Hey, hey Paula, I want to marry you
Hey, hey Paula, no one else will ever do…
Hey Paul, I’ve been waiting for you
Hey, hey, hey Paul, I want to marry you too…
An exchange of vows from both Paul and Paula. What a wonderful feeling it is to be in the same place and hear these words from your loved one. Just like Paul & Paula, these are heartfelt, romantically said and portrayed. It digs down to the heart, so poignant and magical.
“Hey Paula”: 1963 No. 1 Hit
Recorded by the singing duo Paul & Paula, “Hey Paula” is an American standard love song that hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 9, 1963. In addition, it peaked at number one on the Hot R&B Singles chart.
When the duo sang this on a local radio show, it got a great response that led to a record deal. The first version of the song was credited to “Jill & Ray,” but it became clear that for the sake of authenticity, the duo should be known as Paul & Paula. They had 2 more US Top 40 hits: “Young Lovers” and “First Quarrel.”
Behind Paul & Paula
Paul was the song’s writer, Ray Hildebrand, a student at Texas’ Howard Payne University, a Baptist institution in the city of Brownwood. Paula was Jill Jackson, the niece of the owner of the boarding house where Ray lived.
Hildebrand wrote the song, originally titled “Paul and Paula”, taking inspiration from the Annette Funicello hit “Tall Paul.”
Hildebrand and Jackson performed the song on a local radio station and the song soon became popular. They went to a studio in Fort Worth, Texas, and were fortunate enough to find a producer, Major Bill Smith. He recorded their version of the song and released it on his LeCam Records label, changing the name to “Hey Paula,” credited to Jill and Ray.
When the record became a success, it was picked up by the larger Philips Records, which changed the billing to Paul and Paula.
Ray had begun singing in church at an early age and started writing songs in college. He was from Joshua and was attending Howard Payne on a basketball scholarship. One fateful day, a teammate asked Ray for a favor.
In an interview, Ray recalled,
“Russell Berry asked me to write a song for his girlfriend. Her name was Paula.”
Writing a song on behalf of someone else proved difficult, and his first try didn’t work, so Ray started over. He’d broken up with his girlfriend, Judy Hendricks, and when he started composing again, his feelings for her poured out. Winston Hughes, another teammate, heard Ray’s work in progress and offered some crucial advice.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you have the girl sing back to the guy?’ ” Ray said.
But what guy’s name should he use? Ray remembered a song he’d heard many times that summer—“Tall Paul” by Annette Funicello, which reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Paul and Paula? It worked.
Sweethearts. Watch Paul & Paula perform their hit love song “Hey Paula.”