Listeners to radio station WMAL have been treated in the last few weeks to the occasional playing of of a song with the prosaic name, "The District of Columbia," but a tune and words that are vaguely reminiscent of the Tony Bennett number, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
The man behind the song is a man behind a badge: D.C. police officer Joe Burden, 45, an ex-Marine who works as a community relations officer in the department's 5th District.
Burden called after MetroScene ran a spate of items about three other songs about Washington, two of them sung by school children in the 1920s and 1930s and the other declared in 1951 to be the official city song. With a pile of letters and phone messages about these still on my desk, I'll take a deep breath before returning soon to the subject.
Burden said he began composing his song after encountering City Council member William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5) in a music store and discussing whether the city had an official song.
The words don't give it justice, but here are some of them, starting not surprisingly with a reference to Burden's own profession: From the cop on the beat, To the folks on the street; From Southeast to Embassy Row, Out of our busy day, While at work or at play, We all take time to say hello. We greet you in most every language, All colors and cultures are we; We welcome you to the city . . . Of . . . WASHINGTON, D.C. . . . Just let us show you around, Come and have a holiday In our fabulous town. We've got the cherry blossoms, galleries, The museums, the monuments, The Capitol, the White House, The gov. .ern. .ment; Gosh, we've got a million things to see.