Secret Love (Doris Day song)

"Secret Love"
Single by Doris Day
B-side "The Deadwood Stage
Released October 9, 1953[1]
Format 7" (45 rpm), 10" (78 rpm)
Recorded August 5, 1953
Genre Traditional pop
Length 3:41
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster
Doris Day singles chronology
"Choo-Choo Train"
"Secret Love"
"I Speak to the Stars"
"Secret Love"
Single by Slim Whitman
from the album Favorites
B-side "Why"
Released December 1953
Format 7" single
Recorded 4 December 1953
Genre C&W
Length 2:25
Label Imperial
Writer(s) Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster
Slim Whitman singles chronology
"Lord Help Me Be as Thou"
"Secret Love"
"Rose Marie"
"Secret Love"
Single by Kathy Kirby
B-side "You Have to Want to Touch Him"
Released October 1963
Format 7" single
Genre Beat
Length 2:25
Label Decca
Writer(s) Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster
Producer(s) Peter Sullivan
Kathy Kirby singles chronology
"Dance On"
"Secret Love"
"Let Me Go, Lover"
"Secret Love"
Single by Billy Stewart
from the album Billy Stewart Teaches Old Standards New Tricks
B-side "Look Back & Smile"
Released September 1966
Format 7" single
Genre R&B
Length 2:55
Label Chess
Writer(s) Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster
Producer(s) Billy Davis, Leonard Caston
Billy Stewart singles chronology
"Secret Love"
"Every Day I Have the Blues"
"Secret Love"
Single by Freddy Fender
from the album Are You Ready For Freddy?
B-side "Loving Cajun Style"
Released October 1975
Format 7" single
Genre Tejano music
Length 3:35
Label Dot
Writer(s) Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster
Producer(s) Huey P. Meaux
Freddy Fender singles chronology
"Since I Met You Baby"
"Secret Love"
"The Wild Side of Life"

"Secret Love" is a song composed by Sammy Fain (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics) [2] for Calamity Jane, a 1953 musical film in which it was introduced by Doris Day in the title role.[2] Ranked as a #1 hit for Day on both the Billboard and Cash Box, the song also afforded Day a #1 hit in the United States. "Secret Love" has subsequently been recorded by a wide range of artists, becoming a C&W hit firstly for Slim Whitman and later for Freddy Fender, with the song also becoming an R&B hit for Billy Stewart, whose version also reached the Top 40 as did Freddy Fender's.[3] In the U.K., "Secret Love" would become the career record of Kathy Kirby via her 1963 remake of the song.[2] The melody is based on the opening theme of Schubert's A-major piano sonata, D.664.

Doris Day version

Doris Day first heard "Secret Love" when its co-writer Sammy Fain visited the singer's home and played it for her, Day being so moved by the song that she'd recall her reaction as being: "I just about fell apart".[4] Day recorded the song 5 August 1953 in a session at the Warner Bros. Recording Studio (Burbank), overseen by Warner Bros. musical director Ray Heindorf. The day of the recording session for "Secret Love" Day had done vocal exercises at her home, then about noon — the session being scheduled for 1 p.m. — had set out on her bicycle to the studio. Heindorf had rehearsed the studio orchestra prior to Day's reaching the studio; upon her arrival, Heindorf suggested Day do a practice run-through with the orchestra prior to recording any takes, but acquiesced to Day's request that her first performance with the orchestra be recorded. Day recalls, "When I got there I sang the song with the orchestra for the first time ... That was the first and only take we did" — "When I finished Ray called me into the sound booth grinning from ear to ear and said, 'That's it. You're never going to do it better.'"[4]

The single of "Secret Love" was released 9 October 1953 - three weeks prior to the premiere of the Calamity Jane film - by Columbia Records as catalog number 40108.:[5] the single entered the Top 20 bestselling singles survey - at #17 - in the Billboard magazine dated 9 January 1954 with the single reaching #1 on the Top 20 survey for the week ending 17 February 1954, the week in which the song's Academy Award nomination for Best Song had been announced, the nominations for the 26th Academy Awards for the film year 1953 having been announced 15 February 1954. Day's "Secret Love", having spent three weeks ranked as the #1 bestselling single by Billboard, was still ranked as the #4 bestseller the week of the 26th Academy Awards broadcast which occurred 25 March 1954: however Day herself declined to perform the nominated - and ultimately victorious - "Secret Love" at the Academy Awards ceremony, later stating: "When they asked me to sing 'Secret Love' on Academy Awards night I told them I couldn't - not in front of those people".[4] (Ann Blyth performed "Secret Love" at the Academy Awards ceremony.) Day's refusal to perform "Secret Love" on the Academy Awards broadcast resulted in the Hollywood Women's Press Club "honoring" the singer with the Sour Apple Award as the most uncooperative celebrity of 1953: this put-down occasioned a bout of depression which kept Day virtually housebound for several weeks, and which Day eventually had to qualify her Christian Science outlook to deal with, consulting with a medical practitioner.[4]

Preceded by
"Stranger in Paradise"
Cash Box magazine best selling record chart number-one record
March 6, 1954 – April 3, 1954
Succeeded by
Preceded by
"I See the Moon" by The Stargazers "Such a Night" by Johnnie Ray
UK Singles Chart number-one single
April 16, 1954 (1 week) - May 7, 1954 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I See the Moon" by The Stargazers "Cara Mia" by David Whitfield

1953/54 cover versions

At the time of the release of the Doris Day version of "Secret Love" two vocal cover versions were issued, one of which - by Gogi Grant with the Harry Geller orchestra - is said to have been recorded at RCA Victor's LA recording studio in July 1953 which would make its recording earlier than Day's: the other vocal cover was recorded for MGM by Tommy Edwards with the LeRoy Holmes orchestra. Bing Crosby also had a single release of "Secret Love", recorded for Decca in Los Angeles in a 31 December 1953 session with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra.

On 4 December 1953 Slim Whitman made a recording of "Secret Love" in Baltimore MD: Whitman's version reached #2 on the C&W chart in Billboard magazine in the spring of 1954 concurrent with the Doris Day version being #1 on the magazine's Pop chart.

Both the Moonglows and the Orioles covered "Secret Love" for the r&b market, the Moonglows' track being recorded in Chicago 10 January 1954 while the Orioles' track was recorded in New York City 29 January 1954.

Kathy Kirby version

In 1963 Kathy Kirby remade "Secret Love"; released in October 1963 as a single, the track - with musical direction by Charles Blackwell, Jimmy Page on guitar, and production by Kirby's regular collaborator Peter Sullivan - afforded Kirby her UK career record with a #4 UK chart peak that December. "Secret Love" was also a hit in Australia reaching number 2.[2] Kirby would recall: "[when] 'Secret Love'...was suggested by my recording manager Peter Sullivan[,] I said 'But that's already been done beautifully by Doris Day!' Peter came up with a completely different version, up-tempo and starting with the middle eight. We took a chance on it and decided that if it didn't chart it would at least be a prestige number, so we were thrilled when it sold over half a million copies in three weeks".[6] The record reached #4 in the 'NME charts' and #3 in the 'Melody Maker charts' - only kept from the top slot by the Beatles. "Secret Love" provided the title for a jukebox musical depicting Kirby's life story, which following its debut run at the Leeds City Varieties commencing 9 May 2008 played venues throughout England into 2009.

Chart Peak
Chart Peak
UK Singles Chart[7] 4 New Zealand Singles Chart[8] 4
Danish Singles Chart[9] 4 Australian Singles Chart[10] 3
Hong Kong Singles Chart[9] 3 Irish Singles Chart[11] 7

Freddy Fender version

Freddy Fender remade "Secret Love" for his 1975 album release Are You Ready For Freddy? recorded in the summer of 1975 at the SugarHill Recording Studios (Houston): issued as a single in October 1975 "Secret Love" afforded Fender the third of his four #1 hits on the Billboard C&W, also crossing-over to the Top 40 of Billboard Hot 100 (Fender would score one subsequent Top 40 hit, his fourth C&W #1 hit "You'll Lose a Good Thing" crossing-over to the #32 on the Hot 100.) Fender remade "Secret Love" for his 2002 album ''La Musica de Baldemar Huerta.

Preceded by
"It's All in the Movies" by Merle Haggard
Billboard Hot Country Songs number-one single
6 December 1975 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Love Put a Song in My Heart" by Johnny Rodriguez
Preceded by
"Third Rate Romance" by Amazing Rhythm Aces
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
December 20 – 27, 1975
Succeeded by
"Easy as Pie" by Billy "Crash" Craddock

Other versions

In the spring of 1959 Jimmy Ricks had a single release of "Secret Love" which while not charting in Billboard was ranked on the Cashbox Top Singles chart with a #82 peak.

In 1966 Billy Stewart had a 1966 single release of "Secret Love" as followup to his Top Ten hit "Summertime": as with "Summertime", Stewart's take on "Secret Love" was a revved-up R&B reinvention of a balladic standard. "Secret Love" afforded Stewart his fourth and final Top 40 hit with a #29 peak on the Hot 100 in Billboard in the autumn of 1966 also reaching #11 on the magazine's R&B chart.

In June 1995 a duet version of "Secret Love" by Daniel O'Donnell and Mary Duff reached #20 and #28 in respectively Ireland and the UK: the track - which was headliner on an EP comprising eight tracks recorded at Beechpark Studio (Dublin) - made its album debut on Duff's 17 June 1995 album release Just Lovin' You and was subsequently included on the 1996 album release Timeless which comprised duets by O'Donnell and Duff.

In the summer of 1976 Ann Christy reached #3 on the Flemish chart for Belgium with a disco-formatted Dutch rendering of "Secret Love" entitled "Zoveel moier" which was included on Christy's album Ik mis hem zo - Zoveel mooier - ...: Christy also had a single release of the track singing "Secret Love" in its original English. Disco versions of "Secret Love" were also recorded by Liquid Gold (album Liquid Gold/ 1979) and Viola Wills (album If You Could Read My Mind/ 1980), while a dance-pop version of "Secret Love" by José Hoebee would become a #11 hit in the Netherlands in the autumn of 1982.

Frankie Valli recorded "Secret Love" for his 1967 album Frankie Valli Solo.

Billy Eckstine recorded "Secret Love" for his 1960 album Once More with Feeling.

Andy Williams recorded "Secret Love" forn his 1962 album Danny Boy and Other Songs I Love to Sing.

Connie Francis recorded "Secret Love" in a 27 April 1962 session at RCA Italiana Studios (Rome)for her album Connie Francis sings Award Winning Motion Picture Hits. The original version from April 1962, with an arrangement by Geoff Love, was only available in Australia (MGM Records S027592) and New Zealand (MGM Records MCS 5017). All other world-wide releases of that album included a version with a new orchestration recorded in April 1963, with an arrangement by Don Costa.

The Chiffons' version of "Secret Love, recorded for Bright Tunes Productions in 1965, was released in 1969 on B.T. Puppy Records with an international release on various labels in 1970.

Kim Weston and Marvin Gaye recorded "Secret Love" for their 1966 Take Two album release.

Between 1972 and 1974, "Secret Love" was covered by Singapore-based female singer Ervinna, backing music by the Charlie & His Boys, on her LP album Golden Hits Of 20th Century Vol. 4 with White Cloud Record of Singapore.

The French rendering "Amoureux" was recorded by Dave for his 1975 self-titled album.

Mandy Moore remade "Secret Love" for the Mona Lisa Smile soundtrack. Doris Day's version was used in the actual movie.

Spike Jones did a version "Secret Love" in the style of a Cuban mambo band of the 1950s.

Ashley Alexander recorded an arrangement of this in 1981, arranged by Frank Mantooth, featuring Alexander on the double trombone.

Anne Murray recorded a cover of the song for her album Croonin' (1993).

Hannah Waddingham performed a version in the 2011 remake of Agatha Christie's Marple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side on Britain's ITV1

John Serry, Sr. arranged and recorded this composition with his ensemble on Dot Records (DLP-3024) for his album Squeeze Play in 1956.

Cerys Matthews recorded a cover version for the Children's Hospice charity album, Over the Rainbow.

Allan Sherman has a light-hearted parody called "Secret Code" on his 1965 LP My Name is Allan.

Engelbert Humperdinck made a cover of the song in 1995 (Engelbert Live, DVD 2003).

k.d. lang made a cover of the song, to be played during the closing credits of the documentary The Celluloid Closet (1995). The song is also shown in a clip from the original Calamity Jane movie, starring Doris Day.

Lord Tanamo did a live version of "Secret Love" until it was recorded with Tommy McCook in 1997.

Sinéad O'Connor made a cover version for her 1992 album Am I Not Your Girl?.

George Michael made a cover version for his 1999 album Songs from the Last Century.

Classical crossover artist Katherine Jenkins recorded a version for her 2007 Rejoice album: the track also featured harmonica vituoso Toots Thielemans.

R&B/jazz singer Miki Howard made a cover version for her 2008 album Private Collection.

In 2010, Australian singer Melinda Schneider recorded the song for her Doris Day tribute album Melinda Does Doris.

Connie Fisher's February 2009 album release was entitled Secret Love, the title cut being Fisher's rendition of the Fain/Webster song.

Cybill Shepherd covered the song in 1999 on the album Songs from the Cybill Show, which accompanied her sitcom Cybill.[12]

Anacani recorded a live version of the song for the Lawrence Welk show in the 1970s. The Bar G Wranglers feat. Cassy Weil performs arguably one of the greatest renditions of "Secret Love" during the "Wranglers" live performances throughout their summer season in Bryce Canyon City as well as a studio version recorded in 2015 which became their most requested cover by both European and American audiences. The Selecter recorded a ska version of "Secret Love" on its 2013 album String Theory.

Ry Cooder and Manuel Galbán included an instrumental version on their 2003 Mambo Sinuendo album.

Maria Morlino covered the song on her 2012 album Secret Love/Amor Secreto.[13]

Brad Mehldau plays a cover on his 2011 solo live cd Live in Marciac recorded live in 2006.

"Secret Love" has been performed in various stage productions of the stage musical version of Calamity Jane - see Calamity Jane (musical) - in the US by Edie Adams, Martha Raye, Carol Burnett - who also sang the song in a 12 November 1963 televised broadcast of the Calamity Jane stage musical - , Ginger Rogers, and Louise Mandrell; in the UK by Barbara Windsor, Louise Gold, Gemma Craven, Toyah Willcox, and Jodie Prenger; and in Australia by Rowena Wallace. Craven, who played the title role in an extensive touring production of Calamity Jane in 1995 - 96, may be heard singing "Secret Love" on a 1995 "cast album" of Calamity Jane (Craven is in fact the sole vocalist on the album). Willcox, who in the summer of 2003 played the title role of Calamity Jane in the stage musical's sole West End production to-date, has said of "Secret Love": "It's a great song to sing; it's very powerful, and emotionally - and musically - it's the pinnacle of the whole show."[14] Prenger, who played the title role in a 2014 - 15 touring production of Calamity Jane which is the most successful version of the stage musical to-date, has said of "Secret Love": "I only get one take every night" - referring Doris Day's one-take recording of the original - "'Secret Love' has been a song I’ve sung for years. I've always loved it and it's wonderful to be get to sing that song in such a beautiful production. It’s one of those songs that really moves you. It moves me on stage and I do choke sometimes."

In 2016, Loretta Lynn included a cover of "Secret Love" on her album Full Circle. Lynn had also recorded the song on her 1967 album, Singin' With Feeling.


  1. Liner notes, Golden Girl: The Columbia Recordings 1944-66 compilation
  2. 1 2 3 4 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 135. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. keeping the tradition of TV and Silver Screen hits the Bar G Wranglers in Bryce Canyon continue to keep this great song alive as well. Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  4. 1 2 3 4 McGee, Garry. Doris Day: Sentimental Journey. Jefferson NC: McFarland & Co. pp. 23–25. ISBN 978-0-7864-6107-3.
  5. Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  6. "Biography". Kathy Kirby. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  7. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (December 28, 1963). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 16. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  8. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (March 21, 1964). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 32. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  9. 1 2 Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (March 14, 1964). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 31. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  10. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (January 11, 1964). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 30. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  11. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (December 21, 1963). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  12. Cybill: Songs from the Cybill Show. "Cybill: Songs from the Cybill Show: Cybill Shepherd: Music". Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  13. "Doris Day, Secret Love played/arranged by Ricardo Scales - Artist - Maria Morlino", YouTube.
  14. "Calamity Jane to Arrive in London in June; star Wilcox chats about musical". Retrieved 26 September 2015.

External links

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