Bobby Troup was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania in 1940. The college was putting on a production, the Mask and Wig Show, and he wrote a song for it called “Daddy.” It was an unusual song, and not your normal fare to be bound for hitdom.

The song, however, became extremely popular around the campus, and one night Bobby was hanging around the Embassy Club, an after-hours nightclub in Philadelphia. There, a group called the Kurt Weill Quintet expressed interest in “Daddy” and included it in their repertoire. Weill, of course, became a well-known composer.

Soon, 1940 turned into 1941, and late one night, Weill called Troup and told him to come down to the Embassy right away. It seemed that Sammy Kaye heard the song, and wanted to record it.

Sammy Kaye? The Swing and Sway Maestro whose forte was ballads, and sold many Victor records of them? What did he see in “Daddy,” with its jazz overtones and scat chorus? Bobby was excited, and found Mr. Kaye to be very easy to talk to ... and honorable.

Sammy called his lawyer, Lee Eastman in New York City, who drew up a contract for the song. Sammy immediately headed for the Victor studios and his arranger “Pump” Handle, fine-tuned “Daddy” and the next Sunday night, it was introduced on Sammy’s “Sunday Serenade” radio program.

The record had not been released, and this change of pace for the Kaye band was well received by his many fans. On May 24, 1941, “Daddy” broke on the Billboard charts; and hit number one for eight weeks. It is interesting to note that “Daddy,” plus “The Old Lamp Lighter” and “Harbor Lights” were Sammy’s most successful recordings, and did not utilized the famous “talking choruses” found on most of his other records.

And as for Bobby Troup? He took his songwriting seriously; with “Snootie Little Cutie” recorded by both Tommys; Dorsey and Tucker in 1942; “Baby Baby All The Time” for Frankie Laine in 1946; and “Route 66” which was introduced by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters but the public preferred the King Cole Trio version, also in ’46.

And the girl whom Bobby dated became his wife, and he coached her singing career; which gave her confidence.

When the new Liberty label was formed in 1955, Bobby felt that his wife was ready to make records. And Julie London became one of the label’s biggest stars, and one of the most respected and influential female vocalists whose style is still emulated today.

Her recording of “Cry Me A River” even found its way to England in 1970 when Joe Cocker waxed a rock version, and expertly adapted it to his unusual style.

Jack Kegg’s column appears on Sundays in the Times-News.

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