Words and Music by Jack Lawrence
Some Of The Best Recordings
Buddy Clark - 15 albums
For sheet music contact: www.halleonard.com
The Story Behind The Song
In 1942 I was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Maritime Service in charge of Welfare and Morale at the Manhattan Beach Training Center in Brooklyn. This was an enormous training base and under my supervision I was responsible for over one hundred musicians I had recruited from all the top big bands: Glenn Miller's bass player, Sammy Kaye's pianist/arranger, Andre Kostalanetz's arranger, Dorsey's trombonist, etc. It was a talented but chaotic group I had to deal with and I divided these temperamental 'tootlers' into two big bands: a marching band under Chief Petty Officer Phil Lang, who had been Morton Gould's arranger. (After this stint in the service, Phil went on to glory as one of the best of the musical show arrangers. As a matter of fact, some years later Phil did a superb job on one of my Broadway scores: "I Had A Ball"). My dance band was under the direction of Dave Terry who had been Kostalanetz's arranger. Dave and Phil taught arranging to one of our ambitious boys, a trombonist named Nelson Riddle.
My attorney at the time was also a close friend whom I visited often and got to watch his children growing up. One day he said to me: "Jack, do me a big favor. You know my wife Louise has a name song — that one popularized by Chevalier, and my daughter Laura is proud of that beautiful Mercer-Raskin song, and my son Johnny has lots of name songs he can claim. But my daughter Linda feels left out. How about writing a song especially for her?"
Being a good friend, I obliged and wrote a song for five-year-old Linda. When I made the rounds of publishers I met with frustration. Most of them like everything about the song but the name Linda. "Why Linda?" they would ask. "That's not a popular name". One guy said: "Call it Ida — after my mother-in-law and I'll publish it". I had to remind him there already was an "Ida — Sweet as Apple Cider!" Another maven suggested the name Mandy. He felt that had a more musical ring than Linda.
I reminded him that Irving Berlin had thought so too, years ago he had written: "Mandy, There's A Minister Handy", etc.
Would you believe that nothing happened with my "Linda" song until I was out of the service in 1946? My attorney friend called to tell me that one of his clients, Charlie Barnett was starting a company and in return for publishing rights, agreed to record "Linda." Okay, I said. And then a weird thing happened. Somehow, Ray Noble got an advance copy of the song, fell in love with it, dreamed up a charming arrangement and recorded it with Buddy Clark singing the vocal. After all those years of going nowhere, "Linda" was an overnight sensation. I can't recall how many weeks it was number one on the Hit Parade.
Sadly I then discovered that my pal, my best friend, my attorney for whose little girl I had written this song — HE was the backer of Charlie Barnett's company and HE owned the copyright on my song. That was the end of our relationship.
Some years later a group of ladies in the middle west contacted me to explain that they had started an organization called LINDA and were holding annual meetings with many other ladies who had been named Linda as a result of my song. I went as their guest to their third annual meeting in Des Moines, Iowa and it was a most peculiar feeling to address each and every one as LINDA. They spell it L.I.N.D.A., which stands for Lindas Involved In Network Development Association, and they have networked about three hundred Lindas from various states who attend their annuals. In 1996 they held their tenth. I don't know of any other songs that have sparked such yearly meetings.
One final note: little five year old Linda Eastman, for whom I wrote the song, grew up to be the lovely, talented lady who married Paul McCartney of the Beatles and went with him on all his gigs while raising their family. See what a song can do!
Copyright © 2005 Jack Lawrence. All Rights Reserved.