Where The Boys Are

Album: Where the Boys Are Soundtrack (1960)
Charted: 5 4

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Howie Greenfield and Neil Sedaka, this was the title song from the movie of the same name starring George Hamilton.
  • Thanks to Rich Podolsky's book Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear, the full story of this song can now be told:

    Producer/director Joe Pasternak came to this film from an acclaimed career, starting with an Oscar nomination for "Best Picture" for his 1936 Three Smart Girls, also a musical comedy with Deanna Durbin. But he didn't want to accept female lead Connie Francis' recommendation of Howie Greenfield and Neil Sedaka. He had a song-writing team from Brooklyn. Pasternak grumbled when Francis assured him that Sedaka and Greenfield were the ones who had written hits for her previously, so he gave them a week to produce results.

    When Greenfield was told of the project, he was less than thrilled. In his phone call with Connie Francis, he said, "What kind of stupid title is that? Who can write a song with a title like 'Where The Boys Are'?"

    In 1960, there was neither the Internet, nor FAX machines, nor Federal Express, so when Greenfield and Sedaka wrote the song, they had a friend who was an airline stewardess deliver it to Francis in Fort Lauderdale. They actually cut two demo versions of songs, and let Pasternak pick the one he liked better.

    Producers Al Nevins and Don Kirshner, of Aldon Music, had Greenfield and Sedaka under contract to them at the time of "Where The Boys Are." Since this was the first time a song of theirs had made it into a film, Kirshner thought that they deserved a screen credit, too. So, against Nevins' better council (not wanting to jinx the gig), Kirshner boldly picked up the phone and spoke with producer Pasternak. This is why the credits at the end of the film, listing the songs, read "Words by Howard Greenfield, Music by Neil Sedaka, Courtesy Nevins-Kirshner."
  • To this day, many of our spring-break-in-Fort-Lauderdale tropes are seeded in this film. Hollywood released a series of "beach party" films following this, including Beach Party (1963), Pajama Party (1964), Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). Where The Boys Are was released in the winter, inspiring many snow-bound college students to vacation in sunny Florida as soon as the weather warmed.

    For you film geeks, some trivia: The film is actually based on a novel, by Glendon Swarthout. Pasternak wisely decided to only make the story about the first half of the novel, since the second half has the priciples decide to smuggle guns to Cuba and into the hands of Fidel Castro! This would have had bad political overtones, since Castro did indeed win his revolution by the time the film came out and US-Cuba relations immediately soured.

    One more: Francis never attended the premiere of the film, stating that she just didn't like how she was cast. Even by 2001, when she attended the Provincetown International Film Festival where a new print of the film was being shown, she cracked, "I've got some nerve being at a film festival!"
  • Francis didn't like the version that Pasternak chose for the film. "I thought the first version said a lot more in the lyrics. It was a totally different song, lyrically and musically," she told DISCoveries Magazine. Unfortunately, there's no chance of a rare recording being dug up because Francis never recorded that version.

Comments: 6

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 28th 1960, the movie "Where The Boys Are" opened in theaters across the U.S.A.
    One month later on January 16th, 1961 the theme song entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on March 20th, 1961 it peaked at #4 (for 1 week) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100 (with five of those weeks in the Top 10)...
    Ms. Francis recorded the song in six different languages; German, French, Japanese, Italian, Neapolitan, and Spanish. And as a result it reached #1 in fifteen countries...
    The record's B-side, "No One", also charted, it peaked at #34 on February 27th, 1961 and stayed on the Top 100 for 8 weeks...
    Ms. Francis, born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, celebrated her 75th birthday sixteen days ago on December 12th.
  • Rich from Portsmouth, Nh...it was 1962...at my first "sock hop" (cotillion), this was the song that played as I wrapped my arms around a new waist..."gollee!"
  • Williamson Henderson from Manhattan, Ny"Where The Boys Are" is still being performed by Miss Connie Francis nearly 50 incredible years later!!!!! During that song, the production showed film clips from the film "WTBA" on two huge outdoor movie screens. To show how she's still up with the times, Connie introduced the song as the "Gay National Anthem"! It's true, it still is! Queen Connie is in fine voice, now a grand diva, and the timeless song has even greater appreciation. The orchestra was phenomenal and clearly in love performing with Miss Francis. At the 2009 "Brooklyn Seaside Summer Series" in NYC, there were five standing ovations for Connie, including over 7,000 people giving her stand-up kudos for her beautiful performance of "Where The Boys Are".
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaThe backround vocal parts created by Stan Applebaum are fantastic!
    Connie also "pulls an emotional sound with her voice....(wonderful)
  • Andre from The Bronx, NyThe "songfact" forgot to mention that, besides GH, the movie "Where The Boys Are"" also starred (drumroll).... Connie Francis! She didn't just sing it.

    In a separate entry, I agree with Mark from Ohio that "Boys" is one of the finest movie vocals ever made. It is absolutely beautiful and convincing. -- Dre
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhOne of the finest movie vocals ever made. Connie Francis is magnificent.
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