Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

Now in our 28th year (1986-2014) — Over 2,800 Questions Answered
Most recent column here — 16 years of archived ones are linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 1, 2014

DEAR JERRY: As you know from numerous other readers, the producers of television shows always seem to avoid including any information in the credits about the recordings heard in the film — especially frustrating when it's the main theme and played at the beginning of every episode!

Such is the case with the music that kicks off HBO's "True Detective."

What intrigues me most about this tune is it is by a male-female duo who sound like Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, and their hits "Lady Bird" and "Summer Wine."

I know Hazelwood died but maybe it's something they recorded in the 1960s.
—Heather Montel, Terre Haute, Ind.

DEAR HEATHER: The adopted "True Detective" theme, at least for Season 1, may remind you of 1960s songs by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, but that's the extent of the connection.

The singers are Brett and Rennie Sparks, a husband and wife collaboration who, for about 20 years, have recorded and performed as the Handsome Family.

"True Detective," the Emmy-winning drama starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, uses Brett and Rennie's composition "Far from Any Road" as its theme.

"Far from Any Road" is one of 13 tracks on the Handsome Family's 2003 album, "Singing Bones" (Carrot Top 036).

DEAR JERRY: I would like a list of notable vinyl era releases played in the U.S. that are all or mostly in a foreign language.

I know you have mentioned a few in previous columns, but in a different context. Nowhere can I find them all in one place, but you seem to have the resources to do it.
—Darwin Graham, Marysville, Calif.

DEAR DARWIN: You're right. There are scattered references but usually to just a few. There is nothing that attempts to be comprehensive.

Even our list does not have every one made, but it's a good start and we can add to it as new entries are discovered.

Not all of these are completely in another language, but I'll include them as long as a significant percentage is. Also, space does not allow for listing more than two titles for any artist:

ABBA (Swedish / Spanish) "Fernando" (1976); "Fernando" (1976)
Steve Allen and His Orchestra with the Copacabana Trio (Spanish) "Cuando Calienta El Sol (When the Sun Is Hot)" (1963)
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (Portuguese) "Zazueira" (1969)
Paul Anka (Italian) "Ogni Volta (Every Time)" (1964)
Beatles (German) "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand (I Want to Hold Your Hand)" (1964); "Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You)" (1964)
Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg (French) "Je T'aime … Moi Non Plus" (1969)
Blue Stars (French) "Lullaby of Birdland" (1955)
Renato Carosone (Italian) "Torero" (1958)
Champs (Spanish) "Tequila" (1958)
Keith Colley (Spanish) "Enamorado" (1963); "Queridita Mia (Little Darlin')" (1963)
Bobby Darin (French) "Milord" (1964)
Joe Dowell (German) "Wooden Heart" (1961)
Drupi (Italian) "Vado Via" (1973)
Falco (German) "Der Kommissar" (1981); "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986)
Jose Feliciano (Spanish) "Feliz Navidad" (1970)
Freddy Fender (Spanish) "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" (1975)
Connie Francis (Italian / Spanish) "Jealous of You (Tango Della Gelosia) (1960); "Malaguena" (1960)
Galens (German) "Baby I Do Love You (Du, du Liegst mir im Herzen)" (1963)
Gaylords (Italian) "Flamingo L'amore" (1958)
Rex Gildo (German) "Liebe Kälter Als Eis ([You're the] Devil in Disguise)" backed with "Zwei Blaue Vergissmeinnicht (Say Wonderful Things)" (unusual release in that both sides of this 1963 U.S. single (Capitol 5076) show only English titles, yet both are completely in German)
Will Glahe and His Orchestra (German) "Liechtensteiner Polka" (1957)
Rocco Granata (Italian) "Marina" (1959)
Eartha Kitt (French) "C'est Si Bon (It's So Good)" (1953)
Kraftwerk (French) "Tour De France" (1983)
Julius La Rosa (Italian) "Eh Cumpari" (1953)
Lolita (German) "Sailor (Your Home Is the Sea)" (1960); "Cowboy Jimmy Joe (Die Sterne Der Prarie)" (1961)
Claudine Longet (French) "Love Is Blue (L'amour Est Bleu)" (1968)
Trini Lopez (Spanish) "La Bamba" (1963)
Los Lobos (Spanish) "La Bamba" (1987)
Dean Martin (Italian) " Luna Mezzo Mare" (1951); "Oh Marie" (1952)
Al Martino (Italian) "Granada" (1961)
Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 (Portuguese) "Mas Que Nada" (1966)
Mina (Italian) "Il Cielo in Una Stanza (This World We Love In)" (1961)
Mocedades (Spanish) "Eres Tu" (1974)
Domenico Modugno (Italian) "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" (1958); "Piove (Ciao, Ciao Bambina)" (1959)
Lou Monte (Italian) "Roman Guitar" (1957); "Lazy Mary (Luna Mezzo Mare)" (1958)
Nena (German) "99 Luftballons" (1983)
Emilio Pericoli (Italian) "Al Di La" (1962)
Edith Piaf (French) "Milord" (1961); "No Regrets (Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien)" (1961)
Elvis Presley (Spanish / Italian) "Guadalajara" (1963); "Santa Lucia" (1965)
Rene and Rene (Spanish) "Angelito" (1964); Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero" (1968)
Ivo Robic and the Song-Masters (German) "Morgen (1959)
Johnny Rodriguez (Spanish) "Eres Tu (Touch the Wind)" (1977)
Marty Robbins (Hawaiian / Spanish) "Drowsy Waters (Wailana)" (1958); "La Paloma" (1966)
Kyu Sakamoto (Japanese) "Sukiyaki" (1963); "China Nights" (1963)
Sandpipers (Spanish / Italian) "Guantanamera" (1966); "Quando M'innamoro" (1968)
Santana (Spanish) "Oye Como Va" (1971)
Neil Sedaka (Italian) "Tu Non Lo Sai (Breaking Up Is Hard to Do)" (1962)
Singing Nun (French) "Dominique" (1963); "Tous Les Chemins (All the Roads)" (1964)
Ritchie Valens (Spanish) "La Bamba" (1958)
Marianne Vasel and Erich Storz (German) "The Little Train (Die Kleine Bimmelbahn)" (1958)
Bobby Vinton (Polish) "My Melody of Love" (1974)

IZ ZAT SO? During the 45 rpm vinyl era (1949-1989), just five foreign language hits reached No. 1 in the U.S. — with each one being in a different language:

1958: Domenico Modugno "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" (Italian)
1963: Kyu Sakamoto "Sukiyaki" (Japanese)
1963: The Singing Nun "Dominique" (French)
1986: Falco "Rock Me Amadeus" (German)
1987: Los Lobos "La Bamba" (Spanish)

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