‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ songwriter Paul Vance has died

by Ricardo Johnson

Paul Vance, the songwriter behind ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ and more pop classics has died at the age of 92.

Vance – real name Joseph Paul Florio – was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 4, 1929. His songwriting partnership with Lee Pockriss produced more than 300 songs including the aforementioned 1960 worldwide hit ‘Itsy Bitsy…’ and other chart-topper ‘Catch A Falling Star’, which was performed by Perry Como and released in 1957.

‘Itsy Bitsy…’ sold more than 20 million copies and reached the Top 10 in the UK originally. In 1990 it achieved the UK Number One in a version devised by Andrew Lloyd Webber that was sung by Timmy Mallett.

Vance and Pockriss also wrote novelty tracks including The Detergents’ ‘Leader Of The Laundromat’, which was a parody of the Shangri-Las’ 1964 Number One pop hit ‘Leader Of The Pack’, as well as Billy Thornhill’s ‘What’s Going On in the Barn’.

Other successes followed in the ’70s with hits including Clint Holmes’ ‘Playground In My Mind’ and David Geddes’ ‘Run Joey Run’, before Vance retired from music at the start of the ’80s to pursue a career in harness race horses.

Singer-songwriter Paul Vance has died age 92 in Florida

Paul Vance wrote the song "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" which became a hit in 1960

The song epitomized California surf culture in the era of The Beach Boys#1960s #History pic.twitter.com/BAzOrKCHoZ

— Retro Tech Noir (@RetroTechNoir) June 5, 2022

Vance’s wife Margie (née Curte), who spent her later years needing full-time care after being hit by a car, died in 2012. The songwriter is survived by a son and two daughters.