Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jump When I Say Frog

 Bob Merrill
with Hugo Peretti and his Orchestra

Roulette 4043

Born Henry Lavan (or Levan) in Atlantic City in 1921, Bob Merrill did most of his growing up in the Philadelphia area, graduating from high school there.   Following his discharge from the Army at the end of World War II, he went to Hollywood and got a job as a writer at CBS Radio while also finding work as an actor, appearing in The Story of GI Joe and in his own words, "a dozen B films and westerns."

Merrill soon realized he had better be on the other side of the camera, and took a job as a dialogue director with Columbia Pictures in Hollywood where he stayed for seven years.

While working on a film for the company he met a woman named Dorothy Shay, a popular performer and singer known as the "Park Avenue Hillbillie," for whom he wrote several songs.   These later proved a popular part of her million-seller album and encouraged Bob to explore writing songs as a career. He quit his job at Columbia Pictures and moved to New York, becoming one of the starving songwriters haunting the Brill Building.

One of his earliest songs was the novelty song “If I’d Known You Were Comin’, I’d ’Ve Baked a Cake,” which was recorded by Eileen Barton.   This success was followed by other successes including “Honeycomb,” recorded by Jimmie Rodgers; “How Much Is That Doggie In the Window,” recorded by Patti Page; “Love Makes the World Go ’Round,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “Pittsburgh Pennsylvania,” “Mambo Italiano” and “Make Yourself Comfortable.”    

Jasmine Records (UK) has compiled a 2CD set (61 tracks) featuring songs penned by Bob Merrill and sung by such big name artists as Tony Martin, Guy Mitchell, Burl Ives, Patti Page, Doris Day Also included are the 18 songs from his own Coral album from 1956.

Bob Merrill discography
(as singer)

Coral CRL 57081 album "And then I wrote..."     (1956)
 Side 1 : (If I Knew You Were Coming) I'd've Baked A Cake - Toys - Candy And Cake - My Truly Truly Fair - Pittsburgh Pennsylvania - Sparrow In The Treetop - Walkin' To Missouri - So Beautiful Is The Glow - Feet Up
Side 2 : Belle Belle My Liberty Belle - Lovers' Gold - (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window - I'm Nothin' But A Dreamer - Mambo Italiano - Our First Kiss - Make Yourself Comfortable - Chow Mein - When I Was Young

Roulette 4043     (1958)
Nairobi Jump / When I Say Frog   

Roulette 4085     (1958) 
Swimmin' Suit  / With One Side Of Your Heart   

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