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Covered Classics: Alex Pangman, 'K-K-K-Katy'

Ron Skinner

Covered Classics unites great Canadian songs with great Canadian artists. This month, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame takes us back in time with a cover of the famous First World War song, "K-K-K-Katy," performed by jazz chanteuse Alex Pangman.

Arguably one of the most famous “stuttering songs” of all time, "K-K-K-Katy" was written in 1917 by Geoffrey O’Hara from Chatham, Ont. The song tells the story of Jimmy, a brave soldier who becomes tongue-tied with nerves when confronted with a beautiful girl. The "Katy" referred to in the song was Katherine Richardson of Kingston, Ont., a friend of O’Hara’s sister.

This universal theme was sure to become a hit, and once released by music publisher Leo Feist in 1918, the song quickly took off, eventually selling 1.5 million copies of the sheet music and becoming an international hit for Billy Murray. "K-K-K-Katy" became known as a goodbye song and was sung from coast to coast by the Canadian, U.S. and British troops overseas.

To celebrate "K-K-K-Katy"'s induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Covered Classics paired the song with Juno Award nominee Pangman. The singer, known for her faithful renditions of early 20th century jazz, brings a swinging lift to this First World War classic and ushers the song into the 21st century.

Pangman on the importance of "K-K-K-Katy":

Pangman on what's inspiring about "K-K-K-Katy":