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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Joe Offer Origin: Goodnight Irene (93* d) RE: Origin: Goodnight Irene 19 Feb 19


I sometimes get in trouble for singing this verse, but I like it:
    Sometimes Irene wears pajamas,
    Sometimes Irene wears a gown,
    And sometimes Irene wears nothing at all,
    And then she's the talk of the town.

I had heard that Joe Hickerson wrote that verse (such as it is), so I asked. I got a nice email in reply:

    My goodness, what an ....interesting question indeed! I did not compose this verse. As I recollect it, I heard it in 1950, when "Irene" was number one on the Billboard best selling record charts (for 13 weeks!). I heard it one Saturday evening sung by Bob Hope on Hope's weekly radio show. I learned it thusly:
      Sometimes Irene wears pajamas,
      Sometimes Irene wears a gown.
      But when they're both in the laundry,
      Irene is the talk of the town.


    A bit later, I learned another verse from the pages of Billboard magazine:
      Stop rambling, stop your gambling,
      Confess your sins and your faults.
      You'd still be singing "Goodnight Irene" if
      Patti Page hadn't sung the "Tennessee Waltz."


    Actually, there were two recordings which were #1 in between "Goodnight, Irene" and "Tennessee Waltz." They were Sammy Kaye's "Harbor Lights" (2 weeks) and "Phil Harris's "The Thing" (4 weeks). Then "Tennessee Waltz" for 9 weeks.


    Joe "The Songfinder" Hickerson
    Joe's Jottings (click)


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