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The song was first used as an instrumental theme in the 1970 film Love Story after the film's distributor, Paramount Pictures, rejected the first set of lyrics that were written. "(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story" is a popular song published in 1970, with music by Francis Lai and lyrics by Carl Sigman. Andy Williams eventually recorded the new lyrics and took the song to number nine on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 and number one on their Easy Listening chart.
The score for Love Story was written by Francis Lai, and the company that published the music for Paramount felt that the track heard over the opening and closing credits, which was titled "Theme from Love Story", needed lyrics. Michael Sigman, son of lyricist Carl Sigman, recalled that his father was asked to provide the words and received "a synopsis of the script and the lead sheet of the music. The story was schmaltzy, but the music inspired words that expressed the sadness beneath the schmaltz." The initial set of lyrics his father wrote mirrored the storyline of the film from the prospective of the male protagonist, who describes a woman who enters his life ("So Jenny came") and then "suddenly was gone." Paramount executive Robert Evans "thought the lyric was a 'downer.' Further, he couldn’t abide the phrase 'Jenny came,' believing it too sexually suggestive for a mainstream audience. He demanded a rewrite," and this upset Carl. "At first, justifiably proud of the fine lyric he crafted, he was angry and felt like refusing to do a rewrite. But the next day he cooled off and, pacing around his living room, said to his wife, 'Where do I begin?' and the new lyric was launched."
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