Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Living in London in the '70s, I often attended their huge Record Fairs.

One purchase I made there is a 45 rpm EP by Richard Berry titled “Rhythm & Blues - Louie Louie” (Ember 4527), but something about it makes me curious.

The liner notes contradict one of your previous statements, which is “Nothing credited to Richard Berry, or any of his various groups, ever charted nationally.”

Here then is exactly what is printed on the back of this EP:

“Richard Berry's latest song “Louie Louie” is at the moment No. 2 in the United States and should climb to the No. 1 spot in the New Year.”

You can't both be right, can you? —Anthony Portman, York, Pa.

DEAR ANTHONY: Yes we can, but not without allowing for some deception on their part.

Note they carefully describe “Louie Louie” as Richard Berry's latest “song.”

Though this is only limited falsification, referring to it as his latest “record,” or “release,” would have been an outright fib.

This EP came out in early '64, with liner notes actually written in mid-December 1963, a time when “Louie Louie” did hold the nation's No. 2 spot — not by Richard Berry but by the Kingsmen.

Berry wrote and released his recording of “Louie Louie” in April 1957 (Flip 321).

Reissuing this EP, with Richard's original at the time of the Kingsmen's huge hit, is nothing more than jumping on the Louie bandwagon.

Though Berry never charted personally, as writer of “Louie Louie,” he profited from every sale of the song, regardless of who performed it.

Oh yes, Ember's prediction did come true. The Kingsmen's “Louie Louie” claimed the No. 1 spot on Cash Box for two weeks “in the New Year,” January 11 through 24, 1964.

DEAR JERRY: Since the death of Porter Wagoner (October 28, 2007), I have been thinking about some other stars that I never hear anything about.

They are: Daryl Dragon; Bob Nolan; Shelly West; Lorianne Crook; and Jeanne Pruett.

Are all five still living? What is the date of birth of each, and of death if applicable? —Eugene Ornstead, Redgranite, Wisc.

DEAR EUGENE: As of this writing, all except Bob Nolan are still among the living. Bob would have been a centurion this coming April Fool's Day.

Daryl Dragon (Daryl Frank Dragon), born August 27, 1942 in Los Angeles, is best remembered for performing with Toni Tennille, his wife, as the popular Captain & Tennille duo.

Bob Nolan (April 1, 1908 - June 16, 1980), a lead singer and renowned songwriter with the Sons of the Pioneers, also had a successful career as an actor in cowboy films.

Among the Canadian-born Nolan's awards is a Grammy for his Western classic, “Cool Water.”

He is also enshrined in both the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Western Performers Hall of Fame.

Shelly West, born May 23, 1958, in Cleveland, Ohio, is the daughter of Dottie and Bill West.

Credit West with a couple dozen hits in the 1980s, including two No. 1 singles: “Jose Cuervo,” and “You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma,” a duet with David Frizzell.

An auto crash in 1991 claimed the life of Dottie, one of Country music's all-time top female stars.

Lorianne Crook, born February 19, 1957, established herself in the '80s as one of the Nashville Network's top personalities on “Crook and Chase,” with co-host Charlie Chase.

Jeanne Pruett (Norma Jean Bowman), born January 30, 1937 in Pell City, Ala., had a recording career similar to Shelly West's, with about the same number of hits, all of which are from the 1970s and '80s.

Jeanne's signature song is “Satin Sheets” (1973), her only No. 1 hit.

Isn't Daryl Dragon sort of a stray among this herd of C&W folks?

IZ ZAT SO? Nearly 28 years ago, five prominent women in Country music pulled off a extraordinary feat. The week of April 19, 1980 marked the first time females held all of the Top 5 C&W chart spots:

1. Crystal Gayle “It's Like We Never Said Goodbye.” 2. Dottie West “A Lesson in Leavin'.” 3. Debby Boone “Are You on the Road to Lovin' Me Again.” 4. Emmylou Harris “Beneath Still Waters.” 5. Tammy Wynette” (with George Jones) “Two Story House.”

Continuing this unique period of domination, each of the Top 4 above reached No. 1 in the exact same order as charted April 19 (Gayle, West, Boone, Harris), each spending a week at the top before giving way to the next gal.

As for the Tammy and George duet, their “Two Story House” peaked at No. 2.

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