Old Cape Cod

"Old Cape Cod" is a song written by Claire Rothrock, Milton Yakus and Allan Jeffrey that was published in 1957. The single, as recorded by Patti Page, became a gold record, having sold more than a million copies. Hailed by Cape Cod natives as the "unofficial Cape Cod Anthem, if ever there was one,"[1] the song has been credited with "putting the Cape on the map" and helping to establish Cape Cod as a major tourist destination.[2]

"Old Cape Cod"
Sheet music front cover
Single by Patti Page
ReleasedApril 23, 1957 (1957-04-23)
GenreTraditional (classic) pop
Songwriter(s)Claire Rothrock
Milton Yakus
Allan Jeffrey
Producer(s)Vic Schoen
Patti Page singles chronology
"A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)"
"Old Cape Cod"
"I'll Remember Today"
Audio sample
"Old Cape Cod"


The song extols the virtues of Cape Cod as a leisure destination with each verse ending with the line "You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod." The nucleus of the song was a poem written by Boston-area housewife Claire Rothrock, for whom Cape Cod was a favorite vacation spot. "Old Cape Cod" and its derivatives would be Rothrock's sole evident songwriting credit. She brought her poem to Ace Studios, a Boston recording studio owned by Milton Yakus, who adapted the poem into the song's lyrics. His associate Allan Jeffrey wrote the music and a demo recording was made at Ace.[3]

Patti Page versionEdit

Recording and impactEdit

Patti Page had previously had a hit with the Milton Yakus composition "Go on with the Wedding" in 1956. However, according to Page, Claire Rothrock brought "Old Cape Cod" directly to her, approaching Page at a Boston nightclub where the singer was performing. Page says of the song: "I just fell in love with it." She recorded "Old Cape Cod" during a day trip to New York City, enabling her return to Boston in time for that evening's nightclub performance. The song was intended to be the B-side of her next single, "Wondering".[4]

The "Wondering"/"Old Cape Cod" single was released by Mercury Records on April 23, 1957 as catalog number 71101. Both tracks debuted on the Billboard magazine charts for the week ending June 3, and "Old Cape Cod" quickly became the dominant track, peaking at number three on Billboard's Most Played by Jockeys chart,[5] number eight on the Best Sellers In Stores chart and number seven on the Top 100 composite chart for 1957. "Old Cape Cod" spent 18 weeks on the Cash Box magazine Best Selling Singles list, peaking at number eight and holding there for three consecutive weeks.[6][7] The song was a hit in Australia, peaking at number 14.


Page had never visited Cape Cod until after the song had been released and became a hit. She later recalled her first visit to the Cape, saying:

I could not believe it when I finally did go, because I realized that [the song] had captured something about a place that I had had within me for so many years, but never knew. It's unexplainable to me, because it's so dear to me – I knew I had been here before [although] I hadn't.

— Patti Page, February 27, 2010[1][8]

Her last visit to Cape Cod was in February 2010, when she attended a ceremony held in her honor at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. Massachusetts state senator Robert O'Leary remarked:

There was something there, in that song – [for] a lot of us who grew up on the Cape, who lived on the Cape, who spent our summers here – [that we] always think of when we think of Cape Cod: we think of you, and that song. So, we really owe you a big 'thank you' for that.

— Massachusetts State Senator Robert O'Leary, February 27, 2010[8]

If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air,
Quaint little villages here and there,
You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.

— excerpted lyrics to "Old Cape Cod",
adapted by M. Yakus from the poem by C. Rothrock

Symbolizing Page's "contributions in the promotion of Cape Cod through the years and with her music", the ceremony culminated with the O'Leary's dedication and the unveiling of a new street sign, as the road leading to the Chamber of Commerce was renamed Patti Page Way.[8]

Following Page's death on January 1, 2013, the Chamber of Commerce credited the song's success with helping to establish Cape Cod as a major tourist destination:

We think she put the Cape on the map. Before the Kennedys, before our successful marketing ever did it, she did.

— Wendy Northcross, Executive Director, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce[2]

The song was referenced by Bruce Johnston in the lyrics of "Disney Girls", his nostalgic song about growing up in the 1950s: "Patti Page and summer days on old Cape Cod."

Other versionsEdit

If you like the taste of a lobster stew,
Served by a window with an ocean view,
You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.

— excerpted lyrics to "Old Cape Cod"

Other artists who have recorded "Old Cape Cod" include:

If you spend an evening, you'll want to stay,
Watching the moonlight on Cape Cod Bay,
You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.

— excerpted lyrics to "Old Cape Cod"

Soundtrack appearancesEdit


  1. ^ a b McDonald, Christine. "Patti Page left her Voice in Music, her Two-step in Tennessee but her Charisma on Cape Cod". Country Music Pride. Driftwood Media Group. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Feathers, Todd (2 January 2013). "Business booster credits Patti Page song with building image of 'Old Cape Cod'". Boston Globe. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  3. ^ The Hour September 22, 1983, p. 29
  4. ^ Desroches, Steve (29 November 2007). "'Old Cape Cod' turns 50". The Provincetown Banner. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 639.
  6. ^ "The CASH BOX Best Selling Singles, Week ending AUGUST 10, 1957". Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  7. ^ "The CASH BOX Best Selling Singles, Week ending SEPTEMBER 21, 1957". Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Friss, Gwenn (27 February 2010). "Patti Page takes center stage". Cape Cod Times. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2013. The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce ... is in the process of changing its mailing address from 5 Shootflying Hill Road to 5 Patti Page Way. Page will now be on navigational systems as well as radio stations ... (See photos and video in that article).
  9. ^ "Patti Page Sues Over Sound-Alike Commercial". Los Angeles Times. 9 January 1990. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  10. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "45cat.com". 45cat.com. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  12. ^ "Various - Songs Of New England". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  13. ^ "Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - The Sundowners". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  14. ^ "Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - The Sundowners". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  15. ^ "Jerry Vale - Have You Looked Into Your Heart". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  16. ^ "Bobby Rydell - Wild (Wood) Days". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  17. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 96.
  18. ^ "Robert Goulet - Summer Sounds". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  19. ^ "Jane Morgan - In My Style". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  20. ^ "Tennessee Ernie Ford - World Of Pop And Country Hits". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  21. ^ "Dottie West - Feminine Fancy". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  22. ^ Mark Bego Bette Midler: Still Divine Cooper Square Press (NYC) ISBN 978-0-8154-1232-8 p.59
  23. ^ "Four Piece Suit - Matinee Idylls". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  24. ^ "Mary Duff - Time After Time". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  25. ^ "The Puppini Sisters - The Rise & Fall Of Ruby Woo". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  26. ^ "Shirley Théroux* - Shirley Théroux". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  27. ^ "Shirley Theroux - Un Homme Est Dans Ma Vie". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-12-30.

External linksEdit