1960 Perry Como – Delaware
Irving Gordon grew up in Brooklyn and attended school in New York City. After graduating, he began working at some of the resort hotels in the Catskill Mountains. While there during the thirties, he began writing parody lyrics for some popular songs.
He went to work for a music publisher and wrote lyrics for some of Duke Ellington’s instrumentals. He also began composing music besides writing lyrics and even worked in the infamous Brill Building for a few years.
In 1951, Irving wrote the punny song Mister and Mississippi. which included multiple puns using state names. Several artists recorded the song. Patti Page had the biggest hit single with the song, which reached the top ten in 1952.
In 1959, he returned to writing punny lyrics using state names. The result was the song, Delaware, which included references to 15 different states.
Perry Como had three top ten singles in 1958, but his highest-charting single from the middle of that year to 1970 was his cover of Delaware. His single reached #23 on the Hot 100 in 1960.
Irving won a surprise Grammy Award in 1992 with a song he wrote in 1951. Elvis Presley’s musical director Joe Guercio came up with the idea of combining Natalie Cole’s vocals with her father’s 1952 recording of Unforgettable. The resulting single won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance.
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