February 25, 1971; Death of Duluth songwriter Sammy Gallop

On this day in 1971, Duluth songwriter Sammy Gallop took his own life in a hospital in Van Nuys, California. Gallop was born in in Duluth in 1915 to a family of Russian immigrants. According to biographer David Ouse, in the 1940s Gallop headed to New York City to sell his songs. His first hit was 1941’s “Elmer’s Tune.” Another song that turned out to be a hit for Gallop was the oddly titled “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy” (1945), which was recorded by Dinah Shore in 1946 and was her first top-ten hit (the song also appears several times in John Updike’s novel Rabbit at Rest). Gallop would pen the lyrics to many other popular songs, including some that were part of Broadway musicals. His songs were recorded by Harry James, Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey, Spike Jones, Stan Kenton, Guy Lombardo, the Andrews Sisters, Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians, Julius La Rosa, Margaret Whiting, and Frankie Vaughan. But his popularity had faded by the mid 1960s, when he and his wife moved to California. Their divorce was pending when killed himself. There is much more to Ouse’s biography of Gallop, and you can read it here.

Sammy Gallop. (Image: Public Domain)