Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

In syndication since 1986, and now in our 29th year — Over 2,900 questions answered
Most recent column here — 17 years of archived ones are linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 31, 2015

DEAR JERRY: I cannot tell you if it's by a solo artist or a group, but I would like the info on a pop hit from the summer of 1966.

It is a rain-related ballad, with mention of such things as "raindrops on my window" and "liking the rain."

You not the first one I've asked about this, so to save you some research effort here are eight rain songs from around that time period that people have suggested, but none of them are the right answer:

"Cloudy Summer Afternoon" (Barry McGuire)
"Rain" (Beatles)
"Rain on the Roof" (Lovin' Spoonful)
"Rainy Day Women" (Bob Dylan)
"Remember the Rain" (Bob Lind)
"Rhapsody in the Rain" (Lou Christie)
"The Rain, the Park and Other Things" (Cowsills)
"The Rains Came" (Sir Douglas Quintet)

With those now off the table, whatever's left might be the one.
—Evan Strickland, Grants Pass, Ore.

DEAR EVAN: Are you aware that you have paraphrased one of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes' most famous deductive reasoning quotes?

He often mused to Watson, "When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

With this specific case, what remains is "I Love the Rain," by Us Kids (Rex 2630).

And that is also the truth.

Cementing my conclusion is that this local band's tune was in the Top 3 in southern Oregon in late August 1966, especially on Medford's KBOY.

However, "I Love the Rain" did not show up on any of the national charts, and is the only record in KBOY's Top 20 that failed to do so. Backed with "Check-Out," this scarce single is now a $200 item.

DEAR JERRY: The first picture disc album I ever bought was Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells," the debut album for Richard Branson's Virgin label.

I probably played it once out of curiosity, then filed it away.

Now, four decades later, I read where "Tubular Bells" is the top-selling instrumental album of all time.

Really? Even more than Henry Mancini, or Herb Alpert, who I thought would be No. 1?
—Ferdie Cohen, Springfield, Mass.

DEAR FERDIE: Yes, really, but keep in mind that of worldwide sales exceeding 16 million units, less than four percent of those were sold in the U.S.

Still, "Tubular Bells" did exceptionally well here, peaking at No. 3 and earning a coveted RIAA Gold Record Certification for sales of 500,000 units.

The LP reached No. 1 in Australia, Canada, and the UK — home of Mike Oldfield and Sir Richard Branson — where it was on the charts for 286 weeks (5.5 years) and sold over 2.6 million.

When a portion of "Tubular Bells" was chosen for the opening theme of "The Exorcist" film, Oldfield won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition of 1974.

Either the U.S. (Virgin 13-105) or the UK (Virgin 2001) limited edition picture discs can be found in the $20 to $40 range.

IZ ZAT SO? For those who know nothing about "Tubular Bells," or who bought it and promptly filed it away, consider the following: Mike Oldfield was only 19 in 1972 when he began writing, recording and co-producing his masterpiece.

He envisioned a combination of traditional instruments along with unconventional ones, and traditional instruments modified to sound unconventional.

Being a believer that if you want something done right, do it yourself, Mike opted to play all of these instruments himself, each being overdubbed separately:

Acoustic guitar
Percussion (various)
Bass guitar
Concert tympani
Distorted guitars
Double speed guitars
Electric guitar
Farfisa organ
Flageolet (flute)
Fuzz guitars
Glockenspiel
Grand piano
Guitars sounding like bagpipes
Hammond organ
Honky tonk piano
Horn sounding organ
Lowrey organ
Mandolin
Oboe
Reed and pipe organ
Spanish guitar
Tubular bells (chimes)

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