Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: While playing some Al Martino records, I noticed that his first hit, "Here in My Heart," was in 1952, and his next one, "I Love You Because," was about 11 years later, in 1963.

Would that make him the artist with the most time between hits?
—Bob Cooper, Calgary, Alberta

DEAR BOB: It would not. Moreover, Al Martino is not even in the running for the widest gap between "hits," defined here as appearing on a national chart.

From the following discography, you'll discover that his longest dry spell lasted only five years. Regardless, Capitol and 20th Fox kept the flow of new Martino releases coming year after year. They definitely believed in him, and it began paying big dividends for Capitol beginning in 1963.

Between "Here in My Heart" (1952) and "I Love You Because" (1963), Al had 27 singles, and 12 of those charted.

Their peak positions are shown, including three in the "Bubbling Under" category (i.e., No. 113 to No. 121):

1952: "Here in My Heart" (BBS 101) (No. 1)
1952: "Take My Heart" (Capitol F-2122) (No. 12)
1952: "I've Never Seen" (Capitol F-2185)
1952: "Now" (Capitol F-2260)
1953: "Rachel" (Capitol F-2353) (No. 30)
1953: "Here Are My Arms" (Capitol F-2431)
1953: "When You're Mine" (Capitol F-2480) (No. 27)
1953: "All I Want Is a Chance" (Capitol F-2535)
1954: "Melancholy Serenade" (Capitol F-2737)
1954: "Say It Again" (Capitol F-2982)
1955: "The Man From Laramie" (Capitol F-3171)
1956: "The Girl I Left in Rome" (Capitol F-3501)
1956: "I'm Sorry" (Capitol F-3605)
1958: "Here in My Heart" (Cub K-9018)
1959: "I Can't Get You Out Of My Heart (Ti Amo, Ti Voglio, Amor)" (20th Fox 45-132) (No. 25)
1959: "Darling I Love You" (20th Fox 45-153) (No. 52)
1959: "Summertime" (20th Fox 45-173) (No. 113)
1960: "Mama" (20th Fox 45-180)
1960: "Dearest (Cara)" (20th Fox 45-184) (No. 81)
1960: "Only the Broken Hearted" (20th Fox 200)
1960: "Our Concerto (Il Nostro Concerto)" (20th Fox 213)
1960: "Come Back to Me" (20th Fox 232)
1961: "Little Girl, Little Boy" (20th Fox 237) (No. 89)
1961: "Here in My Heart" (Capitol 4593) (No. 86)
1961: "Pardon" (Capitol 4643) (No. 86)
1962: "There's No Tomorrow" (Maze 7025)
1962: "Love, Where Are You Now (Toselli Serenade)" (Capitol 4710) (No. 119)
1962: "Make Me Believe" (Capitol 4797) (No. 121)
1963: "I Love You Because" (Capitol 4930) (No. 3)

In the 24 years following "I Love You Because," Al Martino had 43 more tunes on the charts.

Now we know Al Martino is not the artist with the most time between chart appearances, but who does claim this seemingly unenviable honor?

I say "seemingly unenviable" because a musician would not be thrilled by a long period without a hit record.

But this beloved entertainer's career involved many other areas of show business, much more so than making records.

He is George Burns, who, teamed with wife Gracie Allen, had a self-titled, 78 rpm (Columbia 2780-D), two-part comedy skit on the charts for a month, ending July 22, 1933.

George surprised the music industry with his return to the pop charts January 19, 1980, singing "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again" (Mercury 57011).

The time between those two chart records is 46 years, five months, and 28 days.

One day later (Jan. 20, 1980), he celebrated his 84th birthday.

He lived for 100 years, one month, and 18 days.

DEAR JERRY: You have written about records that made the fastest jump to No. 1 nationally, including a couple that debuted at the top.

But I've never heard or read anything about records that fell the fastest from No. 1, perhaps even off the Hot 100 altogether.

Did any pop single drop more than 99 spots in just one week?
—Erica Ahrens, Evansville, Ind.

A few chart-toppers rapidly fell from the Hot 100, but none went from No. 1 to completely off the chart in just one week.

But here are eight familiar hits that vanished in four weeks or less, with their declining weekly chart positions after No. 1:

Two weeks: "You Haven't Done Nothin" (sic) (Stevie Wonder & the Jackson 5) 1-12-28 (1974)
Three weeks: "Nothing from Nothing" (Billy Preston) 1-15-39-72 (1974)
Three weeks: "Rock Me Gently" (Andy Kim) 1-12-32-48 (1974)
Three weeks: "Then Came You" (Dionne Warwicke (sic) and the Spinners) 1-15-39-79 (1974)
Four weeks: "The Sound of Silence" (Simon & Garfunkel) 1-12-20-25-33 (1966)
Four weeks: "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" (Barry White) 1-12-22-42-100 (1974)
Four weeks: "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" (Diana Ross) 1-11-14-32-52 (1976)
Four weeks: "Nights in White Satin" (Moody Blues) 1-5-11-32-44 (1972)

"Nights in White Satin" was No. 1 on Cash Box and is therefore included. The tune did peak at No. 2 on Billboard, and took only three weeks to depart: 2-5-9-17.

IZ ZAT SO? Amazingly, of the eight hits that dropped from No. One to No. None in two to four weeks, all but one charted between 1972 and 1976.

Of those seven, five are from 1974.

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