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Classic Americana: Bertie Higgins

Singer-songwriter Bertie Higgins
Singer-songwriter Bertie HigginsLarry Feldman

by Mike Pengra and Luke Taylor

December 08, 2023

We’ve launched a new segment on Radio Heartland called Classic Americana. Every Friday around 11 a.m. Central, we’ll pull a special track from the archives or from deep in the shelves to spotlight a particular artist or song.

Today is the birthday of singer-songwriter Elbert Joseph Higgins — better known as Bertie Higgins; he turns 79 today. Back in 1982, Higgins released his debut album, Just Another Day in Paradise. The album contains the song, “Key Largo,” a song that pays tribute through its lyrics to the classic 1942 film, Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and it became a huge hit for Higgins in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Australia. The song marked Higgins’ biggest commercial success as a singer and songwriter, but he continues to write and record music, and he has massive fan followings around the world, particularly throughout the Pacific Rim, China and Germany; in fact, Germany honored Higgins with the Mozart music and Beethoven music awards for his musical and charitable endeavors. Higgins was also inducted into the Florida Music Hall of Fame in his home state.

“Key Largo” maintains a strong legacy through its lyrics that reference a classic film. Given his fondness for cinema, it’s not surprising that Bertie Higgins also got involved in film production as a producer, screenwriter and actor. His song, “Key Largo,” also enjoyed some screen time of its own when it was included in the soundtrack of the 2021 comedy film Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, starring Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo.

Bertie Higgins – official site