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!

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5 Responses to “An Itsy, Bitsy,Teenie, Weenie Mistake In The Media – Paul Vance Is Alive And Well!”

  1. Joe Nelson Says:

    I guess this means Vance’s name won’t be added to the Rock and Roll Heaven roster 🙂 – but seriously this all sounds sadly familiar. When the great Bill Deal died a few years ago, a friend of mine who has a prominent place in the “live oldies” community was so shocked to hear his friend had died (he is close with a number of major names, including several Spectropop members) he just had to call him to hear his voice on the answering machine – and was shocked when Deal picked up! It turned out his friend was an impostor who reacted to the news his prototype had passed on by continuing the deceit, insisting he was the real Deal (pun intended) and that the guy who died was the impostor. The likes of Jerry Ross and Austin Roberts (who’d known Deal since he was a teenager) chimed in otherwise, yet oddly this so-far-unnamed individual stood by his man, going as far as to ask me once if I was sure I’d been in touch with the real Jerry Ross? It took him over a year to admit he’d been conned, long after even the guy who managed both men chalked it up to an obvious case of identity theft. (I think that the fact that Deal restricted his personal appearances to the Virginia/Carolina area after the big hits stopped created a percieved void that the fake thought he could fill.) The fake has since been forced to admit his wrongdoing publicly, but from what I understand Barbara Deal has in no way forgiven him and this mess is far from over.

  2. steve owen Says:

    Artie,
    Enjoyed reading about your early 60’s experiences with
    Aldon and thereafter with Paul Vance in this article…
    Perhaps this guy, this other Paul – had told his wife he was the writer Paul Vance, and she wholeheartedly believed him…
    At any rate, it’s good to know that this fine writer is still with us….I particularly enjoy his song “Gina”
    recorded by Johnny Mathis, and the genius arrangement by Don Costa for that record….
    Regarding your late nite “auditions ” at the “office”..
    are you sure they didn’t write the Musical “Promises, Promises” based on your adventures?….(just kidding, Artie.)
    Best,
    Steveo

  3. Joe Nelson Says:

    Apparently the fake guy convinced his wife that he was who he wasn’t: when she wondered why he never recieved any royalties for all these hit records, he said he’d sold all of the rights to his writer’s share and publishing when he was younger. The scary part is it happens often enough it’s believable.

  4. Sid Says:

    I’m happy to see some information on the “real” Paul Vance.
    Paul has not received the recognition he deserves in the music world. He is a great talent!
    I met Paul back in the 60s when he appeared on my television program in Scranton, Pa. and we went on to become good friends through the years. My wife worked with Paul developing songs for Australian super-star “Kamahl”.
    I’m pleased that Paul is still alive and I’m sure he is still writing music.
    Unfortunately we have lost touch with Paul…his old telephone number are not in service.
    I’m in North Palm and would love to hear from him.

    Sid Friedman

  5. Gary Says:

    Was fortunate enough to meet Paul Vance just a few weeks ago. He’s become a regular attendee with the karaoke crowd in a Boca Raton hotel. Helluva nice guy, and always a people pleaser.


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