I’ll Walk Alone – 1944

“I’ll Walk Alone” is a 1944 popular song with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Sammy Cahn. The song, like others that came out during the World War II years such as “Till Then,” reflects the enforced separation of couples caused by the war. While “Till Then” is written from the point of view of the soldier wanting his lover to wait for him, “I’ll Walk Alone” is written from the point of view of the stay-at-home lover, promising to be true.

Dinah Shore made the best-known version of this song, recording it twice.[1] She first introduced it in the Universal Studios film Follow the Boys (1944), taking it to the top of the charts (her first #1 hit) for four weeks and reaching number ten on The Harlem Hit Parade in 1944. Shore later recorded the song in the early 1960s. Martha Tilton also fared well, placing the song in the Billboard Top Ten. The song was also recorded by Jane Froman.

Oddly, when “I’ll Walk Alone” was revived in the 1950s, it was often done by male singers, with a very popular version being done by Don Cornell (1952 top ten). Teen idol Ricky Nelson recorded a version for his 1958 album Ricky Nelson. In the Pop Chronicles documentary, Cahn himself performed the song while explaining that it began with a phone call from Follow the Boys producer Charles K. Feldman.

Marty Robbins recorded “I’ll Walk Alone” for his 1962 album Portrait of Marty. The song is sometimes confused with his 1968 country hit “I Walk Alone.” (The Willie Nelson song titled “I’ll Walk Alone” is actually a version of “I Walk Alone.”)

Jazz singer Nancy Wilson recorded the song for her 1969 album But Beautiful.

For the film, Flags of Our Fathers, director Clint Eastwood sings his version of the song on the soundtrack.