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