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Pat Ballard, Songwriter of Troy PA
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Date written on clipping may be Oct. 26, 1958 but not sure of year
Orin P. Ballard by Pat Ballard 1958
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 Native of Troy, Pa.


Pat Ballard 61, nationally-known songwriter and author of Troy, Pa., died about midnight Wednesday at the Medical Arts Center Hospital in New York City. He entered the hospital Monday afternoon for treatment after a heart attack.

Pat's song hits included "Mister Sandman,""I Get So Lonely,""So Beats My Heart for You,""Variety Is the Spice of Life,""Any Ice Today, Lady?,""Say that Your'e Sorry," and "Just a Faded Rose." He also composed "Love Is Mine," which was the theme of the Kostelanetz-Chesterfield program.

He is survived by his wife, the former Hilda Gramlich, a dress designer. Funeral services will be held in Troy Saturday. He was a member of the Episcopal Church in Troy.

An original member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), he also wrote and composed the operetta "The Princess of Virginia," widely performed in high schools. He was in New Yprk to attend an ASCAP meeting.

His show business column, "Pat's Chats," was widely read in The Sunday Telegram.

Written in Troy

Two of Ballard's biggest hits came after he "retired" from the music business and returned to his native Troy in June 1953. They were, "I Get So Lonely" (Oh Baby Mine) and "Mister Sandman."

"I Get So Lonely" was recorded in California by the Four Knights for Capitol Records and put in the vault early in 1953. It was finally released just before the Christmas rush of holiday songs that year and by January 1954, the charts that gauge such things reported lively acceptance by the song in various sections of the country, principally the Midwest.

Each week the song climbed in popularity and by April it was one of the nation's smash hits. It was recorded on five records other than the original.

An unusual thing happened to this song, which was the 249th song Pat Ballard had published since his first success in 1925, "Any Ice Today, Lady?" The original tile took no notice of a "Lead-in" phrase that read "Oh Baby Mine." Many stories reported that customers were asking for a song of that name which necessitated a new printing of copies to include the phrase in the title.

'Sandman" Catches On

The success of this song proded Ballard to try again and he came up with "Mr. Sandman" in about August 1954. At the time he took the manuscript to Curley Johnson of Elmira, whose orchestra tried it and found it well received.

Ballard sent it to his publisher but nothing happened. "Mister Sandman" as sung by Vaughn Monroe was on the other side of "Mombo" and everybody wanted to Mombo, it seemed.

"But suddenly," Pat recalled in November of that year, "Archie Blyer decided to make the record with the Chordettes." The song was an overnight smash and a hit in sales at the music counters.

Pat- Christened Francis Drake Ballard- was the great-great grandson of Orrin P. Ballard, a pioneers and leading citizen of Troy. Pat's father, Frank, was a well-known jeweler-optician, and a fine golfer at the Elmira Country Club. His mother, Lucilla, was one of the area's distinguished sopranos, singing at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Troy and at many musicales in the area.

Hired Ted Weems

Pat attended Troy High and played the drums at Rorick's Glen before going to the University of Pennsylvania where he organized "the first college Dixieland band." Ted Weems was his trombonist. He wrote for two editions of the Mask and Wig arsity Shows at the University.

Pat played the clarinet in an orchestra which, in 1919, made the first talking picture featuring instrumental music. When the band broke up, some of the musicians went with young Fred Waring.

Ballard was co-writer of the book, lyrics and music for the musical comedy "Rah Rah Daze" introduced by Waring in 1930. His top song in the show was "So Beats My Heart for You."

In addition to songwriting and producing shows, Pat was music editor for College Humor for several years, did scripting in Hollywood (for Fred Astaire), and wrote fiction for newspapers and magazines. In 1951 he wrote about 50 songs for children and the resulting series of "Little John Records" sold over five million in nationwide syndicate stores and a special Christmas series was introduced in 1953.

Don Stanton sent in these 1960 photos of Hilda Gramlich and Pat Ballard
Pat Ballard died; a Song Writer, 61
Author of “Mr. Sandman,” “So beats by Heart for You” – Wrote Radio Scripts
Francis Drake Ballard, a song composer and radio writer known professionally as Pat Ballard, died Wednesday of a heart attack at the Medical Arts Center Hospital, where he had been a patient since Monday. He was 61 years old and made his home in Troy, PA. Mr. Ballard, who began writing in what he called the “era of beautiful nonsense,” the Nineteen Twenties, was prolific. He wrote scores of songs, radio scripts and productions, and in 1948 even went so far as to develop “The song Machine.” It was a device used in a successful radio program of the same name by which people dialed their concept of a tune. Among his song credits were “Mr. Sandman,” “So Beats My Heart For You,” “Say that You’re Sorry,” and “Just a Faded Rose.” He came into contact with the entertainment world at the University of Pennsylvania where he wrote Mask and Wig Varsity shows of that time. He was the author of articles and magazine stories on music and song writing and served as music editor of College Humor for two years. When Fred Waring, the bandleader, was first starting his career, Mr. Ballard became associated with him and wrote many of his college shows. Rare violins were a passion with him. He became interested when as a young man he found a violin marked "Stradivarius," which a dealer declared to be a fake worth $5. Delving into the subject, he eventually wrote two books, "The Old Violin Market Survey" and "The Appreciation of Rare Violins." He owned as many as fifty violins at a time. He also composed "The Princess of Virginia," an operetta widely performed in high schools across the country. Mr. Ballard was a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers since 1930, and he was recently made a member of the Writers Advisory Committee of that group. Surviving is his widow, the former Hilda Gramlich.
New York Times Obituary
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 30 JAN 2005
By Joyce M. Tice
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