Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Which hit song, from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, includes the word “nonchalant”? It is the only song I can think of that includes “nonchalant” in the lyrics.

You will either get this one right away or it will drive you crazy.
—Robert Pingel, Pasadena, Calif.

DEAR ROBERT: Nonchalant is a bit more common in song lyrics than you realize, though the first one that comes to my mind is “When You Walk in the Room.”

Written by Jackie DeShannon, and first issued by her in late 1963 (Liberty 55645), it contains the verse “I close my eyes for a second and pretend it's me you want, meanwhile I try to act so nonchalant.”

Whether due to distribution problems, lackluster promotion, or just bad luck, none of Jackie DeShannon's early '60s records fared nearly as well outside southern California as in Los Angeles-based Liberty's own back yard.

Nearly a year later, in the midst of the British Invasion, the Searchers released what would turn out to be the nationwide smash of “When You Walk in the Room” (Kapp 618).

The first Searchers American hit, “Needles and Pins,” is also one Jackie DeShannon put out first (May 1963), leading one to think they followed her career closely.

If “When You Walk in the Room” is not the song you're thinking of, then it must be “Lonely Days,” by the Bee Gees (1970). This Top 3 hit includes this line: “Outside the restaurant, the music plays so nonchalant.”

Without regard to format (single, LP track, etc.) or year of issue, here is a sampling of other songs that include nonchalant: “Chip Away the Stone” (Aerosmith); “I've Loved These Days” (Billy Joel); “Breakdown” (Mariah Carey); “This” (Lisa Loeb); “Backstreet Girl” (Rolling Stones); “Cryin' in the Streets” (Lou Christie); “Darker Side of Blue” (Tal Bachman); “Don't Lose Any Sleep” (Starship); “It Always Comes As a Surprise” (Pet Shop Boys); “Don't Lose Any Sleep” (John Waite); “Oh Carol” (Smokie); “Meet Me in the Middle” (Arrows); “Rita May” (Bob Dylan); “The Power of Love” (10cc); “Sweet Sucker Dance” (Joni Mitchell); “Santa Claus Is Coming Back to Town” (Reba McEntire); “Sophisticated Lady” (Billie Holiday); “Be Careful” (Patty Griffin); “Miss Riddle” (Boz Scaggs); and “Abandoned Masquerade” (Diana Krall).

DEAR JERRY: I was a big fan of singer Jo Ann Campbell, who was very popular in the 1950s.

For several years, it seemed that Jo Ann was on the bill of every rock and roll show in the New York and New England area.

Then she just vanished, and I'm hoping you can tell me what happened to Miss Campbell.

Are any of her recordings available on CD?
—Terence Malley, Tacoma, Wash.

DEAR TERENCE: Jo Ann Campbell, whose recording career ran from 1957 to '65, simply moved from the entertainment industry to being a homemaker, a mother, and an advocate of humane treatment of animal causes.

Besides those innumerable stage shows, many put together by dee jay Alan Freed, and the music, Jo Ann appeared in two teen-themed films: “Go, Johnny, Go” (1958) and “Hey, Let's Twist!” (1961).

For about $10, there is one easily available CD collection of Jo Ann's best tracks, titled “I'm Nobody's Baby” (Collectables 090431-63052-5).

A bit more elusive, and at roughly twice the price, is the British import, “That Real Gone Beat” (Universal-Westside 503269-80150-85).

DEAR JERRY: In a discussion with my dad about records, I pointed out that Mariah Carey had more No. 1 hits than any other woman. His reply was “that may be so, but her hit albums are but a drop in the bucket compared to the many by Mitch Miller.”

In case you're wondering how Mitch Miller found his way into the conversation, my folks have a few of his LPs.

Is dad right about this?
—Amber Brooks, Rockport, Ind.

DEAR AMBER: Father knows best, at least regarding the LPs of Mitch and Mariah.

From the summer of 1958 through '62, Mitch Miller & the Gang charted with 19 different LPs. Of these, three reached No. 1 and 14 made the Top 10.

Credit Carey with a dozen hit albums, and counting. She may one day catch up with Mr. Miller.

IZ ZAT SO? Except for just one, every hit LP by Mitch Miller and the Gang ends with the exact same four words: “Sing Along with Mitch.”

Preceeding that is the text to identify the concept of each recording, such as “Christmas Sing Along with Mitch; Party Sing Along with Mitch; Fireside Sing Along with Mitch; Folk Songs Sing Along with Mitch,” etc., etc.

That single exception, “March Along with Mitch,” is simply not a SING along.

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