We think of Lerner and Lowe as a team, but lyricist Alan Jay Lerner worked with other composers such as Burton Lane on the film Royal Wedding in 1951. It includes this gem of a song, a memorable contribution to the Great American Songbook, touching lyrics by Lerner and a suitable Burton Lane melancholic melody. Supposedly, they wrote it over the telephone.
Although it’s been recorded by many, it’s Judy Garland’s sad rendition I think of as the song was written for her but she dropped out before Royal Wedding was filmed and was replaced by Jane Powell. This YouTube recording was from her TV show, performed some dozen years later. It takes on a genuine sadness given the back-story.
Too Late Now
Too late now to forget your smile
The way we cling when we danced awhile
Too late now to forget and go on with someone new
Too late now to forget your voice
The way one word makes my heart rejoice
Too late now to imagine myself away from you
All the things we've dreamed together
I relive when we're apart
All the tender words together
Live on in my heart
How could I ever close the door
And be the same as I was before?
Darling, no, no I can't anymore
It's too late now
My rendition in the “recording studio” of my living room has its technical drawbacks, but I tried to capture the pure simplicity of this wonderful melody.