Save the Last Dance for Me

"Save the Last Dance for Me"
Single by The Drifters
from the album Save the Last Dance for Me
B-side "Nobody But Me"
Released August 1960
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Recorded 1958–1960
Genre R&B, Pop
Length 2:34
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman
Producer(s) Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
Certification Gold
The Drifters singles chronology
"Lonely Winds"
"Save the Last Dance for Me"
"I Count the Tears"

"Save the Last Dance for Me" is the title of a popular song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, first recorded in 1960 by The Drifters, with Ben E. King on lead vocals.

The Drifters' version

In a 1990 interview [1] songwriter Doc Pomus tells the story of the song being recorded by the Drifters and originally designated as the B-side of the record. He credits Dick Clark with turning the record over and realizing Save The Last Dance was the stronger song. The Drifters' version of the song would go on to spend three non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the U.S. pop chart, in addition to logging one week atop the U.S. R&B chart.[2] In the UK, the Drifters' recording reached #2 in December 1960.[3] This single was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two noted American music producers who at the time had an apprentice relationship with a then-unknown Phil Spector. Although he was working with Leiber and Stoller at the time, it is unknown whether Spector assisted with the production of this record; however, many Spector fans have noticed similarities between this record and other music he would eventually produce on his own.[4] Damita Jo had a hit with one of the answer songs of this era called "I'll Save The Last Dance For You". On September 9, 1965, the group performed the song live at the Cinnamon Cinder with Charlie Thomas lip-syncing the lyrics, along with fellow Drifters Johnny Moore and Eugene Pearson on backing vocals.

In the song, the narrator tells his lover she is free to mingle and socialize throughout the evening, but to make sure to save him the dance at the end of the night.[5] During an interview on Elvis Costello's show Spectacle, Lou Reed, who worked with Pomus, said the song was written on the day of Pomus' wedding while the wheelchair-bound groom watched his bride dancing with their guests. Pomus had polio and at times used crutches to get around.[6] His wife, Willi Burke, however, was a Broadway actress and dancer. The song gives his perspective of telling his wife to have fun dancing, but reminds her who will be taking her home and "in whose arms you're gonna be."[7] Musicians on the Drifters' recording were: Bucky Pizzarelli, Allen Hanlon (guitar), Lloyd Trotman (bass), and Gary Chester (drums).

Dalida version

"Garde-moi la dernière danse"
Single by Dalida
from the album Garde-moi la dernière danse
Released 1961
Format Record
Recorded 1960-1961
Genre World music, Pop music, Exotica, Rock and roll
Length 2:48
Label Barclay
Certification Gold
Dalida singles chronology
"Joyeux Noël"
"Garde-moi la dernière danse"
"Canta in Italiano"

Garde-moi la dernière danse is the eighth album by European pop star Dalida. The title song of the album, a French cover of the American hit Save the Last Dance for Me, was released as a single. The background orchestra music was led by French composer and orchestra leader Raymond Lefèvre.

Emmylou Harris version

Emmylou Harris covered the song in a country/bluegrass style in 1979, including it on her Blue Kentucky Girl album. Also released as a single, her version reached the top-ten on the U.S. country singles chart in mid-1979.

Dolly Parton version

"Save the Last Dance for Me"
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album The Great Pretender
B-side "Elusive Butterfly"
Released December 1983
Recorded November 1983
Genre Country
Label RCA Nashville
Producer(s) Val Garay
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Islands in the Stream"
"Save the Last Dance for Me"

In late 1983, Dolly Parton recorded "Save the Last Dance for Me", releasing it as a single in late December; the song subsequently appeared on Parton's album of 1950s and 60s covers The Great Pretender, released in January 1984. Reaching the top ten on the country singles chart in late February, the single also crossed over, reaching #45 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

Chart positions

Chart (1983-1984) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 45
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 12
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 2

Michael Bublé version

"Save the Last Dance for Me"
Single by Michael Bublé
from the album It's Time
Released April 4, 2006
Format CD single, DVD single, Digital download
Recorded 2002 - 2003
Genre Pop
Length 3:38
Label 143, Reprise
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Michael Bublé singles chronology
"Save the Last Dance for Me"
"Just in Time"

"Save The Last Dance For Me" was later covered by Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, and released as the third and final single from his second major-label studio album, It's Time. The song was heavily remixed for its release as a single.


For its release as a single, the song was heavily remixed, with mixes from producers including Ralphi Rosario and Eddie Baez. All of the chart positions for the single are for each of the remixed versions of the song respectively. The single first peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart in September 2005.[8] After Bublé performed the album version of the song during the closing credits of the film The Wedding Date,[9] this version was released to radio, peaking at #5 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart, as well as reaching #99 on the Billboard Hot 100.[10] The music video for the track was once again directed by Noble Jones, who directed the videos for both of the album's previous singles – Home and Feeling Good. The music video was choreographed by Raymondo Chan, a Salsa Latin dance coach and performer. It was shot in Vancouver, Canada.

Track listing

  1. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Album Version) – 3:38
  2. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Starcity Remix) – 3:20
  3. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Live Version – Video) – 4:14
  4. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Music Video) – 3:42
  1. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Album Version) – 3:38
  2. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Ralphi's Anthomic Vocal) – 9:36
  3. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Eddie's Anthem Mix) – 9:53
  4. "Save The Last Dance For Me" (Ralphi's Hydrolic Dub) – 8:29

Chart positions

Chart (2006) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 99
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 5

Other versions

In popular culture

See also


  1. name=
  2. Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  3. Drifters UK Singles chart data at
  4. Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  5. Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 20 – Forty Miles of Bad Road: Early '60s potpourri" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Track 2.
  6. "Save the Last Dance for Me – By Kathryn Jean Lopez – The Corner – National Review Online". July 6, 2007.
  8. Bublé Dance Club Play chart data at
  9. Bublé Hot 100 chart data at
  10. Bublé Adult Contemporary chart data at
  11. "Michael Buble Save The Last Dance For Me RARE promo CD DVD 05". eBay. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  12. "Save The Last Dance For Me EP: Michael Bublé: MP3-Downloads". January 1, 1970.
  13. Buck Owens, "Save the Last Dance for Me" Chart Position Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  14. Cliff Richard - Don't Stop Me Now! (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
  15. Billy Joe Royal, Billy Joe Royal Featuring Hush Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  16. "John Rowles– Save The Last Dance For Me / What's On Your Mind". Discogs. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  17. DeFranco Hot 100 chart data at
  18. "Home – Lyrics".
  19. "the NEATBEATS Official Website". July 27, 2000. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  20. Herbie Armstrong website store
  21. Archived December 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. "Kramer: The Brill Building > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  23. Damita Jo Hot 100 chart data at

External links

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