It was the kind of lilting, easygoing melody in ¾ time that almost everyone thought he had heard before, but no one could remember exactly where or when.
It had a German title, Fliege mit Mir in die Heimat (Fly with me to the home-land), and a man named Franz Winkler was listed as its composer. Some thought it came from an old German folk song. Whatever its origin, it had become a D.P. song and had swung through the concentration camps after the war. Last week, Fliege mit Mir, dolled up with new lyrics and a new name, Forever and Ever, was flying near the top of the U.S. hit parade.
Late last year, London Records found its German-language recording selling like hot cakes, decided it would sell even faster in English. Lyricist Malia Rosa, who is also May Singhi ("Ukulele Lady") Breen and Mrs. Peter (Deep Purple) De Rose, thought up simple words to match the simple tune ("Forever and ever, My heart will be true," etc.). Gracie Fields recorded it first, then Dinah Shore, Perry Como and Margaret Whiting, and within days it was a hit. Malia Rosa's explanation: "It's down to earth; it reeks with sincerity."