The Fleetwoods – Come Softly to Me (1959 – Part 5)

Gary Troxel and Gretchen Christopher were nothing more than two teenagers with a shared love for music when they first composed the skeleton of what would become Come Softly to Me. The story goes that the former started humming some of the lyrics, while the latter noticed that it resembled a melody she had just written. Their pairing with Barbara Ellis resulted in the descriptively-named Two Girls and a Guy at first, and then in The Fleetwoods. With the acapella song already composed, only minimal overdubs were needed; even the percussion sounds are nothing more than Troxel rattling his keys.

The name was altered as well before finally being released – the head of the recording label they were signed to decided to add “to me” at the end of “come softly” even though those words never appear in the lyrics. He did so in order to avoid any possible sexual associations that would stop the song from receiving airplay. It all paid off as The Fleetwoods became one of those rather few groups whose debut single went all the way to the top of the charts.

Come Softly to Me spent 4 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100 before being dethroned by Dave “Baby” Cortez’s The Happy Organ.


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