Nightly News   |  September 02, 2013

Lyrics of the heart provide one true love song

A widower honors his late wife of 75 years with a love song as part of a contest. Now, his lyrics have taken on a life. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> finally tonight, how do you honor the love of your life after 75 years together? fred stobaugh lost his wife this year, but her memory lives on in words and music that have gone viral. nbc's kevin tibbles with the love story like no other.

>> reporter: her name was lorraine, and it was love at first sight .

>> beautifullest girl i ever saw, yeah. uh-huh. beautiful woman.

>> reporter: that was 75 years ago. and fred stobaugh married that girl. she looks like a movie star .

>> yeah.

>> reporter: when lorraine left there world this past spring, fred picked up a pen and scratched out the lyrics to her song sitting at the kitchen table.

>> oh, sweet lorraine , the memories will always linger on.

>> reporter: he then put them in an envelope and mailed it to a song contest being held in his hometown of peoria, illinois. it caught jacob kul began's attention because it was the only entry that came in the mail. he saw what was written on the back --

>> p.s., i don't sing, i would scare people. ha, ha.

>> reporter: when the musicians at green shoe studio read fred 's lyrics, they knew this love song had to be put to music.

>> i was in tears, and instantly knew i -- i just had to bring this guy's song to life. oh sweet lorraine

>> reporter: "oh sweet lorraine " simply exploded in popularity. tugging at the hearts of people around the world.

>> wonderful. just wonderful.

>> good, i'm glad you like it.

>> reporter: already viewed four million times on youtube. quickly becoming one of the top ten most downloaded songs on itunes.

>> kind of funny like, hey, who's this justin timberlake guy? he goes, evidently i passed him up on the itunes sales.

>> reporter: she would have loved that song.

>> she would have. she knows.

>> reporter: as family members gathered under the shade of a tree in fred 's yard, "oh sweet lorraine " is performed just as it should be.

>> mind helping me out?

>> here we go -- oh sweet lorraine i wish we could do all the good times over again

>> reporter: it's true, the best songs always come from the heart.

>> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, peoria, illinois. [ applause ]