YouTube is thought to be for the younger people of the world. The site’s channels are full of youthful denizens who have oodles of talent; nigahiga, kevjumba, Jenna Marbles, communitychannel aka Nat Tran, and scores of other creative under-thirties who have millions of fans and followers. They and others like them, are the “stars” of YouTube. Fred Stobaugh is the newest star on YouTube and all because the 96 year-old widower wrote a song to his late wife entitled Sweet Lorraine.
Fred became a YouTube star after he entered a singer/songwriter competition that was put on by a local Peoria, Illinois recording studio, Green Shoe Studio. The entries for the competition were meant to be recorded and then uploaded via YouTube to be considered in the contest.
Mr Stobaugh read about the local contest in his newspaper and was galvanised into writing a song about his wife of 72 years, Lorraine, who died April this year. He sat down and wrote the song in long-hand and when he finished his song, he wrote an accompanying letter and sent it to the studio.
In his entry letter he wrote that, “he wasn’t a musician and had only written two songs in his life.” He then wrote that he did not sing because it “would scare people.”
Fred did not win the competition, but his love for his late wife and his song about her touched the studio when they read his song and letter. The studio decided to do two things. Make a documentary about the 96 year-old widower and his love for his late missus and to set his song to music. The end result has made his song, Sweet Lorraine, and 96 year-old Fred Stobaugh a YouTube star.
The studio explained on their website that Fred touched their hearts and they wanted to help him bring his song, Sweet Lorraine to live. They matched Fred’s words to music and had their studio singers record the song. They also brought Mr Stobaugh in to record his own version of his song.
The studio made their documentary telling the Fred’s story along with his song and posted it on YouTube. The video, which includes Fred singing his own words has gone viral with over well over one million views and rising.
How can you not love a song that starts with the lyric, Oh, Sweet Lorraine, I wish we could do the good times all over again. Oh sweet Lorraine, life only goes around once but never again.”
Green Shoe Studios said in a blog post to their website that the video about Fred’s song and his story has, “spread like wildfire across the world. What a blessing it has been working with Fred.” The studio also said on their website that they loved the, “joy in his eyes when he realizes people are loving his song and are touched by his and Lorraine’s love story.”
In the documentary, which you can watch below, Stobaugh relates that he first met his future wife when she was working as a carhop at the A&W root beer stand in Peroria. Her job in 1938 meant that she took orders to and from cars. Fred reveals in the video that, “She was just the prettiest girl I ever saw.”
The two dated for two years and then married in 1940. Sadly just before their wedding anniversary this year, Lorraine died aged 91. Fred Stobaugh entered the contest for YouTube so he could show how much he loved his late wife. He did not count on touching enough heart strings to make him a YouTube star at 96. You can help Fred by purchasing his song from iTunes. You can watch the video below and we wager that you will soon be reaching for the tissues.
By Michael Smith