Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

In syndication since 1986, and now in our 31st year — Over 3,100 questions answered
Most recent column here — 19 years of archived ones are linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 20, 2017

DEAR JERRY: I bought my first 45 rpm in 1957, a double-sided hit by Larry Williams of "Short Fat Fannie" and "High School Dance."

I know that Williams wrote at least a dozen pop song titles into "Short Fat Fannie." Are there any other recordings like this? Perhaps with even more songs referenced?
—Olivia Barnum, Traverse City, Mich.

DEAR OLIVIA: Yes to the second question, assuring the same to the first.

Before getting to that, I count 17 titles in "Short Fat Fannie" (Specialty 608). Compare these to yours and see which ones you missed. Included is the artist most associated with each recording. All were made before May 1957.

Four Little Richard songs are mentioned, more than anyone else's, no doubt due to both Larry Williams and Little Richard being under contract to Specialty Records.

Another connection is that "Short Fat Fannie" is a response to Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" (1956).

These titles are in the order heard in "Short Fat Fannie":

1. "Slippin' and Slidin' (Peepin' and Hidin')" (Little Richard)
2. "Long Tall Sally" (Little Richard)
3. "Rip It Up" (Little Richard)
4. "Short Fat Fannie" (Larry Williams)
5. "Heartbreak Hotel" (Elvis Presley)
6. "Fever" (Little Willie John)
7. "Tutti Frutti" (Little Richard)
8. "Hound Dog" (Elvis Presley)
9. "Blue Suede Shoes" (Carl Perkins)
10. "Honky Tonk" (Bill Doggett)
11. "The Other Night" (Big Maybelle)
12. "Jealous" (Teresa Brewer)
13. "Mary Lou" (Young Jessie)
14. "Jim Dandy" (LaVern Baker and the Gliders)
15. "My Heart's Desire" (Country Gentlemen)
16. "Soul on Fire" (LaVerne Baker)
17. "Blueberry Hill" (Fats Domino)

Following the instrumental bridge, the 10 titles from "Tutti Frutti" to the end are repeated in the same order.

It is possible that some of Larry's lyrics were not originally chosen because they are song titles, but coincidentally they are.

Finally, "My Heart's Desire" is a pop doo-wop tune. Do not be misled by their name. These Country Gentlemen were not a country music group.

Other so-called "citation" records followed "Short Fat Fannie," but in July 1961 one came along with an astounding 41 references to contemporary hits.

Appropriately titled, "Dedicated (To the Songs I Love)", it is by the 3 Friends (Imperial 5763).

More impressive is that each record cited, directly or indirectly, was a charted hit within the past year (1960-'61):

1. "Dedicated to the One I Love" (Shirelles)
2. "Rama Lama Ding Dong" (Edsels)
3. "Daddy's Home" (Shep and the Limelites)
4. "Runaway" (Del Shannon)
5. "Mother-in-Law" (Ernie K-Doe)
6. "A Hundred Pounds of Clay" (Gene McDaniels)
7. "What'd I Say" (Jerry Lee Lewis)
8. "That's It - I Quit - I'm Movin' On" (Sam Cooke)
9. "Walk Right Back" (Everly Brothers)
10. "Spanish Harlem" (Ben E. King)
11. "Just for Old Time's Sake" (McGuire Sisters)
12. "Lil' Ole Me" (Cornbread and Jerry)
13. "Travelin' Man" (Rick Nelson)
14. "Halfway to Paradise" (Tony Orlando)
15. "Mama Said" (Shirelles)
16. "Ling-Ting-Tong" (Buddy Knox)
17. "Stand By Me" (Ben E. King)
18. "You Can Depend on Me" (Brenda Lee)
19. "Find Another Girl" (Jerry Butler)
20. "Some Kind of Wonderful" (Drifters)
21. "Bye Bye Baby" (Mary Wells)
22. "The Continental Walk" (Rollers)
23. "Where the Boys Are" (Connie Francis)
24. "One Mint Julep" (Ray Charles)
25. "Peanut Butter" (Marathons)
26. "The Second Time Around" (Frank Sinatra)
27. "Foolin' Around" (Kay Starr)
28. "A Million to One" (Jimmy Charles)
29. "At Last" (Etta James)
30. "Surrender" (Elvis Presley)
31. "Trust in Me" (Etta James)
32. "Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)" (Carla Thomas)
33. "Cupid" (Sam Cooke)
34. "Saved" (Lavern Baker)
35. "Tragedy" (Fleetwoods)
36. "Little Boy Sad" (Johnny Burnette)
37. "Funny" (Maxine Brown)
38. "Little Devil" (Neil Sedaka)
39. "Little Miss Stuck Up" (Playmates)
40. "Sleepy-Eyed John" (Johnny Horton)
41. "Together" (Connie Francis) Seven of these titles are repeated between two and four times: "Rama Lama Ding Dong" (4) "Mama Said" (3) "Ling-Ting-Tong" (2) "Stand By Me" (2) "Little Miss Stuck Up" (2) "Sleepy-Eyed John" (2) "Together" (2)

IZ ZAT SO? About five months after the 3 Friends' citations tune, Jimmie Beaumont, lead singer of the Skyliners ("Since I Don't Have You," "This I Swear," etc.), released "Ev'rybody's Cryin'" (May 112).

His format is to first identify the artist, then their hit(s) with them cryin' about one thing or another, from a lost love to an annoying mother-in-law.

The result is 19 songs by 14 artists:

1. Ernie K-Doe ("Mother-in-Law")
2. Ben E. King ("Stand By Me" and "Amor")
3. Roy Orbison ("Only the Lonely," "Running Scared," and "Crying")
4. Timi Yuro ("Hurt")
5. Jarmels ("A Little Bit of Soap")
6. Dee Clark ("Raindrops")
7. Connie Francis ("Many Tears Ago")
8. Sue Thompson ("Sad Movies")
9. Elvis Presley ("A Mess of Blues")
10. Pat Boone ("Moody River")
11. Bobby Vee ("Take Good Care of My Baby")
12. Gene McDaniels ("Tower of Strength," "100 Pounds of Clay," and "A Tear")
13. Dion ("Runaround Sue")
14. Marcels ("Heartaches")

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