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This Morning’s Thought – Linda Scott

September 4, 2022

We songwriters are a strange lot. We often wake up in the morning with some tune swirling around in our head like a smoothie in a blender. This morning I sprang reluctantly into action as I got out of bed because a song from long ago was haunting me. The song? “I’ve Told Every Little Star.”

This song took me back many decades to 1961. I remembered it very well or so I thought. I began singing it as I was making breakfast. The words came easy but I could not remember who sang it. Thank God for the internet! I scurried into the den and looked the song up. Yes, of course, it was Linda Scott who released the song in 1961. But as I read on, I was in for a bit of a re-education.

Linda Scott was born Linda Joy Sampson on June 1, 1945 in Queens, New York. She was an American pop singer and actress who was active from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Her biggest hit was the million-selling single, “I’ve Told Every Little Star.” She went on to score twelve songs on the charts over the next four years, the last being “Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed,” inspired by the film and written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. In 1962, she portrayed a fictionalized version of herself in the musical film Don’t Knock the Twist. I was familiar with most of this background and knew that she had recorded “I’ve Told Every Little Star” when she was only sixteen years old.

Here are a few things I didn’t know. Linda initially auditioned for the popular  Arthur Godfrey CBS Radio show in 1959 when she was only 14 years old. She continued to be a regular on this show for some time where she came to the attention of Epic Records. Her first recording was the single “In-Between Teen,” in which she used her birth name, Linda Sampson.

Though she was still in high school, in 1961 she signed with Canadian-American Records, which had a big hit with the Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk”. The label changed her performing name to Linda Scott, producing and releasing “I’ve Told Every Little Star.” Most teenagers were not aware then that the song was a standard written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern for their 1932 production Music In The Air. The track sold over one million copies, earning a gold record for Scott. Not bad for someone fresh out of the starting gate!

Scott’s three biggest hits came in that first year, with “I’ve Told Every Little Star” (U.S. #3), “I Don’t Know Why” (U.S. #12), and “Don’t Bet Money Honey” (U.S. #9). The first two were standards, while the third was one of Scott’s own compositions. I am partial to the latter as I like songs that were written by the recording artist. In 1963, American Bandstand signed Scott to Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars national U.S. tour which was scheduled to perform its 15th show on the night of November 22, 1963 at the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, Texas. The Friday evening event had to be cancelled moments after U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated that same afternoon while touring Dallas.

Scott’s final U.S. chart appearance was “Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed,” released in January 1964, the same month that The Beatles made their first chart appearance. In 1965, she became a cast member of the variety show Where the Action Is, which she co-hosted with singer Steve Alaimo. Her last U.S. recording, “They Don’t Know You”, was released in 1967 on RCA Records. She continued to record as a backing vocalist (most notably on Lou Christie’s 1969 hit, “I’m Gonna Make You Mine”) before finally quitting the business in the early 1970s.

In listening to “I’ve Told Every Little Star,” I always heard the second verse as, “I’ve told fishes in the brook just how sweet I think you look.” To my surprise, the actual line turned out to be, “I’ve told ripples in the brook, made my heart an open book….” This phenomenon is called mondegreen, a misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of the lyrics of a song. For a further look into mondegreens, see my post: The Big Fat Train To Georgia located here:

According to an interview that Scott gave in 1987, she was an army laboratory technician for two years, stationed in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and received a degree in Theology from Kingsway Christian College and Theological Seminary in Des Moines, Iowa.  During her time in the army, she met and married a fellow serviceman John William Urbach. The marriage  ended in divorce in 1977 but produced a child in 1973. She later taught music at the Christian Academy in New York City.

Here is the original recording of Linda Scott’s “I’ve Told Every Little Star:”

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From → America, Music, Poetry, Writing

  1. Ernest Garcia permalink

    Thanks for the memories.


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