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.”
Troup added witty lyrics to many standards. In “The Lady Is A Tramp,” he comes up with:
Rich boys from Harvard
Can all go to, well…
She’s just as partial
To Penn or Cornell
She’s fond of horse shows
But can’t stand the smell
That’s why the lady is a tramp
She likes a free, fresh
Man in her arms
One who has charms
No coy Yale boy
Troup died in 1999 at the age of 80. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Updated from a post that originally ran on March 18, 2010.