Les Brown and His Band of Renown had been performing the song, but were unable to record it because of the 1942–44 musicians' strike. When the strike ended, the band, with Doris Day as vocalist, had a hit record with the song, Day's first #1 hit, in 1945. The song's release coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and became the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans. The recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 36769, with the flip side "Twilight Time". The record first reached the Billboard charts on March 29, 1945 and lasted 23 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1. The song actually reached the charts after the later-recorded "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time".
Gonna take a sentimental journey Gonna set my heart at ease Gonna make a sentimental journey To renew old memories
I got my bag, I got my reservation Spent each dime I could afford Like a child in wild anticipation I long to hear that "All aboard!"
Seven, that's the time we leave - at seven I'll be waiting up for heaven Counting every mile of railroad track - that takes me back
I never thought my heart could be so yearny Why did I decide to roam Gotta take a sentimental journey Sentimental journey home