INDIAN LAKE – The following letter should remove the doubt in many of our local inhabitants’ minds as to whether or not last summer’s hit song, “Indian Lake,” sung by the Cowsills, was about the local Indian Lake in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. Indian Lake’s Post-Star correspondent, Miss Kimberly Smith, wrote Tony Romeo, writer of the song, and asked him a number of questions which were answered fully in his letter to her.
“You letter was forwarded to me this morning (It is a delight, incidently.)
“Not only is the Hamilton County Indian lake the one I wrote about, but I happen to have been up there las summer and shook a few warm hands around the Chamber of Commerce. The Geandreau family was most kind to me.
“You see, my home town is Watervliet, down in Albany County. So I’ve known about the Lake since high school.
“Why did I write it?
“The Cowsill family, familiar with my work, asked me to do a song for them. It was exactly a year ago this week I sat at the piano trying to pick out a melody to suit their free fresh style. I figured the song would eventually be recorded and released by Memorial Day, would have air-play all summer, so why not write a summer song?
“It would be called “Lakewood Drive” . . . .cuz that’s where I headin’ and that’s where she live and we’ll spend a day . . . O at some beach or lake . . .
“But where? I got to the chorus and needed a triple syllable. Da-da-da lake is the scene you should make with your little one.
“I actually got out my Atlas and scanned the Adirondack region for the name of a lake . . . and there it was . . . Of course. It would be fantastic Indian Lake.
“I did a little patching up on the verses, kept Lakewood Drive in, and added Quakertown Ridge because it was infectious sounding and almost too authentic to be questioned.
“I was ecstatic with the title and the idea. I called my publisher and Bill and Bob Cowsill at nine o’clock the next morning. Made a demonstration record at eleven, got it to them by three, rehearsed with them at seven and recorded it the next day. We all loved it and felt we had a hit.
“The Cowsills asked if there was really an Indian Lake. Little did they know (or did I) that within one month we would be inundated with letters and cards and telegrams asking if it was Indian Lake in Pennsylvania or our Indian lake in Utah.
“We set them straight folks and before you know they had their maps out looking for the county Hamilton in upper New York State.
By mid July, we had the most played, the most heard, the best selling song in the nation. Jukeboxes blared it out (and still do) song sheets sold like crazy . . . . there were even band arrangements (Hey … I’ll send you one …. You could all mark in national parades touting the one and only original INDIAN LAKE BAND)
“It was a worldwide hit . . . . number 1 in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and all of Europe.
“Received a gold record last Christmas, and since then sold another million copies. (We are now at 2 ¼ million)
“Recently The Dodge Corporation has negotiated to rent usage of the song for one year, making it the most lucrative copyright since Up, Up and Away.
“Alas, dear Kim, I cannot fantom how many plaques, or awards or keys to cities we had had withdrawn upon the bestower’s learning it was not their INDIAN LAKE the writer had in mind. Invitations to weekends, special days etc. cards and letters poured in from Montana, Utah, Virginia, my most prized of which is the one from you and your community.