#1119: D-Darling by Paul Evans
Paul Evans was born in Queens, New York, in 1938. Although he got some fame with his modest success as a teen idol, Evans is more well known for his songwriting for other performing artists. The list of artists in the music industry who’ve recorded a song by Paul Evans include LaVern Baker, Tab Hunter, Cliff Richard, Sammy Turner, Elvis Presley (“I Gotta Know”) Pat Boone (“Johnny Will”), Siw Malmkvist, Bobby Vinton (“Roses Are Red”), The Platters, Mario Lanza (“Lady Of Spain”), Hank Locklin, Johnny Tillotson, Bobby Sherman, Chad & Jeremy, Lulu, Kalin Twins (“When”), Ray Coniff, Paul Anka and the Shocking Blue. However, unlike in his native country of America where his chart success was uneven, Evans charted seven songs into the Top 20 in Vancouver. So, in the period between 1959 and 1962, Paul Evans was better known in Vancouver as a teen idol than for his compositions for other recording artists.
Paul Evans grew up in a family where his mom played an taught piano lessons, and his dad played a number of musical instruments. Paul’s father sold his flute to buy his son a guitar. His oldest sister, Estelle, showed Paul how to play the guitar. At high school, Paul produced and performed in a number of shows. While pursuing an engineering degree at Columbia University, Evans had his own radio show with a focus on folk music. He decided to switch his efforts to the record industry and began to sing at clubs and initially was the the ship’s singer on the US Navy ship the SS France.
In 1959 Paul Evans had a Top Ten hit across North America called “Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Backseat“. Evans had a Top Ten hit across North America in early 1960 called “Happy Go-Lucky Me”. He had follow up success especially in Vancouver with “Hushabye Little Guitar” (#4) “After The Hurricane” (#2) and “D-Darling” (#11), three songs that missed the Billboard Hot 100. “D-Darling” was one of six singles Evans released on Kapp Records in 1962-63, but the only one that was a hit, and uniquely so in Vancouver. After this song in late 1962, Paul Evans was off the radar. He was swept away by the Girl Group sound, Surf music, the Bossa Nova, Motown and the British Invasion.
G-Going out of my mind.
G-Get you out of my mind
Darling, darling, I love you so well.
Darling, darling, all I do is sit and spell.
G-Give me that and you’ll find,
that I will stay forever saying darling.
I love you so well.
All I do is sit and spell.
G-Give me that and you’ll find.
that I will stay forever saying darling.
Paul Evan’s song “D-Darling” drew inspiration from a common activity in elementary schools across North America called the Spelling Bee. The earliest known evidence of the phrase spelling bee in print dates back to 1850, although an earlier name, spelling match, has been traced back to 1808. A key impetus for the contests was Noah Webster’s spelling books. First published in 1786 and known colloquially as The Blue-backed Speller, Webster’s spelling books were an essential part of the curriculum of all elementary school children in the America for five generations (and possibly Canada).
In America the United States National Spelling Bee began in 1925. It was initiated by Louisville, Kentucky’s The Courier-Journal. In 1941, the Scripps Howard News Service acquired sponsorship of the program, and the name changed to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. Besides competitors from the across America, other contestants came from Canada, the Bahamas, New Zealand and nations in Europe. Spelling bees have also had national competitions in Canada and other countries in the 20th and 21st centuries.
In “D-Darling” the boyfriend is in a daze over his girlfriend. He hopes that if she knows how infatuated he is by her, that she’ll tell him that she also longs to be forever near him too. No doubt “D-Darling” may have inspired some rather sentimental Valentine cards from boyfriends trying to impress their girlfriends back in ’62. Here are three examples for girlfriends who had the name Barbara, Elaine or Judy:
A-All day I think about your
A-Adorable one, I
R-Really want it to be, just the two of us,
L-Love of my life,
A-Always be by my side,
I-In my arms,
E-Eternally, your darling.
J-Just the touch of your hand helps me
U-Understand what I was missing.
D-Dying to be with you every day.
Y-You’re my reason for living.
“D-Darling” was not the first of its kind to draw on things alphabetical to inspire a song lyric. In 1949, Perry Como and the Fontaine Sisters took “A You’re Adorable” to #2 on the Billboard pop charts.
Paul Evans was used to doing things a bit by the seat of his pants. He didn’t prepare what he would sing when he went onstage. He just did things spontaneously. In 1963, he told an interviewer with Folk Music Worldwide, he was on a trip to Fredericton, New Brunswick in the winter. When he showed up, he (or his manager) had forgotten to book a hotel room.
In 1963 Paul Evans wrote “Live Young” for the movie, Palm Springs Weekend, sung by Troy Donohue. Evans has soloed on many commercial jingles and appeared on the David Letterman Show, As the World Turns, Guiding Light and All My Children. Evans voice can be heard in the mid-90s Woody Allen films, Mighty Aphrodite and Everyone Says I Love You (but not on any of the tracks in the Soundtracks from these films).
In 1979 Paul Evans had an unusually morbid country hit on the UK pop charts called “Hello, This Is Joannie” that peaked at #6, and also went Top Ten in Australia. In the song, Joannie leaves the boyfriend’s house very angry and ends up in a fatal car crash on the way back to her home. In 1993 Evans released a country Christmas novelty tune called “Santa’s Stuck Up In the Chimney“. It gets air play on many North American country and western music stations each December. In 2017 Paul Evans enjoys his family life in New York City.
April 11, 2017
Paul Evans bio, Paul Evans.com
Interview with Paul Evans, Folk Music Worldwide, June 8 & 11, 1963.
The Blue-Backed Speller – Forgotten Intellectual Legacy of the American Revolution, Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, August 29, 2014
Spelling Bee – Origin of the Term, Spelling Bee.com
United States National Spelling Bee, Spelling Bee.com
“Live Young,” Psalm Springs Weekend, 1963.
“C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY,” CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, November 3, 1962.
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