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From the Land of Band Box Records

Josephine Moore Proffit – Lyrics by Sylvia Dee

Sylvia Dee is an entry into the world of pop song composers.  Her career traversed nearly three decades with the journey beginning firmly in the remnants of ‘Tin Pan Alley’, moving into the ranks of the traditional lyric writers of those days in the early 1940’s into the early 1950’s.

And when change came to New York’s original Brill Building at 1619 Broadway in the guise of rock and roll and then ‘teen pop’ , Sylvia didn’t simply step aside.  How many lyricist can lay claim to having put the words to a war-era Glenn Miller tune and them more than 20 years later give us the words to a ‘girl group’ hit?  That would be Sylvia Dee!

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Song lyric writer Sylvia Dee was born October 22nd, 1914 Josephine Moore Proffit.

Josephine began her career as a newspaper copywriter in New York City and it was during her time with a Rochester paper that she came into contact with the entertainment world.  Initially she tested her writing skills with short stories and then quickly began providing lyrics to songs by composer Sidney Lippman.

Sydney Lippman was born March 1st, 1914 – most likely in New York.

Sidney Lippman

The composing team’s initial success came in 1941 with Glenn Miller’s rendition of “I’m Thrilled” which reached number 16 on the pop charts of the day.  She kept working but experienced a lull in chart success.  During the lull, Sylvia and Lippman teamed up to provide the score for stage production called “Barefoot Boy With Cheek” in 1947.

Sylvia’s early lyric writing career was primarily focused on working with Lippman, but later, starting in the 1960’s, would find her pairing up with song writer Arthur Kent, catering more to the pop sounds and upcoming musicians of the 1960’s.

The hit lull that Dee experienced from 1948 until 1951 came to an abrupt end with the release of a Dee/Lippman ditty titled “Too Young”.  Nat “King” Cole would take “Too Young” to the number 1 position – enjoying weeks atop the charts.  In an era of multple-releases being the norm, Tony Arden (number 15), Patty Andrews (number 19), Fran Allison (number 20, and Richard Hayes (number 24) would all chart in the summer of 1951.

“Too Young” would be Dee’s (and Lippman’s) shining career moment for the most part.  Dee, working in tandem with Lippman, would place a half-dozen more songs on the charts (and compose scores more which did not chart) up to 1960.

That marked the year that Dee would more or less reinvent herself to keep up with the times.  Her first success came in the spring of 1960 with a Connie Francis tune called “Mama”.  “Mama” was not a Dee original.  The song was composed back in 1941.  Dee updated the Italian original with English lyrics.  The song would enter the Top Ten and peak at an impressive number 8.

By now, Dee was working primarily with song writer Arthur Kent.  The two would pen a minor hit for Dion “Somebody Nobody Wants” which only ‘bubbled under’ in 1961 at number 106.  It would take two more years, but the wait was worth it, when Dee and Kent would turn out the big one for them, “The End of the World” by country cross over star Skeeter Davis.

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Arthur Kent

“The End of the World” would go number 2 both Hot 100 and Country, number 1 Adult Contemporary, number 18 in the U.K. and number 4 R&B!

Now, with a taste of ‘girl group’ success under her belt, Dee would team up with song writer George Goehring to give teen singer Diane Ray a number 31 hit with “Please Don’t Talk to the Lifeguard”, Ray’s only appearance on the Hot 100.

Goehring would be remember for co-writing a couple of good ones; “Lipstick on Your Collar” a number 5 hit for Connie Francis, “Half Heaven Half Heartache” in 1962 for Gene Pitney (number 12), and a folk ditty in 1963 by the Glencovers – “Hootenanny” (number 38).

George Goerhring

More minor successes would follow, songs recorded by Italy’s Rita Pavone, Steve Lawrence, and iconic Ella Fitzgerald.

Sylvia Dee’s final big hurrah would come in the summer of 1972, with teeny bop Donny Osmond reviving her classic “Too Young”.  Donny took it to number 13 in the U.S. and number 5 in the U.K.

The Last of the Too Young

Her chart days were nearly at an end.  Country singers Judy Taylor in 1982 and Allison Page in 2000 would both place “The End of the World” onto the lower end of the country charts at numbers 70 and 72 respectively.

Sylvia Dee passed away on June 12th, 1967 in New York City.

Sylvia Dee’s Selective Composing Discography

78 – Bluebird 11287 – Glenn Miller – I’m Thrilled – Charted Number 16 Pop Charts – September, 1941

78 – RCA Victor 20-1835 – (Tex Beneke With the Glenn Miller Orchestra – It Couldn’t Be True (Or Could It?) – Charted Number 12 Pop Charts – March, 1946

78 – Capitol 268 – Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers – My Sugar Is So Refined – Charted Number 11 Pop Charts – July, 1946

78 – Capitol 15048 – Peggy Lee – Laroo Laroo Lili Bolero – Charted Number 13 Pop Charts – March, 1958

78 – Capitol 1449 – Nat “King Cole – Too Young – Charted Number 1 Pop Charts & Number 3 R&B Charts – March, 1951

45 – Columbia 4-39271 – Toni Arden – Too Young – Charted Number 15 Pop Charts – April, 1951

45 – Decca 9-27569 – Patty Andrews – Too Young – Charted Number 19 Pop Charts – April, 1951

45 – RCA Victor 47-4105 – Fran Allison – Too Young – Charted Number 20 Pop Charts – July, 1951

45 – Mercury 5599-X45 – Richard Hayes – Too Young – Charted  Number 24 Pop Charts – July, 1951

45 – RCA Victor 47-4574 – Eddie Fisher – That’s The Chance You Take – Charted Number 10 Pop Charts – March, 1952

78 – RCA 70015 – Eddy Howard – It’s Worth Any Price You Pay – Charted Number 11 Pop Charts – November, 1952

78 – Columbia UK 3580 – Ruby Murray and Anne Warren – If Anybody Finds This I Love You – Charted Number 4 U.K.

45 – Columbia 4-40736 – The Four Lads – A House With Love In It – Charted Number 16 Pop Charts – July, 1956

45 – Decca UK F 10799 – Vera Lynn – A House With Love In It – Charted Number 17 U.K. – October, 1956

45 – Mercury 71169X45 – Nick Noble – Moonlight Swim – Charted Number 37 Pop Charts – July, 1957

45 – RCA Victor 47-7020 – Tony Perkins – Moon-Light Swim – Charted Number 24 Pop Charts – September, 1957

45 – Columbia UK DB 4386 – Bill Forbes – Too Young – Charted Number 29 U.K. – December, 1959

45 – MGM K12878 – Connie Francis – Mama – Charted Number 8 Pop Charts – February, 1960

45 – Laurie 3101 – Dion – Somebody Nobody Wants – Charted Number 106 Bubbling Under Charts – July, 1961

45 – RCA Victor 47-8098 – Skeeter Davis – The End of the World – Charted Number 2 Pop and Country Charts – Number 1 Adult Contemporary – Number 4 R&B – Number 18 U.K. – October, 1962

45 – Mercury 72117 – Diane Ray – Please Don’t Talk To the Lifeguard – Charted Number 31 Pop Charts – April, 1963

45 – RCA Victor 47-8420 – Rita Pavone – Wait For Me – Charted Number 104 Bubbling Under Charts – September, 1964

45 – Columbia 4-43362 – Steve Lawrence – Millions of Roses – Charted Number 106 Bubbling Under Charts – Number 11 Adult Contemporary Charts – July, 1965

45 – Academy 118 – Tommy Vann and the Echoes – Too Young – Charted Number 103 Bubbling Under Charts – March, 1966

45 – Monument 45-1024 – Billy Walker – I Taught Her Everything She Knows – Charted Number 11 Country Charts – September, 1967

45 – Capitol 2099 – Ella Fitzgerald – I Taught Him Everything He Knows – Charted Number 22 Adult Contemporary Charts – February, 1968

45 – RCA Victor 47-9684 – Willie Nelson – Bring Me Sunshine – Charted Number 13 Country – November, 1968

45 – MGM K14407 – Donny Osmond – Too Young – Charted Number 13 Pop Charts – Number 23 Adult Contemporary – Number 5 U.K. Charts – May, 1972

45 – Warner Bros. 7-29913 – Judy Taylor – Charted Number 70 Country – September, 1982

45 – Chrysalis CHS 3557 – Sonia – End of the World – Charted Number 18 U.K. – August, 1990

CD – H2E 724385885723 – Allison Paige – End of the World – Charted Number 72 Country – 2003

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