Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I just discovered one of your recent columns where you included a question about singer Dean Reed. Included in that feature are some points about Dean's life as an entertainer as well as his mysterious death, all of which is of special interest to me. You see, I am Dean's older brother.

I retired over five years ago and apparently I will be spending more and more of my time correcting all the bum information about Dean that exists, especially in cyberspace. And those are just the ones in the English language. Of course most of the stories are in either German or Russian, neither of which I can understand.

Not that even I know all that much, for though Dean and I were only three years apart in age, we went our separate ways. We did meet every few years and exchanged many letters (no e-mail in those days). We were different in almost everything, especially economics and politics.

There have been many books, mostly in German, written about Dean; however, at least two in English are supposed to eventually be published. Also, there is supposedly a film about him in the works. Of course, as you pointed out, Dean made many films of his own. He was even interviewed by Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes,” shortly before he died.

Our dad used to tell his three boys about people that “lived fast, died young, and left a beautiful memory.” Well, that was Dean. It is the beautiful memory part I am trying to ensure for him by spreading the truth about him. Though not perfect, he was instrumental in causing the fall of the East German Wall and that is more than most of us do in our lives.

For sure he did not throw away his precious American citizenship. He was preparing to return home to Colorado but he must of crossed the Stasi, the CIA, his wife, or someone. Maybe he simply had accomplished his life's purpose and decided to call it quits. Either way, he was found dead in an East German lake.

As to why people have written you, I'm sure it is because our Mother Ruth Anna Brown died. Then, a couple weeks later, mom's last and fourth husband, Ralph W. Odom, died. Both deaths were in the news.

Even I do not know how Dean died but I may find out one of these days, because mom left Dean's children some money that will help with an investigation. Two of them live in Germany and I am now in e-mail contact with them.

Jerry, it is fine with me if you want to include my e-mail with this letter. Maybe someone will want to ask me for the rest of the story.
—Dale Reed, Seattle, Wash. (

DEAR DALE: I really appreciate your input to what is admittedly a mighty mysterious chapter — not just in entertainment history but in your family's as well.

Since the normally reliable Internet Movie Database reports Dean “first gained notority (sic) as an American folk singer in the 1950s who joined the Communist Party and defected to the Soviet Union,” you might want to submit a correction to them.

Otherwise, I hope this new year brings some long-awaited answers to you and the rest of Dean's family.

For the record, your dad's words of wisdom are borrowed from the 1955 Faron Young hit, “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young (And Leave a Beautiful Memory).”

DEAR JERRY: While watching a rerun of “The Invaders,” this line from an old song popped into my head: “You invaded my dreams.”

It is a beautiful ballad, and I'm hoping you can identify it for me.
—Millicent Boone, Princeton, Ind.

DEAR MILLICENT: The tune that is invading your mind is “Without a Word of Warning,” a 1935 hit for Bing Crosby (Decca 548).

It and “It's Easy to Remember” are both from “Two for Tonight,” a 1935 film in which Crosby is cast as, of all things, a singer-songwriter.

IZ ZAT SO? Among Bing Crosby's chart accomplishments not likely to ever be equaled, two stand out.

1. Bing had 335 chart records — more than double the number by Elvis Presley.

2. Bing had 36 No. 1 hits — nearly double the number by the Beatles.

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