Many songs have been written about San Diego, including such forgotten gems as “San Diego, My Lovely Lady by the Sea,” by Frankie Laine, and “They Go to San Diego,” by Mel Tormé. From 1973 to 1983, KGB-FM even released a series of eight compilation albums, Homegrown, featuring nothing but songs about the city and its neighborhoods. But as of now, the area has no official tune. Songwriter Ben Levin and singer Stellita Lindgren of the Corvelles would like to change that with Levin’s song “Old San Diego.”
“It always got to me that New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Kansas City, Miami, and San Francisco all had city songs – and we didn’t,” says Levin, who has been here since 1961. (Lindgren spent “most of her life” in Peoria, Illinois.)
Levin approached Lindgren at a Corvelles show, and they recorded the song at the Spotless studios in Ocean Beach.
(The Corvelles can be heard daily on KUSI-TV singing the morning-show jingle, “Good morning, San Diego.”)
Levin’s “Old San Diego” is decidedly old school, with a ’70s lounge feel to it and lyrics to match. The song offers up a picture-postcard view of the city, with nary a mention of anything topical in the song: “The golden sands/ sparkle and shine/ make the day glow/ in old San Diego/ my place in the sun.”
“I’m hoping the song really becomes a classic like ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ or ‘New York, New York,’ ” says Levin.
Lindgren’s hopes for the song are closer to home.
“I’m trying to get it to the mayor and see about getting it approved as a San Diego theme song,” Lindgren says. As to that possibility, the mayor’s office did not return calls before this column went to press.
– Bart Mendoza