Travel My Way: Jazz-Ivy Icon Bobby Troup

During the heyday of The Ivy League Look, a number of guys from preppy backgrounds wound up working in the field of jazz. Bobby Troup was one of them.

Raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Troup prepped at The Hill School, then studied economics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. While an undergraduate, Troup became increasingly interested in the piano, admiring Count Basie’s minimalist style, and penned his first hit song, “Daddy,” which was recorded by Sammy Kaye & His Orchestra in 1941.

In 1946, Troup drove from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles to seek his fame as an actor, musician and entertainer. Along the way he wrote his best-known song, “Route 66,” which he sold to Nat King Cole, who had a major hit with it the same year.

Troup later married torch singer Julie London, and hosted the television show “Stars of Jazz.”

Though his jazz albums of the ’50s were not popular, they featured many leading West Coast Jazz musicians. His light and breezy version of “Route 66” can be found on the album “California Cool,” while a 1964 version of it, from “The Julie London Show,” can be seen below.

Troup died in 1999 at the age of 80. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

6 Comments on "Travel My Way: Jazz-Ivy Icon Bobby Troup"

  1. Another GREAT topic and coverage of this era, Christian. Thanks.

    I did not know the origin of this song. And the tale of then-20-something Troup’s migration to (still Golden although smoggy) California in the post-WWII era is a rapidly fading legend in the era of California’s fiscal and social meltdown. Those who grew up in or moved to California after the 1970s or who go there today cannot imagine how idyllic is seemed to most people during earlier post-WWII decades, as it seemed to me, a 19-year old GI who had never been west of the Appalachians, when I first spent time there in 1968-69.

  2. Very nice, Thanks Christian

    Always Bumby

  3. Nice clip. It may also be worth noting that Troup and London appeared together on the 1970s TV drama “Emergency.” Interestingly enough, London had earlier been married to Jack Webb, whose production company bankrolled the show.

  4. Brian Miller | March 19, 2010 at 2:33 pm |

    Yes, I remember Troup from “Emergency.” I remember my dad doing such a “dad” thing by pulling me aside and telling me what Bobby Troup was really all about – playing me his records. I was bored stiff as an 8 year-old, but I get it now.

  5. Christine Pilkington | March 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm |

    I too, remember Troupe’s, Dr. Joe Early and London’s, Dixie McCall. What a marvelous voice she had! Webb clearly had an eye for talent. Must have been an interesting dynamic between those three…
    I had the same experience Brian mentioned, although it was my mother that played Troupe’s records. Growing up in LA, we were fortunate to be exposed to some great music. Though, at 7 years-old, I don’t think I cared quite as much as I do now.

  6. Ralph Kinney Bennett | March 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm |

    The ever eclectic and unpredictable Christian strikes again! The word is so overused but in Troupe’s case it is so appropriate — He was just a cool guy.
    I met him, through Jack Webb and his partner Bob Cinader. I’m pretty sure it was on the set of another popular TV show then, Adam-12, although it might have been at the Emergency set. I was writing some entertainment stuff back then and would make several trips to Hollywood every year. We had an interesting time talking — fellow Pennsylvanians, Philadelphia (he had been at Penn and I had been at the Philadelphia Inquirer), but most of all, that first hit song he wrote, “Daddy.” One of the singers in Sammy Kaye’s orchestra was Jimmy Brown. He was “Uncle Jimmy” to me although our blood relationship was a bit more distant. I told Troupe how my grandmother would just go crazy when that record came on the radio with the whole band singing “Da-dadat, Da-dadat, Dat, Da-da…” She would insist, of course that she could pick out Jimmy’s voice. He laughed and recalled how important that song was for his career. I remember we talked a lot of big band and jazz nostalgia. A nice memory. Thanks. Christian.

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