San Fernando Valley, the song

The tune “San Fernando Valley” was written by Gordon Jenkins and appeared, sung by Roy Rogers, in the 1943 Republic Pictures western by the same name. It was Bing Crosby’s rendition, however, that enticed war-weary GI’s with the promise of a mythical place. “San Fernando Valley” hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart on April 29, 1944.

Jenkins, who lived in Sherman Oaks, never felt the song was one of his best. He was a composer-arranger-conductor who wrote for popular orchestra leader Benny Goodman. Jenkins later became the musical director at Decca Records. After moving to Capitol Records he worked with Frank Sinatra and did the arrangement for Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love.”

Before his death in 1984, at age 73, Jenkins expressed wonder that “San Fernando Valley” had any tug at all on the World War II generation. The lyrics never actually say anything positive about the Valley, except that the singer yearns to go there. Of course, it helps when the singer is the most popular crooner of his day.

Once the war ended, about a year after the song reached No. 1, plenty of Americans took Bing’s advice and took a trip to California to make the Valley their home.

The lyrics

Oh I’m packin’ my grip and I’m leavin’ today,
cause I’m taking a trip California way
I’m gonna settle down and never more roam,
and make the San Fernando Valley my home.

I’ll forget my sins, I’ll be makin’ new friends,
where the West begins and the sunset ends
Cause I’ve decided where yours truly should be
and it’s the San Fernando Valley for me.

I think that I’m safe in statin’,
she will be waitin’ when my lonely journey is done
And kindly old Rev’rend Thomas made us a promise,
he will make the two of us one

So I’m hittin’ the trail to the cow country,
you can forward my mail care of R.F.D.,
I’m gonna settle down and never more roam
and make the San Fernando Valley my home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
19 × 18 =