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Key Largo by Bertie Higgins

Album: Just Another Day In ParadiseReleased: 1981Charted:
  • Key Largo is an island off the coast of Florida that was the setting for the 1948 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who were married in real life and one of the most glamorous couples in Hollywood. Bertie Higgins grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida and spent a lot of time in the Florida keys. He based this song on the movie, with a failed romance also serving as inspiration.

    In the book Behind The Hits, Higgins said: "I lived with a girl a long time in Florida. Here name was Beverly Seaberg. We used to watch old movies on the weekends, and to us, the Bogart and Bacall romance was a phenomenal one: because of their age difference - she was 20 and he was 45 - and because the world was clamoring constanly for them to make a relationship work in Hollywood. Bev left me, and I hurt for about two years. Finally, I said, 'Well, I've got to reach her somehow.' And the only equipment I had to reach her with was a song. So I wrote the song 'Key Largo.' It was a plea for her return. And she did We became engaged."

    The couple got married a year after the song was released, but split in 1995. They had two children, Aaron and Julian.
  • This was the only hit for the singer/songwriter Higgins, who started his career in the early '60s as the drummer in Tommy Roe's backup band, The Roemans. He was living in Atlanta and playing in clubs when he wrote "Key Largo." The song was released as a single in 1981 on Kat Family Records, a CBS imprint that existed for just a short time in the '80s (their biggest act: Major Lance). Higgins' debut album, Just Another Day In Paradise, was released the next year and included another movie-themed song in "Casablanca." The album's title track provided Higgins' only other Hot 100 hit: it went to #46 about two months after "Key Largo" peaked on the charts. In 1983 his song "When You Fall In Love (Like I Fell In Love With You)" from his second album Pirates And Poets reached #34 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

    Higgins carved out a niche in the "trop rock" genre with island songs in the Jimmy Buffett vein, but never again reached the charts, leaving him a one-hit wonder. He had some run-ins with the law, and in 1997 served 80 days in jail for a DUI arrest, but has released a steady stream of albums.
  • Higgins wrote this song with his producer, Sonny Limbo, who suggested incorporating the Bogart line, "Here's looking at you, kid," into the lyric.
  • This wasn't the only hit from 1981 based on movie stars: Kim Carnes hit #1 in the US with "Bette Davis Eyes" the same year.
  • "Key Largo" was a #1 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart.
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Comments: 9

So who sings the back up? The lady?, I always loved her addition.Bill - Us
What a wild and whacky film clip. My personal favourite is the way he sucks on the dart at the start. Then there is the really creepy way he puts his hand on the chick while he is singing "You were my leading La-ady". Next is the multiple shirt changes, and finally someone should have told Bertie that "sailing away" to Key Largo doesn't usually involve driving a 350 HP outboard motor, flat out, on a jet boat!Jack - Robertstown, Australia
Higgins followed "Key Largo" with "Casablanca" which I heard once. It was definitely no "Key Largo." Higgins also sang the theme to the sitcom "Bosom Buddies," which was a version of Billy Joel's "My Life."B.l. - Barry, Tx
I love this song,too.Jennifer Harris - Grand Blanc, Mi
When i was in my twenties, i had a beau, who said that was our song. Well i'm 68 years old, and it always gives me a thrill to remember, when i hear this song. Hearing it again makes me young again.Thelma - Deerfield, Nh
Very romantic...I LOVE it!Jd - East Bay, Ri
" we had it all!just like Bogie and Bacall"

.......who does not get that line stuck in their head??????
Susan - Westchestertonfieldville, Va
There are quotes from several Bogie films: 'Here's Looking at you kid" from Casablanca; "Play it again" is also from Casablanca. The point of the song is not to recreate the movie Key Largo, but to recreate the feelings that the singer had on evenings during "That first cold winter together", as they were "Trying so hard to stay warm". They spent those evenings "Watching those old movies", and began to feel a lot in comon with the characters in them. The verses detail what they had, with the second part of the chorus "Here's looking at you..." being the call for action. Let's "find it once again",an emotion that many couples, either split up, or still together can identify with.Greg - Shelbyville, Ky
"Here's lookin' at you kid" is not Bogie and Bacall in Key largo. It's Bogie and Ingrid Bergman in Casblanca. Fun song, but that's always bothered me. And, despite Bogie and Bacall's love of sailing in real life, they never "sailed away to Key Largo." They drove there.Guy - Woodinville, Wa
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