Last Night When We Were Young

Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

Composer Harold Arlen
Lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg
Year Written 1935
About Last Night When We Were Young
Harold Arlen considered “Last Night When We Were Young” to be one of his favorite songs. In American Popular Song, Alec Wilder calls it a “most remarkable and beautiful song … (that) goes far beyond the boundaries of popular music.” Yip Harburg has said that he doesn’t know exactly where the title came from but that “the juxtaposition of those two phrases is almost a whole world of philosophy.” All in all, it’s a very beautiful and introspective song that is much beloved by singers. Frank Sinatra included on his wonderful album In The Wee Small Hours. It has also been recorded by Judy Garland, Mel Tormé, Carmen McRae and Tony Bennett.


Last night when we were young
Love was a star, a song unsung
Life was so new, so real so right
Ages ago last night

Today the world is old
You flew away and time grew cold
Where is that star that shone so bright
Ages ago last night?

To think that spring had depended
On merely this: a look, a kiss
To think that something so splendid
Could slip away in one little daybreak

So now, let’s reminisce
And recollect the sighs and the kisses
The arms that clung

When we were young last night

Session / Album Information


Last Night When We Were Young was recorded on November 12, 1959 and was released in 1960 on the album To My Wonderful One. It was arranged by Frank DeVol.

This recording released on:

  • 1960: Columbia LP 12″: CS 8226 — To My Wonderful One
  • 1960: Columbia LP 12″ (Mono): CL 1429 — To My Wonderful One
  • 1994: Smithsonian CD: RD 048-5 — American Songbook Series: Harold Arlen
  • 1994: Smithsonian Collection CD: A 23653 — American Songbook Series: Harold Arlen
  • 2011: Disc #16 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK16) To My Wonderful One


“Last Night When We Were Young” was recorded in June 1992 and was released that year on Perfectly Frank. It was arranged by Ralph Sharon.

This recording released on:

  • 1992: Columbia CD: CK 52965 — Perfectly Frank
  • 1992: CBS/Sony CD: SRCS-6565 — Perfectly Frank [Japan]
  • 1999: Sony International CD: 91207 — The Essential Tony Bennett: A Retrospective
  • 2002: Columbia/Legacy CD: 86634 — The Essential Tony Bennett
  • 2008: Columbia/RPM/Legacy CD: 731397 — The Essential Tony Bennett [Limited Edition 3.0]
  • 2011: Disc #58 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK57) Perfectly Frank

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