Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: My question is about an excellent singer, and quite popular in the 1960s, named Ronnie Dove.

I have heard that he is the most successful artist, with the greatest number of hits, to have never had a Top 10 hit. Is this statement true?

Finally, is there a good CD collection of his best songs?
—Lisa Hill, Sun City Center, Fla.

DEAR LISA: The answers are maybe, and definitely.

Maybe to the first question because the answer depends on which charts you consult. Billboard does not show Ronnie in the Top 10 with any of his 20 hits, from 1964 through '69. The closest he came is No. 14, which he did twice — with “Right Or Wrong” and “One Kiss for Old Time's Sake,”

However, if you ask Ronnie Dove this question he might whip out a May 1965 Cash Box, which ranks “One Kiss for Old Time's Sake” in their Top 10.

Ronnie Dove is one of the All-Time Top 300 singles sellers, and among this elite bunch I find only a couple of artists with more hits overall, but not one in the Pop Top 10: Bobby Bland and B.B. King.

To be fair, both of these are primarily R&B artists, and both had many Top 10 and No. 1 hits on the R&B charts.

If you word the question just right (i.e. which pop singer had the most chart hits without appearing in Billboard's Top 10), then Ronnie Dove is an excellent answer.

The latest mail-order catalog from Nina's Discount Oldies lists four Ronnie Dove CDs as currently available: “The Ronnie Dove Collection,” volumes one, two, and three, and “Rarities.” Most of the essential Dove tunes are found in this batch. (Nina's, PO Box 77, Narberth PA 19072. 800 336-4627).

DEAR JERRY: When I hear songs like “Donna,” Danny Boy,” and “Runaround Sue,” they make me curious as to which person's name has been used the most in popular music.

Do you have an opinion about this?
—Vincent Veltri, New Haven, Conn.

DEAR VINCENT: I do, but it is merely an opinion since this is not an official stat kept by anyone I know. Since there have been far more recordings by males, the number of female names in song outnumbers the Dannys, and, yes, even the Vincents. Of course you do have Don McLean's “Vincent” in your column.

I think that gals named Mary have been mentioned more often in song titles. The first runner-up, should Mary be unable to fulfill her duties, is probably Susan. That would include Sue, Susie, and Suzy.

We received a very similar question by e-mail from “Joaljet.” Now you both are enlightened.

DEAR JERRY: While watching “The Pink Panther,” and listening to Henry Mancini's marvelous score, I became curious as to how many films he has to his credit, whether as composer, conductor, or both.
—Rebecca Silva, York, Pa.

DEAR REBECCA: Probably more than you ever thought possible.

As anyone who has ever watched the credits fly by in a pre-1970 film, the primary cast is often all that is mentioned. In recent years, the one who cleans the brush used by the dog groomer on the pets of the people who live next door to the caterer are credited.

Thus, the identities of composers and conductors are sometimes a mystery on older films.

Even so, I still find over 500 titles with Henry Mancini involvement — from “Sally and Saint Anne” (1952) to “Le Derrière” (1999). What a resumé!

IZ ZAT SO? Few were better at their craft than Henry Mancini.

Hank won his first two Oscars for two Blake Edwards' films: “Breakfast at Tiffany's” (“Moon River”), and “Days of Wine and Roses.”

Overall, Mancini collaborated with Blake Edwards on 27 films, including “The Pink Panther” series that inspired the topic this week.

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