DEAR JERRY: I have always had a special attraction to rock era songs that paid tribute, or somehow acknowledged, other popular songs of the day.
Unlike novelty break-ins (Buchanan & Goodman, etc.) that use an actual clip of the other tunes, the type song I refer to features only the artist credited.
The one that got me started on these is “The Class,” by Chubby Checker, circa 1960, followed by Bob Luman's “Let's Think About Livin'.”
Next was Mark “Teen Angel” Dinning's “Top 40, News, Weather, and Sports.” Then came the Four Preps with “More Money for You and Me” and “The Big Draft,” both great.
Another terrific one from then, which I first discovered in one of your past columns, is “Can't Get Enough of Wynn,” by Jan Howard, and made up of many Wynn Stewart song titles.
I don't recall hearing this style much before 1960, but I may have missed some.
Still, one from the early '60s that I have never found is “Everybody's Crying,” I heard it when it was popular, in Pittsburgh, but not once in the 40 years since.
I would love to find it, but if not that, at least to know which other songs are mentioned in its lyrics.
John Wilkins, York, Pa.
DEAR JOHN: Upon receiving your letter, I realized for the first time that this type of recording is one that thus far has no name.
We can't call them Tribute songs, since that already refers to songs specifically about person(s) usually deceased or an event. Examples include “Three Stars” (Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Big Bopper), “The King Is Gone” (Elvis); “Candle in the Wind” (Marilyn Monroe & Princess Diana), and “Armstrong” (moon landing).
“The Class” notwithstanding, we cannot call them Novelty songs, since most are less silly and more straightforward tracks. Nor are they a Parody, as that's an entirely different breed of tune (i.e. Stan Freberg's “Banana Boat” and “Yellow Rose of Texas.”)
Hmmm. I am drawn to naming them Citation songs, in that they cite with honorable mention other people's hits. I welcome suggestions from readers about this. We may be making history together.
Citation songs (rock era) have been around at least four years earlier than you realize. One of the first that comes to mind is “Short Fat Fannie,” by Larry Williams, from 1957.
“Ev'rybody's Cryin'” is a late '61 hit for Jimmy Beaumont. In it he “cites” the following artists and songs: Ernie K-Doe (“Mother-in-Law”); Ben E. King (“Stand By Me” and ”Amor”); Roy Orbison (“Only the Lonely,” Runing Scared,” and “Crying”); Timi Yuro (“Hurt”); Jarmels (“A Little Bit of Soap”); Dee Clark “Raindrops”); Connie Francis (“Many Tears Ago”); Sue Thompson (“Sad Movies”); Elvis Presley (“A Mess of Blues”); Pat Boone (“Moody River”); Bobby Vee (“Take Good Care of My Baby”); Gene McDaniels (“Tower of Strength,” “100 Pounds of Clay,” and “A Tear”); Dion (“Runaround Sue”); Marcels (“Heartaches”).
“Ev'rybody's Cryin'” is one of 30 tracks on the “Teen Town USA II” CD (LGR-2200), which is probably still available. Write: Lost Gold Records, Box 10, Ridgeway SC 29130.
About 40 years ago, I lost a 45 rpm in a radio station fire. I have been searching for it ever since.
The singer is Gitta Lind, and the title is “Weisser Holunder.”
In the best of all possible worlds there is a CD that contains “Weisser Holunder.” If not, I'd like to find the original single.
J.B. Wood, Corydon, Ky.
DEAR J.B.: Your 40-year search is over, and you don't even need to limit your Gitta Lind collection to just “Weisser Holunder.”
Germany's legendary Bear Family Records has not one but two compact discs by Gitta Lind. The one you will want most is “Weisser Holunder” literally “White Elder” (BCD 15868). The other CD is “Jimmy Martinez” (BCD 15869).
Since these are fairly recent releases, they are widely available, directly from Bear Family or from any dealers that handle imports. All of these sources offer online ordering.
IZ ZAT SO? “Ev'rybody's Cryin'” is the only hit for Jimmy Beaumont as a solo artist; however, as lead singer of the Skyliners they had many. Among them is one of the most perfect recordings of all time, “Since I Don't Have You.”