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Les Brown and His Band of Renown had been performing the song, but were unable to record it because of the 1942–44 musicians' strike. When the strike ended, the band, with Doris Day as vocalist, had a hit record with the song, Day's first #1 hit, in 1945. The song's release coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and became the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans. The recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 36769, with the flip side "Twilight Time". The record first reached the Billboard charts on March 29, 1945 and lasted 23 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1. The song actually reached the charts after the later-recorded "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time".
About this same time, the Merry Macs had a recording following Brown and Day which featured a bouncy arrangement where the group modulates (or augments) the verse eight times in the last half of the song. A vocal feat for any group attempting to record a song in one take without the benefit of tape editing in that era of modern recording.
The song later became something of a standard with jazz artists and was recorded, among others, by Buck Clayton with Woody Herman and by Ben Sidran. Rosemary Clooney issued an album Sentimental Journey (2001) which included the song.
The song describes someone about to take a train to a place they have a great emotional attachment for. It describes their mounting anticipation and they wonder why they ever roamed away.
Its memorable opening verse is:
The song features prominently in the 1978 M*A*S*H episode "Your Hit Parade", as Col. Potter – citing a long-standing infatuation with Doris Day – requests the song be played over the camp P.A. system several times during the day.
The song is heard playing on a jukebox in the 1980 animated film Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!).
It is sung by Jean Claude Fornier's character played by Paul Verdier in The Man From Marseilles (Magnum, P.I.) at a karaoke bar.
It also appeared in advertisements for Ford Australia during the early 1990s.
"My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time" by Les Brown
|U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores number-one single|
May 26, 1945–July 21, 1945
"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" by Johnny Mercer