Te quiero dijiste / Magic is the Moonlight


page originally published on 4 October 2012; latest edit: 11 February 2021


Te quiero dijiste (María Grever) — aka “Muñequita linda” (cute little doll), from the lyric

María Grever-2aIMDb dates the composition 1929. In 1944 the song was used with the original Spanish lyric in the Esther Williams film Bathing Beauty, performed by Carlos Ramírez with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra. With an English lyric written by Charles Pasquale, the song acquired the second title, “Magic is the Moonlight.” According to IMDb, in addition to the Cugat and Ramírez performance, the song was played during the opening credits, whistled by Red Skelton, and appeared often in the score. It’s not clear to me whether the English lyric was used in the film at all, though the sheet music cover below suggests that the English lyric was published or republished around the time the film was released.


Selected recordings and live performances:

Alfonso Ortiz Tirado-2a

Alfonso Ortiz Tirado — 1930



Rosita Serrano — The “Chilean Nightingale” — 1938

Excepts from the Wikipedia profile:

Rosita Serrano-3aRosita Serrano…was a Chilean singer who had her biggest success in Nazi Germany between the 1930s and the early 1940s. Because of her bell-like voice and pitch-perfect whistling she received the nickname Chilenische Nachtigall (Chilean Nightingale).[1]

Rosita Serano was born in Viña del Mar, Chile on 10 June 1914. Her father Héctor Aldunate was in the diplomatic service. With her mother Sofia del Campo who was a popular opera singer she moved to Europe in the early 1930s. Initially they lived in Portugal and France but by 1936 they moved to Berlin. Serrano had her first successes in the Wintergarten and the Metropol Theater where she performed Chilean folk songs. During that time she was discovered by German composer Peter Kreuder who managed that she got a record contract at the German Telefunken.

Her voice style was mainly operatic coloratura soprano with a deep, fast vibrato. She added frequent embellishments such as soaring arpeggiation and melisma. Some songs were recorded with a few words whispered or spoken, and she occasionally emphasized words with a gritty, growling jazz style reminiscent of African-American blues singer Ethel Waters. She was a pitch-perfect whistler in the manner of Bing Crosby.[1] The songs she recorded in German and Spanish varied from folk to pop, including flamenco, rumba, tango and mambo.[1] [read more]


Carlos Ramírez with The Xavier Cugat Orchestra — in the film Bathing Beauty (1944)

Presently unavailable


Jane Powell — “Magic is the Moonlight” (m. María Grever, w. Charles Pasquale) — from the musical comedy film Nancy Goes to Rio (1950)


Los Panchos with Raúl Shaw Moreno — c. 1951

Adapted from the Wikipedia article on Los Panchos (aka Trío Los Panchos):

Los Panchos first met in 1944 in New York City. The three original members were Alfredo Gil and Chucho Navarro, both from Mexico, and Hernándo Avilés from Puerto Rico. All three played guitar and contributed vocally. Los Panchos reached fame with their romantic songs, especially in Latin America where they are still regarded as one of the top trios of all time. They also appeared in around fifty movies mostly during the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.

Julito Rodríguez joined the group in 1952. [read more]

From the Wikipedia (Spanish) profile of Raúl Shaw Moreno, poorly translated:

In 1951, in Santiago de Chile, Hernando Aviles, first voice of Trio Los Panchos left the band in full continental tour due to his frequent disputes with Alfredo Gil. In these circumstances, Alfredo Gil and Chucho Navarro travel to Bolivia, with the urgency of finding a replacement for Avilés, in order to continue the tour. It is in these circumstances that, in the month of November 1952, Raúl Shaw Moreno auditioned for the two remaining members of Los Panchos, Chucho Navarro and Alfredo Gil. In a room of Sucre Palace Hotel, Magaly singing for them, being accepted to [immediately] replace Hernando Aviles. His debut as lead vocalist of Los Panchos comes at a recital A broadcast, as used in those years, in the Auditorium of Radio Minería in Santiago de Chile.



Józefa Mazurkiewicza — 1955 instrumental, under the title “Mucho…Mucho…”

The introductory verse section, which is so integral to the early recordings by Tirado (1930), and Serrano (1938) that it is repeated once in each case, before the chorus begins, is entirely omitted here. The verse section is also absent from Nat King Cole’s 1958 recording, and the versions by Gloria Lasso (1960), and Martin Denny (1961).

Recording presently unavailable


Nat King Cole — originally released, under the title “Te Quiero, Dijiste (Magic is the Moonlight),” on the 1958 LP Cole Español, Capitol Records W-1031 (and W 1031)

According to AllMusic.com, nine of the album’s eleven backing tracks, including this one, were recorded by conductor Armando Romeu, Jr., in Havana, Cuba, in February 1958, with Cole adding his vocals in Hollywood in June of that year. He did not speak the language, and learned the lyrics of the songs phonetically.



Javier Solís – from the 1960 LP En New York, Columbia ES 1728


Gloria Lasso Con La Orquesta De Paul Fersen — from the 1961 album Bailando Con Gloria Lasso, (Mexico) Musart D 591


Martin Denny — by the “Father of Exotica” — from his 1961 LP Romantica


Los Índios Tabajaras — from their 1964 album Always in My Heart


Xiomara Alfaro — date unknown


Coro de Niños Cantores del Centro Histórico — arrangement and direction: Agustín Carmona Galván, piano: Linda Caudillo — XXVI Festival de México (Ciudad de México), Marzo 2010


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