The tune haunted me and the lyric practically wrote itself during my waking and sleeping hours. Words came so easily that I decided to wait a while before calling Walter for fear that he might think I’d written an off-the-cuff lyric. Literally, I waited about ten days. Then feigning great excitement, I called Walter and said, “I’ve got it, Walter! I’ve got it!” In a rather deadpan tone, he asked, “What’s the title?”
I took a deep breath and practically sang out, “TEN-der-LY!” There was a long pause at his end. Then he sneered, “That’s no title! That’s what you put at the top of the sheet music: Play Tenderly!”
Rosemary Clooney wanted to sing the song but Mitch Miller refused to let her. Finally she did sing it on the B side of a record. It became a smash hit despite Miller (and Walter Gross) and the miss-accent of the title word.