The Origin of ‘El Dia Que Me Quieras’

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‘El Dia Que Me Quieras’ (‘The Day That You Love Me’) is a tango composed by Carlos Gardel with lyrics by Alfredo Le Pera, originally recorded for the 1935 film of the same name. Gardel himself was the lead in the musical film opposite Spanish actress Rosita Moreno. Gardel and Le Pera wrote six songs in total for the movie.

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In the 1930s, Gardel and his ensemble of Argentina’s best guitarists toured South America, France, and the United States. His celebrity status was further increased when he began starring in Spanish-language movies. He eventually started his own production company and distributed 10 films through the Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures.

‘El Dia Que Me Quieras’ was released in 1935 and tells the story of Julio Arguelles (Gardel) who wants to marry a woman below his social status, Margarita (Moreno). Julio’s wealthy businessman father is opposed to the marriage, but the two marry and elope. Margarita would be dead by the end of the film and Julio a rising tango singer. It is worth noting that tango revolutionary Astor Piazzolla had a small role as a young paper boy in the movie.

Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla claims ‘El Dia Que Me Quieras’ is one of the most beautiful melodies ever written.

Many of Gardel’s onscreen characters embodied the archetypal Latin lover–an elegant gentleman with a fedora, suit and tie. Santaolalla says of Gardel’s onscreen presence, “How cool he was. What a sense of style, as an artist and a gentleman. He always had that classy feel to whatever he did.”

However, tragedy struck towards the end of the film’s promotional tour. Gardel and Le Pera died in a plane crash on June 24 in Medellin, Colombia. Millions of fans around the world went into mourning and hordes came to pay respect as his body journeyed from Colombia to New York to Rio de Janeiro.

The legacy of ‘El Dia Que Me Quieras’ lives on. Mexican singer Luis Miguel recorded a cover of the song in 1994. In 2013, Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan wrote and recorded the first-ever English translation of the song, ‘The Day You Say You Love Me.’

Tender sighs like a whisper

Caressing my day dreams

You’re here by my side

I feel life smile above me

Whenever your sweet eyes

Can look into mine

And it’s my consolation

The sound of your laughter

Like music sublime

There’s no way of concealing

Every thought, every feeling

The day you say you love me

The most beautiful of roses

Will bloom in every garden

Of a color never seen

And from the highest steeple

The bells will sing our love song

And make the eager fountain

Spill over with our love

The night you say you love me

The skies above will listen

The jealous stars will longing

Will see us passing by

A playful ray of moonlight

Will dance along of pleasure

While witnessing this moment of our lives

We will always treasure

A playful ray of moonlight

Will dance along of pleasure

While witnessing this moment of our lives

We will always treasure