Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields’ 1936 song “The Way You Look Tonight” is without a doubt one of the most romantic songs ever written, thanks to both a beautiful melody and pitch-perfect lyrics. As such, it has been recorded by all the greats — Frank Sinatra, of course, as well as Ella, Billie and (insert favorite artist here).
But originally, and long before it was used in My Best Friend’s Wedding, it was Fred Astaire’s in Swing Time. He’s singing to Ginger Rogers, who’s in the next room shampooing her hair. Sure, he doesn’t realize this until after he’s serenaded her, and she runs away embarrassed, but there’s wisdom in this humorous scene. After all, the loveliness in the song isn’t about an elaborate dress or hairdo, but rather a warm smile and a soft cheek, a word and a laugh. Granted, a wedding would presumably be a time for all those attractive features to shine through. But “Tonight” is that much more romantic when it’s referring to a seemingly unremarkable evening shared by two lovers and felt spontaneously — no wedding necessary.