Shangri-La (1946 song)

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Single by The Lettermen
from the album Hurt So Bad
B-side"When Summer Ends"
Format7" single
Songwriter(s)Matty Malneck, Carl Sigman, Robert Maxwell
The Lettermen singles chronology
"Hurt So Bad"
"Traces/Memories Medley"

"Shangri-La" is a popular song written by bandleader Matty Malneck and Robert Maxwell in 1946 with lyrics by Carl Sigman. The term comes from "Shangri-La" as the hidden valley of delight in James Hilton's 1933 novel Lost Horizon. The term "Shangri-La," especially in the 1930s and 1940s, was slang for heaven or paradise,[citation needed] and the song is about the joy of being in love.

Composer Maxwell's instrumental version (saxophone/organ lead with brass and rhythm), which featured his harp solo, which is heard in the introduction as well as in the coda section of the song, charted in 1964, reaching #15, and #67 of the Top 100 instrumentals, 1960-69. Other popular versions (with lyrics) were recorded by The Four Coins in 1957 (#11 US) and by The Lettermen in 1969 (#64 US).

Jackie Gleason used "Shangri-La" on his 1950s-60s TV variety show as theme music for his popular millionaire character Reginald van Gleason III.

The song was also used as the opening and closing theme of Radio City Playhouse, a radio anthology series that aired in the late 1940s.