DEAR JERRY: Long ago, I got into a dispute with a Baltimore TV columnist over whether or not "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," by Gene Pitney, is actually heard in the movie of the same name (starring John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin). I said it didn't.
Fortunately, I was able to contact Gene Pitney, and he set the record straight on this matter. Since I feel his response would also be of interest to your readers, here it is:
"The song, ('The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'), was written for the movie, but for some strange reason was never put in the soundtrack. Because of my prior success with 'Town Without Pity,' I was paid a bundle to record the 'Liberty Valance' song.
"Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,' and Burt produced it.
"There was some screw-up between the publishing company (Famous Music) and the parent company (Paramount Pictures) as to why it never was in the actual film.
"The most bizarre part of the story I only found out a few years ago. The actual music used in the film was from a 1939 Henry Fonda film called 'Young Mister Lincoln.' Go figure that out!
Regards, Gene Pitney"
Ron E. Hontz, Shrewsbury, Pa.
DEAR RON: Sounds like a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing.
Since determining whether or not the tune appears in the film is merely a matter of renting or buying the video of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," I am surprised the columnist challenged your claim.
Regardless, it is great that you heard from the marvelous Mr. Pitney on this fascinating topic. As you know, we lost Gene in 2006. He was 66.
DEAR JERRY: In the early 1960s, the Ventures had a hit instrumental with "Perfidia." I think it was their follow-up to "Walk, Don't Run."
A few years later, there was a semi-doo-wop vocal of "Perfidia" that was quite popular in the Inland Empire, at least on the two Top 40 stations here at that time: KFXM (San Bernardino) and KMEN (Riverside).
Since those days, decades ago, I have never heard that "Perfidia" vocal on any radio station and I would love to hear it again.
Who sang this tune? Was it ever popular elsewhere? If it helps, part of the song is sung in Spanish. Other than the Ventures, were there any other nationally charted recordings of "Perfidia"?
Archie Hodges, Cathedral City, Calif.
DEAR ARCHIE: "Perfidia," by the Matadors (Tony, Vic And Manuel), did indeed come out on a single (Colpix 698), in the summer of 1963.
For the week beginning August 31, "Perfidia" peaked at No. 4 on KFXM. That same week, Cash Box showed the Matadors at No. 113. But it didn't move up from there.
Oddly, while "Perfidia" was in the Top 5 on KFXM, it never made it higher than "Honorable K/Mention" on KMEN.
There were five big band versions of "Perfidia" in 1941, but during the vinyl era the only charted recording of "Perfidia" was by the Four Aces, a Top 10 hit in 1952 (Decca 27987). Of course that is a vocal, and is all in English.