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

Album: Radio Years (1950)

Songfacts®:

  • 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: 2

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1950 {April 1st} "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake" by Eileen Barton peaked at #1 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Best-Selling Pop Singles chart...
    For the two weeks prior to reaching #1 it was at position #2, then for the four weeks it succeeded at #1 it once again was at position #2...
    Between 1950 and 1954 the Brooklyn, NY native had ten records on the Billboard's national charts, two made the Top 10 with the above "If I Knew You Were Comin', I'd've Baked A Cake" being her biggest hit...
    Besides "If I Knew You Were Coming, I'd Have Baked A Cake", her other Top 10 record was "Cry", it peaked right at #10 in 1951...
    She also had one Top 20 record, "Pretend" at #17 in 1953...
    Eileen Barton passed away at the age of 81 on June 27th, 2006...
    May she R.I.P.
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Best-Selling Pop Singles' Top 10 on April 1st, 1950:
    At #2. "Music! Music! Music!" by Teresa Brewer
    #3. "The Third Man Theme" by Anton Karas
    #4. "It Isn't Fair" by Sammy Kaye, with vocals by Don Cornell
    #5. "Peter Cottontail" by Gene Autry
    #6. "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy" by Red Foley
    #7. "There's No Tomorrow" by Tony Martin
    #7. "My Foolish Heart" by Gordon Jenkins, with vocals by Sandy Evans
    #9. "Sentimental Me" by the Ames Brothers
    #10. "Peter Cottontail" by Mervin Shiner
  • 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!
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