I admit it, I subscribe to a Pandora music station devoted to big band music. My dad played the saxophone, and as a child, I grew up listening not only to jazz, but also the crooning of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
In my adult life, I found the likes of Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Bublé. So, when an email came from a grandson about a lost big band love song written by a Missouri farm girl, of course, I dug a little deeper.
Driving along Missouri State Highway 100 between Washington and New Haven, it is easy to miss a small building that resembles the gas stations of yesteryear. Today, it is merely a house. But oh, if those walls could talk.
It once was owned by the Luecke family. The station’s specialty was roast beef sandwiches, and it was a popular spot for travelers or those fishing in nearby Boeuf Creek. It was owned by Edward and Maggie Luecke.
Their son Felix and his wife, Leona, lived in a small house right next door. Theirs is a love story that spans time, and it is depicted in a song.
“I’m Dreaming of No One But You” was written by Leona when she was a young woman living on a Missouri farm. Like Felix, she grew up in the countryside between New Haven and Washington.
Her muse was her future husband, Felix, who left home for World War II, according to her grandson Jacob Luecke. During their time apart, Leona wrote about missing him.
The song caught the attention of a famous Hollywood composer, who helped write the music. “I’m Dreaming of No One But You” was published, but never recorded. Over the years, the song was nearly forgotten.
Fortunately, while looking through a collection of old family papers, Jacob discovered the song and its sheet music. He was just 2 years old when his Grandma Leona died in 1984. He admits he didn’t know much about her, but he discovered she was a songwriter, which is a family tradition. “The first time I played the song, I could tell it was special,” he says.
Last year, Jacob set out to record the song in a big band style similar to the era of its writing. He worked with musicians from nine different countries to bring the song to life. Now, nearly 80 years later, the song has been professionally recorded. It was released Jan. 15, what would’ve been Leona’s 106th birthday.
I guess it is true there is a story wherever you go. You just have to slow down and look for it. And while you’re driving, turn up those big band tunes.
For more on Leona (Augustine) Luecke, visit leonasdream.com.