On this day in music history: January 19, 1959…

On this day in music history: January 19, 1959 – “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” by The Platters hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, it is the third and final chart topping single for the pioneering R&B/Pop vocal group from Los Angeles, CA.The song is originally written in 1933 for the musical “Roberta”, and is also sung by actress Irene Dunne in the film adaptation of the musical in 1935. Led by singer Tony Williams’ achingly emotional tenor voice, The Platters record their version in Paris in October of 1958. At first, Kern’s widow seeks to file an injunction to block the record from being distributed, fearing that the group has turned her late husbands’ song into a “rock & roll record”. One of Kern’s colleagues, legendary songwriter Oscar Hammerstein II intervenes, not only convincing Mrs. Kern to drop her suit, but also publicly thanking The Platters and their producer Buck Ram for reviving the song and introducing it to a new generation of fans. An instant classic, The Platters version of the pop standard is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at # 86 November 17, 1958, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. The record is also a huge international hit, going straight to the top of the UK singles chart after its success in the US. “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” is The Platters last major hit, after a public scandal a few months after the songs’ run on the charts results in the four male members of the group being arrested in Cincinnati, OH on drug and prostitution charges. Though the charges are dropped, the incident does irreparable damage to their reputation, resulting in radio stations dropping their past records from playlists and refusing to play subsequent releases. “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.