Old Cape Cod

"Old Cape Cod" is a song, written by Claire Rothrock, Milton Yakus, and Allan Jeffrey, and published in 1957. The single, as recorded by Patti Page, became a gold record, having sold over a million copies. Having been hailed by "Cape Codders" 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. The demo for "Old Cape Cod" was recorded at Ace, after Yakus adapted Rothrock's poem into the song's lyrics, and Yakus' associate Allan Jeffrey put it to music.[3]

Patti Page versionEdit

Recording and impactEdit

Patti Page had previously had a hit with a Milton Yakus composition, "Go on with the Wedding", in 1956. However, according to Page, Claire Rothrock herself brought "Old Cape Cod" 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", and 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. As "Wondering" had already been set to be Page's next release, "Old Cape Cod" was recorded with the intent of serving as "Wondering"'s B-side.[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 that same slot for three consecutive weeks.[6][7] Additionally, "Old Cape Cod" was a hit in Australia, peaking at number 14.


Page had never visited Cape Cod until after the song was released and had become 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, in which she attended a ceremony held in her honor at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, at which 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 Senator's dedication and unveiling of a new street sign: the road leading to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce was thus renamed "Patti Page Way".[8]

Following Page's death on January 1, 2013, the Cape Cod 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

  • "Old Cape Cod" was the subject of a 1990 lawsuit subsequent to a sound-alike version of the Patti Page hit being featured in a 1989 commercial for American Savings Bank. Page sued the advertising agency responsible for the commercial alleging that the commercial implied that Page herself endorsed American Savings Bank.[9]
  • Bing Crosby performed "Old Cape Cod" on his CBS Radio program in 1957,[10] the recording of which was released after his death. Also in 1957, Michael Holliday covered it for the UK market.[11] His version, which featured the Norrie Paramor Orchestra, failed to chart. The Norman Petty Trio also recorded "Old Cape Cod" in 1957, which version was originally featured on the Top 12 Vol 4 multi-artist compilation album and subsequently on Songs of New England a 1962 multi-artist compilation album.
  • In 1960 Susan Barrett recorded "Old Cape Cod" for her A Little Travelin' Music album: the track would be included on the 1994 multi-artist compilation Capitol Sings Coast to Coast. Also in 1960 instrumentalist Billy Vaughn included "Old Cape Cod" on his album Theme from 'The Sundowners' whose title track in its single release – which reached #51 as "The Sundowners" – featured "Old Cape Cod" as its B-side.
  • Jerry Vale had a 1963 single release of "Old Cape Cod" which bubbled under the Hot 100 with a #118 peak that summer; it was subsequently included on his 1964 album Have You Looked Into Your Heart.
  • Also in 1963 Bobby Rydell remade "Old Cape Cod" for his Wild (Wood) Days album.
  • In 1965 the Four Freshmen recorded a remake of "Old Cape Cod" to serve as B-side for the group's recording of the theme for the film Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. Neither side became a hit, but "Old Cape Cod" did reach #33 on the Easy Listening chart.[12] Also in 1965 recordings of "Old Cape Cod" were made by Robert Goulet for his album Summer Sounds and by Jane Morgan for her album In My Style, with Morgan's recording being issued as a single.

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"

  • Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded "Old Cape Cod" for his 1968 album release, Tennessee Ernie Ford's World of Pop and Country Hits. That same year, Dottie West recorded "Old Cape Cod" for her album Feminine Fancy, which mostly consisted of remakes of signature songs of well-known female singers, and also featured West's take on Patti Page's career record "Tennessee Waltz".
  • Bette Midler recorded "Old Cape Cod" for release on her 1972 debut album The Divine Miss M although the track – produced by Midler with Joel Dorn – was debuted in 1976 on Songs for the New Depression[13] from which it was issued as a single with a #36 peak on the Adult Contemporary Charts.
  • Anne Murray remade "Old Cape Cod" for Croonin' a 1993 album consisting of hit songs from the 1950s.
  • An instrumental version of "Old Cape Cod" was featured on the 1998 album Matinee Idylls recorded by Dean Cassell and Milt Reder of Super Genius under the name Four Piece Suit.
  • Mary Duff recorded "Old Cape Cod" for her 2006 album release Time After Time, the song being the first title in a "Patti Page medley" which subsequently features "With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming" and "Allegheny Moon".
  • In 2007 the Puppini Sisters recorded "Old Cape Cod" for their album The Rise & Fall Of Ruby Woo.

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

  • Beegie Adair
  • Thumbs Carllile
  • Wild Bill Davison
  • Don Lanphere
  • John Prine
  • Jimmie Rodgers
  • In 2008 there was a mid-tempo-version by "Buffalo Crooner" Mark Weber.
  • A Danish rendering of "Old Cape Cod" entitled "Der er bedst hos dig" was recorded by Ivan Meldgaard & the Four Jacks (da) in 1958. In 1967 Shirley Théroux (fr) recorded "Old Cape Cod" with French lyrics for her self-titled album, with the track also serving as B-side of her single "Un homme est dans ma vie".
  • A sample of Patti Page's recording formed the basis of Groove Armada's 1997 UK hit "At the River". The lines "If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air / Quaint little villages here and there," sung in Page's multi-tracked close-harmony, are repeated over and over, with the addition of synthesizer bass, slowed-down drums and a bluesy trombone solo to produce a chill-out track.

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"

  • American Idol finalist and Cape Cod native Siobhan Magnus covered the song and released it as a single in February 2013, honoring Patti Page who died earlier in the year. She released it on a limited edition vinyl 45 rpm single with a B side of her own: "Pure Inspiration", a song about bullying. 50% of the sales of that single went to benefit the Cape & Islands United Way, to set up a fund to support anti-bullying activities in schools on 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. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 96.
  13. ^ Mark Bego Bette Midler: Still Divine Cooper Square Press (NYC) ISBN 978-0-8154-1232-8 p.59

External linksEdit