An Itsy, Bitsy,Teenie, Weenie Mistake In The Media – Paul Vance Is Alive And Well!
September 29, 2006
Sept. 27, 2006, 3:37PM
Songwriter complains of impostor
By FRANK ELTMAN Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
— The man who co-wrote the song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” had the unsettling experience this week of reading his own obituary _ the result of an impostor who went through life claiming to be the author of the 1960s smash hit.
On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported on the death of a 68-year-old man named Paul Van Valkenburgh of Ormond Beach, Fla., who claimed to have written the song under the name Paul Vance. The story cited the man’s wife as the source for that claim.
But the music industry’s real Paul Vance, a 76-year-old man from Coral Springs, Fla., is alive and well, and says the other Paul Vance appears to have made the whole thing up!
September 28, 2006
Like most people who know “The Real” Paul Vance, I freaked out when I heard he died a few days ago. Today I was overjoyed when I found out he was still alive!
When I was released from Aldon music as a writer in 1962, the first office I walked into was owned by writer/producer Paul Vance. I had seen his name on records as the co-writer of “Catch a Falling Star”, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, etc. and I hoped he would like my style of pop/country/r+b. He not only co-wrote with me but encouraged me to write with other writers that were coming around at the time, which included Cirino Colacrai (“Runaround”), Joey Powers (“Midnight Mary”), Al Byron (“Roses Are Red, My Love”), Ellie Greenwich (“Be My Baby”, “Da Doo Run Run”), Ben Raleigh (“Tell Laura I Love Her”, “Wonderful, Wonderful”) and Paul’s nephew Danny Jordan (who later became one of the Detergents who sang,”Leader Of The Laundermat”)
One day, singer Frankie Sardo, a friend of Danny’s came by looking for material. He had a minor hit with “Fakeout” but was best known for having been on the last Buddy Holly Tour. After a strong B.S. session, which included Frankie telling us that he gave up the last seat on the small plane to Buddy the night of the fatal crash, the three of us started writing a song, “Find a Little Happiness”. The next day, we finished the song and played it for Paul. He was so excited that he ran us down the hall to play it for Joe Kolsky who owned Diamond records. Joe flipped out as well and suggested that Danny and I record it as a duo with Paul as a producer.
Initially, this didn’t really sit well with Danny or myself since we both were aspiring to be single artists. I knew Joe was a dynamite record promoter since I had an earlier release on Diamond that I wrote with Paul, “Mommy and Daddy were Twistin’” by Susan Summers, but I was still aprehensive. Paul was pissed off that we didn’t jump at the chance to record for the man who was behind some of the biggest acts at Roulette records( Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, Jimmy Rogers, Joey Dee and the Starliters) so we reconsidered.
In the year and a half that I wrote with Paul we had our songs recorded by the Fleetwoods, The Playmates, etc . He also got songs of mine that he published recorded by the Brian Poole and Tremoloes, Frankie Sardo, and the Angels. Although I wasn’t getting a salary, he did let me have a key to the office where I held many late night “auditions”. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in thirty years, but I want him to know how much I appreciate what he taught me about songwriting, the music buisness and life itself!