Written by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” tells a humorous tale of the city’s 1930 name change. The Four Lads recorded song 500 years after Constantinople became the capital of the Ottoman empire.
It wasn’t Jimmy Kennedy’s first geographically-themed song; the Irish songwriter was also famous for “Isle of Capri” and “South of the Border,” both recorded by Frank Sinatra. His globally-titled songs reflected his own travel: he lived in Ireland, England, Switzerland, Nigeria, and the US.
The song represents another one of those musical history dividing lines. Fans of…different age brackets will probably recognize either this version or its famous cover by They Might Be Giants on the 1990 album Flood.
This episode was co-written by Syracuse University student Andrew Frasier as part of the Sound Beat Class Partnership.