ALBANY, Ore. — We’ve all had some catchy tune stick in our head that follows us around for days at a time.
Pesky tunes like Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe through the tulips,” the mellow “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole or the rowdy “My Maria” by Brooks and Dunn.
We hum them in the shower, sing them while driving to and from 60 years in the making the office and they lull us to sleep — or keep us awake — at night.
But Lebanon resident Tony Hayden has kept a tune started by his friend Robert Morgan alive for more than a half-century, and with the help of his friend and composer Suzannah Doyle of Corvallis, Ore., and music producer Kevin Gershan of Los Angeles, Morgan’s “Let’s Talk Love” is now a lively music video.
“Tony had memorized as much of the song as he could,” Doyle said of how the 60-year journey from a ditty to music video transpired.
Doyle said she and Hayden have been friends for nearly 20 years and he told her about the song at a birthday party.
“I put chords to it, fixed words and in 2012, we charted it out,” Doyle said.
The story actually began many years before, in the winter of 1959, when Hayden met Morgan at the U.S. Army Information School in Ft. Slocum, N.Y.
Hayden was in the public information school and Morgan was studying radio broadcasting. They became fast friends — with a shared love of music — and Morgan would entertain other soldiers by performing on the piano.
In their off duty hours, the pair would travel into nearby Manhattan to visit jazz nightclubs.
It was at Fort Slocum that Morgan shared the beginnings of “Let’s Talk Love” with Hayden, a tune he has never forgotten.
They later were stationed at Fort Ord, Calif., where Morgan became a popular disc jockey, a profession that followed him even out of the service. He would go on to become famous at radio stations in southern California, earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He died in 1998 at the age of 60. Hayden’s and Doyle’s efforts have been with the blessing of Morgan’s widow, Shelley.
Hayden came back to the mid-Willamette Valley and had a long career in photography as owner of the Aloha Photographic Studio and Gallery in Lebanon, Ore., and was chief photographer at the Democrat-Herald.
He never forgot his friend or his friend’s catchy tune.
“I wish the song was longer and I often wonder how Bob would have finished it, or wrapped it up,” Hayden said.
Doyle said that in 2012, with Shelley’s blessing, she published and copyrighted the song.
That same year, a music supervisor for CBS heard the tune and Kevin Gershan of CBS Music hired studio musicians and had the song professionally recorded at a studio in West Hollywood.
Gershan then sent it out as an e-Christmas card that same year.
“I got busy for a few years and didn’t follow up much until in 2020 when Tony suggested we make a video. I asked my daughter, who went to film school, to gather images and make a slide show as a demo. We thought we might be able to pitch it to a big band style singer crooner.”
“It’s a hoot, a big band-like standard in a crooner’s style,” Doyle said.
Here are the lyrics to “Let’s Talk Love.”
“We’ve been talking for hours about the birds and the flowers and the great tunes of Rodgers and Hart but they’re much much too boring, please be less deploring and Let’s Talk Love.
“We’ve been talking like parrots bout the relative merits of Picasso, martinis and jazz, but they’re much much too boring so please be less deploring and Let’s Talk Love.”
“We’ve been all up in arms over nothing, we’ve wasted our breath and our fun, let’s start sighing some sighs and specialize and limit our topics to one. Let’s stop trying to kid about the ego and id, let’s give old psychology a shove, make sense if you please like the birds and the bees and Let’s Talk Love. Let’s Talk Love.”
Morgan was an Ohio native. When he retired due to health reasons, radio and TV personality Dick Clark narrated a retrospective on his life and career. Morgan earned Billboard magazine’s Air Personality of the Year award in 1967 and also earned numerous other national awards including being elected unanimously to the Ohio Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.
Samples of his work are on display both nationally and internationally.
Doyle has performed at the White House, performed on 23 albums and co-hosts the monthly Corvallis Ukulele Cabaret community sing-alongs.
Her work can be heard in productions world-wide, including animated films, Network TV, PBS, video games, and at Legoland.