If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake

Album: Radio Years (1950)
  • Bob Merrill was once dubbed the worst songwriter of all time by a critic, but clearly the public thought otherwise; in 1953 he had two number ones in the UK, one of which - his infamous "(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window?" - also held the number one spot in the United States for eight weeks. But before both of these he had a million seller with a novelty song which bequeathed the English language a new phrase. In the United States it was recorded by Eileen Barton.
  • In a personal communication with this website, Susan Ratcliffe, Editor of The Oxford Dictionary Of Phrase, Saying, And Quotation said of the phrase "so far as we can tell there are no obvious sources before the Merrill song in 1950".
    This is not quite true, a song with a similar title was published in the 1920s, but it is fair to say that Bob Merrill and his collaborators were responsible for the cultural reference. In November 2009, a copy of the Barton recording turned up on EBay; the single on the Mercury label is credited to Eileen Barton and the New Yorkers. The B Side was the bizarrely titled "Poco Loco In The Coco". The song was also recorded by Ethel Merman.
  • The sheet music held by the British Library credits "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake", by Al Hoffman, Bob Merrill and Clem Watts, Sung by Joy Nicholls, published by Chappell & Co of London at one shilling. Copyright 1950 by Robert Music Corp, New York, published by Robert Music Corp. "in co-operation with Orten Music Co." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above
  • This was the first solo hit for jazz singer Georgia Gibbs, who released her version just a couple months after Barton's in 1950. It stayed on the charts for six weeks and peaked at #21.

Comments: 1

  • Ted from Phoenix, AzThis song is one of the best reasons why rock and roll happened. Novelty or not, it was just too Caucasian-sounding for its own good!
see more comments

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

How "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss" Became Rock's Top ProverbSong Writing

How a country weeper and a blues number made "rolling stone" the most popular phrase in rock.

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."

Matthew Wilder - "Break My Stride"They're Playing My Song

Wilder's hit "Break My Stride" had an unlikely inspiration: a famous record mogul who rejected it.

Concert DisastersFact or Fiction

Ozzy biting a dove? Alice Cooper causing mayhem with a chicken? Creed so bad they were sued? See if you can spot the real concert mishaps.

Kim Thayil of SoundgardenSongwriter Interviews

Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.