You'll Never Know

"You'll Never Know" is a popular song with music written by Harry Warren and the lyrics by Mack Gordon.[1] The song is based on a poem written by a young Oklahoma war bride named Dorothy Fern Norris.[2]

"You'll Never Know"
Published1943 by Bregman, Vocco and Conn
Composer(s)Harry Warren
Lyricist(s)Mack Gordon

The song was introduced in the 1943 movie Hello, Frisco, Hello where it was sung by Alice Faye.[1] The song won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Original Song,[3] one of nine nominated songs that year.[1] It was also performed by Faye in the 1944 film Four Jills in a Jeep.

The song is often credited as Faye's signature song. However, Faye never released a record of the ballad, and frequent later recordings of the song by other singers diminished her association with it.


  • Sinatra recorded his version at his first recording session at Columbia as a solo artist. (He had recorded at Columbia in 1939 as a member of Harry James’s band.) It was arranged and conducted by Alec Wilder with the Bobby Tucker Singers providing accompaniment. Sinatra’s version charted for 16 weeks starting July 24 and spent two weeks at number 2.[5]
  • The Sinatra and Haymes records were made during the 1942–1944 musicians' strike, an American Federation of Musicians strike against the recording companies. As a result, the recordings were made without musicians, with vocal groups replacing the usual instrumental backup. The group backing Haymes, The Song Spinners, was actually given credit on the Haymes record. (The Song Spinners #1 hit, "Comin' In on a Wing and a Prayer" held the #1 spot on the charts for three weeks preceding Haymes' "You'll Never Know." Vocalist Margaret Johnson of The Song Spinners did the vocal arrangements for both songs.)
  • The song was the first song that Barbra Streisand ever recorded, in 1955 when she was 13 years old. It was the opening song on her 4-CD box-set Just for the Record (1991). This box-set collection closed with an orchestrated version of that song, sung as a duet by Streisand at age 45 (recorded April 21, 1988) with the voice of the girl (herself) from that 1955 recording.[6] Although uncredited on the CD, this closing cut was arranged and conducted by Rupert Holmes as part of the suspended Streisand-Holmes "Back to Broadway" recording sessions.[6] Barbra dramatized the 1955 recording session as part of the opening of her "Timeless" concert tour in 2000. A recording of this was featured on the accompanying CD & DVD release: "Timeless: Live in Concert".[7]
  • The Platters recorded the song in December, 1969. It reached #109 on the US Billboard chart, from their album "Song for the Lonely." It is often confused with a song with a similar title, "You'll Never, Never Know," charting at #11 in August 1956.
  • Eartha Kitt recorded a version for her 1962 album, The Romantic Eartha.
  • The Mamas & the Papas vocalist Denny Doherty included the song on his 1974 solo album Waiting for a Song. The single was released with "Goodnight and Good Morning", from the same album, as the B-side. This version reached the top 15 of Billboard's Easy Listening survey.
  • Singer and actress Bernadette Peters sang the song on her eponymous debut solo album in 1980.
  • Singer Antonio Marcos released a Spanish rendition of the theme, named "Nunca Sabrás", in the Spanish soundtrack from the Brazilian Soap Opera "Baila Conmigo" (Dance With Me), created by Manoel Carlos and televised by Rede Globo in 1981.
  • Maura O'Connell recorded the song for her (Grammy-nominated) 1989 album, Helpless Heart (originally released in 1987 as Western Highway).
  • Barbara Mandrell performed the song in her final curtain call for her retirement concert, "The Last Dance" in 1997.
  • In 2006, Frank Sinatra, Jr. released an album entitled That Face! including the song "You'll Never Know".


  1. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. The lyrics can be found at
  3. Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 2, side A.
  4. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 249.
  5. (CD booklet), "Frank Sinatra: The Columbia Years: 1943–1952, The Complete Recordings Vol. 1, 1993
  6. (CD booklet), "Barbra Streisand: Just for the Record...", 1991 Columbia Records C4K 44111, p. 88
  7. "Barbra Streisand Archives - Early Demos, RCA Audition, Record Contract".
  8. "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  9. Al Hirt, They're Playing Our Song Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  10. "Hugh Masekela – Almost Like Being In Jazz". Discogs. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  11. "2018 Oscars: 6 Standout Songs From Academy Award-Nominated Films". Billboard. 28 February 2018.
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