April 13, 1959

April13On this day in 1959, The Fleetwoods’ ‘Come Softly To Me’ hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

The song was written when Fleetwoods members Gary Troxel and Gretchen Christopher were waiting for a ride home from high school, and Troxel had randomly started humming “Dum dum, dumby doo wha…” Christopher picked up on it, realizing it was in the same chord progression as a song she had just finished writing.

She asked him to slow his tempo and then proceeded to sing her lyrics atop Troxel’s humming. The two took the song idea to Christopher’s writing partner, Barbara Ellis and, with her joint effort, the song was recorded at home on Ellis’ father’s tape recorder.

The trio sang in acapella, with Troxel using his car keys as percussion. They sent their song on tape to a Seattle record promoter, Bob Reisdorff, who started Dolton Records, originally titled Dolphin Records. The instrumentation was overdubbed after the vocals were recorded, a process reversal of the usual production technique.

‘Come Softly To Me’ is one of the most used songs in movie soundtracks, including classics like Stand By Me and American Graffiti.

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