Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: As a joke, a friend gave me a DVD with all 17 episodes of "Lancelot Link Super Chimp."

Turns out that I love this brilliant show, especially how they trained real chimpanzees to do everything humans do, including playing their instruments right in time to the music of a real studio band.

Was any of Lancelot Link Evolution Revolution's music issued on records?
—Trent Reynolds, Jackson, Calif.

DEAR TRENT: You're right regarding some of the exceptional production requirements for "Lancelot Link Super Chimp." There had never been a show like it. Mike Marmer and Stan Burns, co-creators of the ABC-TV series, spared no effort or expense to train and outfit at least a dozen frisky chimps.

Inspired by popular spy films and TV shows, the plots pitted APE (Agency to Prevent Evil) against CHUMP (Criminal Headquarters for the Underworld's Master Plan). It ran in 1970 and '71.

Most of the music, bubble-gum rock with a dash of psychedelia, was written and performed by Steve Hoffman, as Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution. A self-titled collection came out in 1970 (ABCS-715) containing 12 tunes you may recall from the shows:

(Side 1) "Sha-La Love You"; "Teaser"; "Wild Dreams (Jelly Beans)"; "Kissin' Doll"; "Magic Feeling"; and "Live."
(Side 2) "Rollin' in the Clover"; "Yummy Love"; "Vibrations"; "Daydreams"; "Blind Date"; and "The Evolution Revolution."

The LP covers must have been printed before the LP labels (above), as the back cover has the contents completely out of order.

Copies of "Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution" are plentiful, and often found in the $10 to $20 range.

An ABC single, with a colorful picture sleeve, was issued in 1970, coupling "Sha-La Love You" and "Vibrations" (45-11278).

The labels on the single and the LP credit "Evolution-Revolution," but the covers on both show "Evolution Revolution" minus the hyphen.

DEAR JERRY: Can you find an elusive 1980s Tony Williams record?

Based on the lyrics, the title is likely "Songs By the Platters." He includes 1950s song titles of hits he made while singing lead with the legendary group, though I don't recall which ones.

Naturally, my searches for "Songs By the Platters" result in simple lists of songs by the group, but not this particular record. Can you make sense of this?
—Martine Hull, Sherbrooke, Quebec

DEAR MARTINE: Based only on what you heard, something similar to "Songs By the Platters" would be the most logical title, but it isn't. The first word heard in the song is "Obviously," and that is the unlikely moniker given to this tune.

"Obviously" is found only on the album "Tony Williams - Lead Singer of the Original Platters, Featuring [Tony's wife] Helen Williams," a French release on the Tempesti label. For a Quebec radio station to have a French connection makes perfect sense.

You could not have known, as there is nothing obvious about "Obviously."

In the order heard, the Platters' hit song titles — not sampled from the oldies, but sung as part of "Obviously" — are: "The Magic Touch"; "Twilight Time"; "The Great Pretender"; "Heaven on Earth"; "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"; "I'm Sorry"; "Enchanted"; and "Only You." All eight titles are repeated in the second half of the track.

No doubt it's a coincidence, but "Obviously" also includes the words "I Surrender." While Tony did not record such a song with the Platters, as a solo artist in 1962 he had a single titled "It's So Easy to Surrender (Un'Anima Tra Le Mani)" (Reprise 20,056).

IZ ZAT SO? Inspired by "Obviously," I can easily imagine a new comedy skit, based on Abbott and Costello's famous "Who's on First" routine:

Costello: Hey Abbott! What's the name of that song?
Abbott: Obviously
Costello: Do you even know the name of the song?
Abbott: Obviously
Costello: All I really want to know is the title!
Abbott: Obviously
Costello: Look, if you request this song on the radio, what do you ask for?
Abbott: Obviously
And on and on …

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