Credited on Green Shoe Studio's 'Oh Sweet Lorraine,' the song's writer bests Tony Bennett for an honor for the ages
An unassuming love letter-turned-song has become an historic hit, as "Oh Sweet Lorraine" by Green Shoe Studio featuring Jacob Colgan and Fred Stobaugh debuts on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 42. The touching song swells to 100,000 downloads sold (up from 6,000 the week before), according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Stobaugh, the song's writer, is 96 years old, making him the senior-most credited artist to appear on the Hot 100 in the chart's 55-year archives. Born on Aug. 22, 1917, Stobaugh bests Tony Bennett, who was 85 years and two months old when "Body and Soul," with Amy Winehouse, spent a week on the survey (No. 87; Oct. 1, 2011).
Beyond any records, however, "Lorraine" seems most meaningful for its subject matter.
Stobaugh wrote "Lorraine" for his wife of 72 years, who died in April, and entered it in Peoria, Ill.-based Green Shoe Studio's songwriting contest. As Green Shoe Studio CEO/producer Colgan explains in the official documentary video of the song, which has drawn 3 million YouTube views since its July 19 posting, "Lorraine" stood out at first simply for how Stobaugh submitted it.
"It's an online contest. People [were] supposed to upload their videos," Colgan says. "But, we received a manila envelope. Lo and behold, it was a letter from a 96-year-old man who said, 'I've written a song for my [late] wife.' Listening to the passion behind the lyrics, it was just so heartwarming."
Stobaugh remembers the song's origin. "Well, after she passed away, I was just sitting in the front room one evening by myself. It just [came] to me. I kept humming it. It just seemed like it fit her."
Moved by the song's touching backstory, Green Shoe Studio chose to record it. (The studio is named after Colgan's footwear of choice, well-worn green Converses, when he was in a band.) "We decided we were going to do this without even meeting Fred," says Colgan, who now talks to Stobaugh "every day." When he first called the song's writer to inform him of the plan, Stobaugh was moved to tears.
Listen to the track and watch a brief documentary below: