« Main Page « Songs  « Return   Forward »


Harbor Lights


(Kennedy / Williams)

Harbor Lights was written by Jimmy Kennedy and Hugh Williams (real name: Will Grosz) in 1937 and popularized in recordings that year by Frances Longford (Decca 1441) and Claude Thornhill and His Orchestra, with vocal by Jimmy Farrell (Vocalion 3595). The song was revived in 1950 by several artists, the most successful being Sammy Kaye, who had a number one recording (Columbia 38963). Other popular versions that year were by Guy Lombardo (Decca 27208), Bing Crosby (Decca 27219), Ray Anthony (Capitol 1190), Ralph Flanagan (RCA 3911), and Ken Griffin (Columbia 38889). Over a million copies of sheet music were sold for Harbor Lights in 1950. The song was performed on record 29 times on Your Hit Parade. In 1960 The Platters’ recording of Harbor Lights (Mercury 71563) reached #8 on the Hot 100 chart. 

Harbor Lights was used as the recurring theme song of the 1940 John Ford-directed movie, The Long Voyage Home, starring John Wayne.


Elvis recorded Harbor Lights on July 5, 1954 – his first commercial recording session. It was the first song put on tape. Sam Phillips of Sun Records considered the recording to be not worthy of release. In 1976 RCA released the master (take #2) on the LP Elvis – A Legendary Performer, Volume 2.


In 1980, The National Enquirer sent an unidentified copy of Elvis’s Harbor Lights to recording studios in Nashville and New York City. The recording was rejected by almost all the companies.


I saw the harbor lights, they only told me we were parting
Those same old harbor lights that once brought you to me
I watched the harbor lights how could I help it tears were starting
Good-bye to golden nights beside the silvery sea

I long to hold you, dear and kiss you just once more
But you were on the ship and I was on the shore
Now I know lonely nights for all the while my heart is whispering
That someday harbor lights w
ill bring you back to me

Where it was released:
Released for the first time on the album Elvis - A Legendary Performer, Volume 2 »


- Elvis - A Legendary Performer, Vol. 2 (1976) »

- Greatest Moments in Music (1979) »

- The King of Rock’n’Roll – The Complete 50’s Masters (1992)

- A Golden Celebration (1998)

- Sunrise (1999)

- Today Tomorrow and Forever (2002)

- Elvis at Sun (2004)

– A Boy From Tupelo (2012) - FTD »

For LP Fans Only (2018) - FTD »

« Main Page « Songs  « Return   Forward »