Allentown Jail

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"Allentown Jail"
Single by The Lettermen
B-side "Two Brothers"
Released 1963
Format 7" single
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Irving Gordon
The Lettermen singles chronology
"Heartache Oh Heartache"
(1963)
"Allentown Jail"
(1963)
"Where or When"
(1963)

"Allentown Jail" is a folk-style song. Written by Irving Gordon, it tells the story of a man who is caught stealing a diamond for his girlfriend and ends up in the Allentown jail.

In 1951, Jo Stafford recorded this song. It was released as a single on Columbia Records.

The song became popular in the folk scene. The Kingston Trio recorded a version in 1962 with plans of releasing it as a single, but the single never came to fruition. Their version has since been released on various CD compilations of their works.

In 1963, a more harmonic arrangement was performed by The Lettermen and released as a single. This version incurred some success, but only a minor degree.

Other artists who recorded this song include The Seekers, The Springfields (folk group of which Dusty Springfield was a member), Billy Strange and British singers Lita Roza and Karen Young. There is also a French adaptation of the song, "Les prisons du roy", by Edith Piaf, which was later covered by Marianne Faithfull.