Song of the Day for September: To Know Him is to Love Him by The Teddy Bears | WGCU PBS & NPR for Southwest Florida

2022-09-09 19:20:14 By : Ms. Cherie Huang

Nobody is sure who started National Teddy Bear Day or why it is celebrated on September 9, but the story about how the popular toy got its name in 1902 is part of President Teddy Roosevelt’s DNA.

Roosevelt was an avid hunter, but he refused to shoot a bear during a Mississippi hunting trip. He didn’t like the way packs of dogs chased the prey, tiring them out and becoming easy targets for hunters lying in wait. Roosevelt’s guide clubbed Roosevelt’s bear and tied it to a tree for the president to make the kill. Roosevelt declined.

The story spread across the country. A cartoonist for the Washington Post drew a popular cartoon showing President Roosevelt and the bear.

Merchant Morris Michtom and his wife Rose saw the cartoon and got the idea to make stuffed bears. They put them in their window and called them "Teddy’s bear."

Phil Spector wasn’t talking about Teddy Roosevelt when he wrote the Song of the Day for his group The Teddy Bears. Instead, he was inspired by the words on his father’s tombstone, “To Know Him Was to Love Him.” He changed one word.

The song was released in September 1958. Dick Clark played it for the first time on “American Bandstand” on October 3. The Teddy Bears sang it on the show October 29. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December.

A variety of singers have covered the song, from Linda Ronstadt and Amy Winehouse to Peter and Gordon, Bobby Vinton and B.B. King.

Sheldon Zoldan is a former News-Press editor. He created the Song of the Day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen to it daily on Facebook.