Bing Crosby sings “Don’t Fence Me In” (Cole Porter, 1934) in an Army-Navy Screen Magazine “Sing with the Stars” film, accompanied by the Coast Guard Band.
Porter originally wrote the song for an unproduced movie called Adios, Argentina, never produced, for which 20th Century Fox requested a cowboy song. Porter bought a poem from a Montana civil engineer named Robert Fletcher, and reworked it. Porter was the only one credited in the original published sheet music.
It wasn’t until 1944, when Warner Brothers gave the song to Roy Rogers to sing in the movie Hollywood Canteen that it became a hit. In addition to Rogers, who made it a theme song, “Don‘t Fence Me In” was also recorded by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters in 1944, selling more than a million copies and topping the charts for two months. It’s been said that Crosby had never heard or seen the song before he went into the recording studio.
After it became a hit, Robert Fletcher sued Porter’s publisher to be given co-author credit, and won. Porter maintained it was his least favorite of his own compositions.