Now there was a song

ZZ Johnny Bond

Johnny Bond/photo submitted

By Doug Davis This week in 1949 the United States granted a $20 million dollar loan to Yugoslavia, Pittsburgh’s 480,00 0 U.M.W. members went on strike, John Cade published the results of lithium’s first clinical trial on mental patients and a singer/songwriter from Oklahoma wrote a song that would be recorded more than 100 times. According to Johnny Bond, until he wrote “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” he had written nothing but cowboy songs. Bond commented, “I was part of The Jimmy Wakely Trio and we were in California in 1949 trying to get on The Gene Autry Radio Show, “Melody Ranch.” While we were waiting on employment we didn’t have anything else to do except write songs. And I thought I might have better luck with a hillbilly love song.” “We had a song on the radio in Oklahoma that had the line, ‘I wonder where you are tonight.’ So I used that line as the idea for the song and wrote it from that. A lot of new songs have been written using that same melody because most people thought the song was an old public domain tune.” “Years later, an old man came up to me after a show and wanted me to listen to what he called his church song, which he thought was written around an old public domain tune. I hated to do it but I had to remind him that his church song was actually my melody composition. He was quite surprised and embarrassed when I told him but he seemed to feel better when I told him not to worry because I was not going to sue him.” Although “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight” never charted as a single, it has been recorded by dozens of artists and is included in dozens of albums. Johnny Bond was born Cyrus Bond in Enville, Oklahoma in 1915. He placed eleven songs on the country music charts from 1947 thru 1971. He was inducted into The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1999. Bond died in 1978 at age 63. (To subscribe to our free “Country Music Classics” email newsletter, send a blank email to:  country-music-classics-on@mail-list.com)

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