My heart melts every time I listen to “The Shadow of Your Smile.” It’s a popular love song from the 1965 movie “The Sandpiper,” which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Besides the lyrics, the utterly brilliant solo by Jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon, the haunting solo, sticks with me for some reason. It brings nostalgia of love.
The Shadow of Your Smile won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1965. It was an iconic part of my growing up years. It still holds a special place in my heart, reminds me of my crushes in middle and high school, and brings memories of the first trumpet my Dad bought me after I watched the movie in Cairo, Egypt in 1976.
Sheldon’s virtuosic abilities on the trumpet are prominent throughout much of the impressive soundtrack. Such refined skills made the gifted trumpeter a featured soloist on numerous soundtracks.
The trumpet sound in the Elizabeth Taylor movie kept repeating in my head for long. I first heard an innovative trumpet sound in the early 1970’s in this classic Egyptian movie from the 1940’s starring Leila Murad and Anwar Wagdi (The Liz Taylor and Richard Burton of Egypt at the time). Then my Dad bought me a trumpet for about $10, but I wasn’t able to play it elegantly like Sheldon or the actor, trumpeter in the Egyptian movie. I later gave up and learned to play guitar in the footsteps of my older brother who skillfully played The Shadow of Your Smile.
The song was a minor hit for many singers, including Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey, Perry Como, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis. Many jazz performers also recorded versions of the song, such as the legendary singer Peggy Lee, guitarist George Benson and saxophonist Kenny G.
It was all about child Liz Taylor’s home city, London, and it has an utterly brilliant soundtrack, with a score written by then 29-year-old John Barry and arranged by the awesome Johnnie Spence. Emmy-nominated on its release, Elizabeth Taylor in London is a truly fantastic record that pitches Barry’s innate jazz cool up against Spence’s super-lush orchestrations.
Taylor, with her dazzling violet-blue eyes, was almost all the lovely things to my generation in Egypt; many loved her dearly before and after her movie “Cleopatra.” She was the world’s prettiest actress.
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