Mar 04

THE PLATTERS – Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Popular10 comments • 2,174 views

#82, 20th March 1959

The combination here of opulent arrangement and howling vocal is effectively uncomfortable ‘ like a magnificent old gin palace full of ragged, embittered drunks. The lead singer sticks to a polite, precise croon and then suddenly lunges at you, deliberately and aggressively – it’s nasty. We’ve all tried to play good listener to someone who’s grieving and had them suddenly crack and turn on us. The only thing you can do is squirm and take it, and that’s what ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ makes you do too: I find it quite a cold, gruelling song to listen to. A marvellous and original reading, to be sure, digging something out of the song that a host of band singers hadn’t spotted. But they were team players, and loneliness this stark needs something more selfish.



  1. 1
    rosie on 25 Jul 2008 #

    On a personal, historical note, the very last vinyl album I ever bought was a Platters best-of.

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 13 Jul 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Not much in the way of appearances by The Platters on UK TV (only the 1983 programme survives);

    CARROTT’S LIB: with The Platters (1983)

    SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM (VAL PARNELL’S …..): with Bruce Forsyth, The Platters, Les de Lyon (1957)

  3. 3
    Victoria on 13 Feb 2010 #

    Absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking. And I do find the “lunging vocal” effective despite some odd phrasing. This song always makes me think of Catcher in the Rye so it feels appropriate to get to this point in my chronological listen-a-thon so soon after Salinger’s death.

  4. 4
    crag on 13 Apr 2011 #


    Dennis Taylor, Snooker Player, (1986).

  5. 5
    Tom on 13 Apr 2011 #

    Something poignant about that choice.

    (great work crag btw)

  6. 6
    enitharmon on 6 Jun 2012 #

    And so we say farewell to Herb Reed, vocalist on this fine piece.

    Thanks to erithian for letting me know. I’ll leave it to him to repeat the joke.

  7. 7
    hectorthebat on 17 Feb 2014 #

    Critic watch: This song featured on the following “best-of” lists:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh (USA) – The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (1989) 217
    RIAA and NEA (USA) – 365 Songs of the Century (2001) 190
    BBC (UK) – Pop on Trial, Top 50 Songs from the 1950s (2008)

  8. 8
    chrisew71 on 28 Mar 2018 #

    I think it’s a gorgeous song. Perhaps a little clipped and formal in some of the phrasing, but the slow build is great.

  9. 9
    Gareth Parker on 29 Apr 2021 #

    A gorgeous song. I think I would go a point higher than Tom.

  10. 10
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    I’ve changed my mind here. I think this is utterly wonderful. 10/10.

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