre Grec, Barcelona
- Though not a cover, The Fugees sampled vocals from The Flamingos' version for their song "Zealots" off of their landmark 1996 album The Score.
- Mercury Rev released a cover version in 1998 as an extra track on the "Goddess on a Hiway" CD single.
- Mark Eitzel of American Music Club released a version in 2002 on his solo CD of covers, Music for Courage and Confidence.
- Liane Carroll on the album Standard Issue 2004.
- Yonderboi released a track, named "Eyes for you", using just the line "I have only eyes for you", on his 2005 album Splendid Isolation.
- Lyn Paul recorded it on her 2006 album Late Night.
- Alex Willner, with his techno project The Field (musician), used samples of the song in the track "From Here We Go Sublime", from the acclaimed album of the same name, released in 2007.
- Kalil Wilson: On the album Easy to Love (2009).
- North Atlantic Oscillation: On the album Call Signs EP (2009).
- Bette Midler
- Nellie McKay in her cabaret show "I Want To Live!" (2011-2012)
- Martina Topley-Bird
- Jamie Cullum
- Rachael Price
- Carly Simon
- Rosemary Clooney, featured on commercial for Lipitor.
- Rod Stewart
- The Swallows, in 1952
- Carmen McRae on the album Diva
- The Southland, on their debut album Influence of Geography.
- Timothy B. Schmit as featured in the film Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead
- Billie Holiday
- Dinah Shore
- Rahsaan Patterson from the album "Bleuphoria"
- Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers
- Beck from the art installation "SONG 1"
- Oneohtrix Point Never
- Camila Meza
- Melanie C recorded the song for her 2012 album Stages
- The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition, 1996