23 February 2008

Only in Oz (9) Julie London - I'm Coming Back To You

Another in my series of posts about tracks that charted in Australia but not in their countries of origin.

9. Julie London - I'm Coming Back To You
(Arthur Kent - Ed Warren)
USA 1963
Liberty single #
Also on album The Wonderful World of Julie London

Australian charts: #34 Melbourne

Okay, to be accurate this should be "Only in Melbourne, Victoria" and (as a search of ARSA reveals) "also in Bakersfield CA" plus who knows what other US cities, towns and hamlets?

Even then, this hardly tore up the charts. Melbourne chart statisticians Gavin Ryan and Tom Guest agree on this one: Gavin has it at #34, Tom at #36. The KAFY chart posted to ARSA snapshots it at #27 in Bakersfield.

Let me plead sentimental value, then.

Probably because I grew up listening to those very Melbourne radio stations that nudged it into the local Top 40, I'm Coming Back To You has always been the song I associate with Julie London: not her famous hit Cry Me A River (1955, #9 USA, #22 UK, later reworked to good effect by Joe Cocker), and not Desifinado, her single that charted elsewhere in Australia (1962: #38 Sydney, #10 Brisbane).

Julie London's territory was always the adult-oriented album rather than the pop single: Cry Me A River was her only national Top 40 hit in the US, but she was a steady earner for Liberty Records with her LPs. She is also remembered for her acting, notably as Nurse Dixie McCall in Emergency (1972-1976), created by her ex-husband Jack Webb.

The opening "do-doo-doo-doo do-do do-do" from the girls' chorus [Listen] signals that the easy-going I'm Coming Back To You is more in a pop vein than much of Julie London's material, which tended towards sultry nightclub jazz.

The names of the producer and arranger-conductor here, Snuff Garrett and Ernie Freeman, are familiar credits on numerous pop records (including some by Johnny O'Keefe), and it shows. This is 1963, on the cusp of the British Invasion, and this style of nicely crafted pop production would just about sound dated within a year or so. The B-side is When Snowflakes Fall in The Summer,written by Brill Building greats Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Arthur Kent and Ed Warren, the writers of I'm Coming Back To You, also wrote Take Good Care Of Her, the 1961 hit by Adam Wade (#7 USA), also recorded by Elvis Presley and Johnny Mathis, among others.
Arthur Kent wrote at least two well-known songs with Sylvia Dee: The End Of The World, Skeeter Davis's hit (1963, #2 USA), and Bring Me Sunshine, familiar to British comedy fans as the theme song of Eric Morecambe & Ernie Wise, but also recorded by numerous artists from The Mills Brothers to Willie Nelson.

By the way, a search at the US Copyright Office confirms that Arthur Kent's co-writer on I'm Coming Back To You was indeed Ed Warren. Some sources - including All Music Guide - have wrongly assumed that the Warren in the writer credit belongs to the more prolific and famous Diane Warren, born 1956, who would have been about 7 years old at the time of I'm Coming Back To You.

Julie London - I'm Coming Back To You.mp3
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Chart positions from Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books, with a glance at Tom Guest's Thirty Years of Hits 1960-1990: Melbourne Top 40 Research.

Further reading: Biographies of Julie London and Ernie Freeman at All Music Guide. Tom Simon's Snuff Garrett page. Review of The Wonderful World of Julie London by Greg Adams at AMG.

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