Thursday, September 28, 2006

An itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot retraction

You probably heard — not here, of course, but somewhere — that songwriter Paul Vance, the man most famous for penning Brian Hyland's 1960 #1 hit, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," passed away on Tuesday.

Except... he didn't.

Songwriter Paul Vance would like the world to know that he is alive and well and living happily in Coral Springs, Florida, thank you very much.

The man whose death was widely reported, Paul Van Valkenburgh, claimed for years to have written the song using the pen name "Paul Vance." Van Valkenburgh told his wife that he didn't make a fortune on the megahit — which can currently be appreciated by a whole new generation, courtesy of a frequently aired yogurt commercial — because he sold the publishing rights to the song a half-century ago, well before Hyland recorded it.

The real Paul Vance would like the world to know that he did, in fact, make a fortune totaling several million dollars on the tune, which he describes as "a money machine." Vance also composed such other pop classics as Perry Como's "Catch a Falling Star," Clint Holmes's "Playground in My Mind," the Cuff Links' "Do Whatcha Wanna Do," and the Detergents' novelty hit, "Leader of the Laundromat," many in collaboration with his longtime songwriting partner, Lee Pockriss (who is also still alive, though not being impersonated so far as we know).

For her part, Van Valkenburgh's widow, Rose Leroux, is now angry with the real Paul Vance for stealing her late husband's thunder. "Paul can't hurt him now — he's dead," says the embittered Leroux. "If this man is getting the royalties, why wouldn't he be happy?"

Something about preserving his identity, I'm guessing, Rose.


1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Joel offered these pearls of wisdom...

Gawd. What a bi#@!

8:51 PM  

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