Sammy Kaye

Sammy Kaye was an American big band leader and songwriter. He enjoyed a great deal of fame in the 1940s through to the 1950s.

In the springtime of 1950 he had a reasonable hit with his band’s rendition of Wanderin’, with vocals by Tony Alamo & The Kaye Choir, on RCA Victor 20-3680. Kaye was at least honest enough to put the vocalists' names on the record label. Unfortunately, he also put his own name in the songwriter credit and this was repeated on the sheet music:

Wanderin' sheet

Here’s a rendition of Wanderin’ by Kaye from YouTube. The exact date of the recording is unknown:

Kaye changed the folk song into a pseudo-dramatic pop song. He uses three of Sandburg’s published verses in The American Songbag, but adds a sort of bridge, which might account for his claiming the authorship of the whole as his own:



Toiling every day
In the rain or snow,
As slowly down the highway
Of life I go,
Then at last I reach
That final bend;
Oh lord, where’s it gonna end!


 And then along came a young Scotsman named Lonnie Donegan. Thanks to him (and with not a little help from a young Welshman named Tom Jones), Wanderin’ was transformed into I’ll Never Fall In Love Again. How? Read on…

© David Neale 2020