The Hangman – 1959


And a hangman wants to be loved like any other man

The Hangman (Burt Bacharach & Hal David)

The song is sometimes called “Theme from The Hangman,” a title which might suggest that it was in the soundtrack of the 1959 Paramount film of that name, and as a major theme. This doesn’t seem to have been the case. Serene Dominic and indicate that it was “inspired by” the film. They suggest that it was composed after viewing the completed film, which premiered on 5 March 1959 in New York City, over three months before its general release in the US in June 1959.

1959 Hangman-John Ashley-Dot 45-15942

John Ashley — released on 14 April 1959 on the single Dot 45-15942, b/w “The Net” (Bacharach & David); both sides arranged and conducted by Burt Bacharach


Cole Summers — The name is one of the many pseudonyms used by author, music critic, enterprising video interview show host, recording and music video artist Serene Dominic.

Dominic claims that the fictional Summers is a Country Music Hall of Famer. He indicates that this track was the B-side of “Scranton,” which he claims was a #27 Billboard pop hit in or around 1969. Of course, the name Cole Summers cannot be found in the list of Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, and I’ve yet to find any mention of a country hit or any hit song titled “Scranton.”* The single Capitol Records 2955, that Dominic associates with his recording of “Scranton,” not only doesn’t include that title on either side, but it’s a Nat King Cole single, featuring one of the versions of “The Christmas Song” that he recorded and released.

The name, history, and single sleeve are a hoax, but the recordings are real and this one is pretty good.

Aside from John Ashley’s 1959 recording, Serene Dominic’s recording (as Cole Summers) is the only other one that I’m aware of. Dominic wrote the comprehensive Burt Bacharach, Song by Song: the ultimate Burt Bacharach reference for fans, serious record collectors, and music critics (2003).

Cole Summers (Serene Dominic) — date unknown


* A song titled “Send My Picture To Scranton, Pa.” was written by Bacharach & David. A recording of the song by B. J. Thomas was released in June 1970 as the B-side of “I Just Can’t Help Believing” on the single Scepter SCE-12283. It is also found on Thomas’s 1970 album Everybody’s Out Of Town, Scepter SPS-582, SPS 582.


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