The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34307   Message #462240
Posted By: GUEST,Les B.
14-May-01 - 04:48 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Don't Fence Me In (Cole Porter)
Subject: RE: Don't fence me in
Allan C., et al:

Cole Porter didn't write "Don't Fence Me In," he just knew a good song when he heard it and paid a rather naive Bob Fletcher a paltry sum for the song !!

Fletcher worked for the Montana Department of Highways, here in Helena, for several years. He's the one who's famous for writing the verbally colorful 'roadside history' plaques that dotted Montana highways for many years. (Until they were mostly removed in the 1980's because they were not all "politically correct" in reference to American Indians.)

When I worked at the MT Dept. of Highways about 16 years ago, I found several references to Fletcher's career, including his writing of "Don't Fence Me In" in old files.

He apparently sold the song to Porter (I believe in the 1930's) and since Porter "owned" it, he took credit for it. Later, after the song became a hit, Fletcher sought legal advice, and, after some negotiation with Porter's lawyers, he was co-credited with Porter as the song's creator.

The Montana Arts Council used to have an old, poor quality, home recorded tape of Fletcher performing an early version of the song, accompanied by an organ ! It certainly doesn't have the Pizazz that later versions do, but it was recognizable as "Don't Fence Me In" !

So it is Cole Porter via Bob Fletcher !