“Strangers in the Night” is one of those vocal standards that never gets old. It sets the scene like a movie. It begins with the lines: “Strangers in the night/Exchanging glances.” This scene is filled with hope and anticipation. These are two lonely people, hoping to end their individual loneliness with a new
romance. Although we many times forget it, all couples were strangers once. And didn’t our parents
warn us to not speak to strangers? Clearly, they don’t want their offspring to live lonely lives, right?
Then again, there’s a big difference between young children trusting possible dangerous strangers, and
lovers in the hunt for true love.
Listen to the single here:
Interestingly, Richy Snyder’s father was one of the writers of this famous song. This gives him an
especially personal connection to the song. The artwork that accompanies the single pictures a man and
a woman (both possibly nude) in a romantic embrace. It suggests these two certainly weren’t strangers
for long. They went from strangers in the night, to lovers in the night ---seemingly quickly.
Snyder’s arrangement of the song is simple and straightforward. It’s just his vocal over guitar and piano
and sparse drums. He didn’t, thankfully, attempt to reinvent the wheel with this recording. In fact, it’s
about as traditional as the original version. We’re so used to hearing familiar voices singing these words.
Frank Sinatra’s distinctive enunciations come immediately to mind whenever we consider this great
song. However, with a voice like Sinatra’s, we may sometimes focus more on his unique approach to
interpreting songs. Thus, with Snyder’s completely different style, this recording puts more emphasis on
the words. In fact, you may notice lyrics you hadn’t noticed previously, while listening to this version.
And that’s a good thing. It serves to give a wonderful song a whole new sonic life.
Snyder’s voice is not like Sinatra’s, or any of the many others who have taken a crack at this song. In
fact, there are places where Snyder sounds slightly like Johnny Mathis. Just a touch, though, and not the
full-on vocalisms we’ve come to recognize from Mathis recordings. He sounds, in fact, a little like a
country vocalist in some places. It would be interesting to hear this song done country style. Of course, it would be set in a honky tonk and played over a jukebox. However, many country songs revolve around
looking for love (in all the wrong places, as one song put it), and this one might just work with an added
touch of Southern twang.
The world may change in major ways over time, but romantic encounters (like the one detailed in this
familiar song) will always be a part of life. “Love was just a glance away,” its lyric promises. How often
we visit bars and dance clubs with hopes held high that love is only that glance away. The song also
speaks of love at first sight. That one is a little trickier. Yes, one can find another person immediately
attractive. However, can one fall in love with another person, merely with a glance? That’s open for
debate. Nevertheless, there’s no debating the high quality of this song and the equally high quality of
Richy Snyder’s performance of it.