Singer of 'I'd've Baked a Cake'
Tuesday 04 July 2006
Eileen Barton, singer: born New York 24 November 1929; died West Hollywood, California 27 June 2006.
The phrase for an unexpected guest, "If knew you were coming, I'd've baked a cake", has now passed into the language, but few would know that it originated with the singer Eileen Barton, who topped the US charts for three months with the song in 1950.
She was an excellent singer, working with Frank Sinatra, Buddy Greco and Nat "King" Cole, but, despite her father's being a successful music publisher, she never recorded enough strong original material and she will be best remembered for her cheerful novelty success.
Eileen Barton was born in Brooklyn in 1929 to Benny and Elsie Barton, who had a song-and-dance act in vaudeville. As soon as she could speak, her parents developed a routine for the song "Ain't Misbehavin' ", which led to her working two shows a day at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. When she was seven, she was featured as the mischievous child, Jolly, on Milton Berle's radio show for CBS and she appeared in the film Show for Sale (1937) as Eileen "Jolly" Barton. In 1941, she was in the chorus for the Broadway musical Best Foot Forward, and then toured in Angels in the Wings with Elaine Stritch.
In 1943, Ben Barton passed Frank Sinatra an exceptional new song, "Close to You", and suggested that Sinatra finance a publishing company with him in charge. Over the years, Barton Music published many of Sinatra's hits including "Nancy with the Laughing Face" and his signature tune "Put Your Dreams Away". Ben Barton's association with Sinatra helped Eileen's career, as she appeared on his Paramount shows in New York in 1944, and often sang with him on television and radio. They appeared together on the radio show Lucky Strike Presents Your Hit Parade, and several duets with Sinatra survive including "Together" and "Come Out Wherever You Are".
Bob Merrill, who was to write "How Much is That Doggie in the Window" and many Guy Mitchell hits, gave her "If I Knew You Were Comin', I'd've Baked a Cake". The record soared to the top of the charts and she beat off competition from Georgia Gibbs and Ethel Merman, but the best-selling versions in the UK were by Gracie Fields and Eve Young.
Barton followed her hit with "Dixieland Ball, "May I Take Two Giant Steps", "You Brought a New Kind of Love for Me" and "En-Thus-E-Uz-E-As-M (Enthusiasm)", but she didn't repeat that success. In 1951, she covered Johnnie Ray's "Cry" and did reasonably well in 1953 with "Sway (Quien Sera)"and "Pretend".
As with many singers, her career faltered with the advent of rock'n'roll. In 1962 she appeared in a dire Jayne Mansfield film, Promises! Promises! Shortly before she died, she assisted with a 2-CD set of her recordings.
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
This time last year, Enner Valencia was playing for his first professional club in Ecuador, in the process of building a career that began in the far northern reaches of the country, near the border with Colombia. In the last 10 months his life has changed beyond recognition, via Mexico, Brazil and now east London, a good story of football’s extraordinary power to propel a young man to great heights.
What has impressed me so much about Southampton is that at the heart of the club there is clearly a vision and a structure around which everyone, and everything, works. It dictates who they sign, how they play and how they develop young footballers.
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...