Save the Last Dance for Me

Written by Doc PomusMort ShumanUnreleased song

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

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

Drifters’ version

In a 1990 interview, 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, released a few months after Ben E. King left the group, would go on to spend three non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart, in addition to logging one week atop the U.S. R&B chart. In the UK The Drifters’ recording reached No. 2 in December 1960. 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. 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 of Ben E. King vocals, 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. 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. 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.” […]

Officially appears on


Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset)

Official album • Released in 2021

1:57 • Studio version • Medley with "I'm Ready (aka Rocker)","Don't Let Me Down"

Session Recording:
Jan 22, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset - SHM - Japanese edition)

Official album • Released in 2021

1:57 • Studio version • Medley with "I'm Ready (aka Rocker)","Don't Let Me Down"

Session Recording:
Jan 22, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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