My latest entry in Scott Parker’s series of Forgotten Music is a song that dates back almost half a century. ‘Waiting for Charlie to Come Home’ was recorded by Etta James and Jane Morgan when first written, but it was never a hit, and it might have faded from sight completely but for a couple of things.
The words were written by Bob Hilliard, a terrific lyricist who died more than 40 years ago, but was responsible for some great songs, including Any Day Now, Please Stay and Mexican Divorce, as well as comic tunes like Three Wheels on My Wagon. He could do humour or high drama equally well.
But the reasons for the song’s survival are twofold. One, it comes from Burt Bacharach’s back catalogue, and Burt’s longevity has helped the song to find fresh life, most recently in jazzier versions by two fine European artistes - Traincha, from Holland, and the Italian Karima. And two, it is quite simply a very good song.