Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: During my high school years, the local Top 40 station (WCOP) briefly played a record of just talking — no singing whatsoever — which I thought to be by Paul Anka.

I have since checked dozens of his albums and this recording is nowhere to be found. Either I'm wrong and it's not Paul, or this recording is such a departure from hits for which he is known that he doesn't want it reissued.

This narrative offers helpful tips for teens, though I can't remember exactly what they are. Probably stuff like “if you drink don't drive” and “never play with a loaded gun.”

Please fill in what my memory has lost?
—Beau McCormick, Federal Way, Wash.

DEAR BEAU: Let's begin the fill with the cold hard facts:

It is “The Teen Commandments,” a Top 30 hit in early 1959 (ABC-Paramount 45-9974).

Paul Anka deservedly gets top billing, but he shares the stage with two other ABC-Paramount artists at the time: George Hamilton (“A Rose and a Baby Ruth”) and Johnny Nash (“Almost in Your Arms”).

Written by Bill Givens, here are their suggestions for teens, each alternatingly spoken by one of the three stars:

(Anka) “Now these are the Teen Commandments:
1. Stop and think before you drink.”
2. (Hamilton) “Don't let your parents down … they brought you up.”
3. (Nash) “Be humble enough to obey. You'll be giving orders yourself someday.”
4. (Anka) “At the first moment, turn away from unclean thinking. At the first moment!”
5. (Hamilton) “Don't show off driving. If you want to race, go to Indianapolis.”
6. (Nash) “Choose a date who would make a good mate.”
7. (Anka) “Got to church faithfully. The creator gives you the week, give him back an hour.”
8. (Hamilton) “Choose your companions carefully. You are what they are.”
9. (Nash) “Avoid following the crowd. Be an engine, not a caboose.”
10. (Anka) “Or even better, keep the original Ten Commandments.”

There is at least one easy-to-find CD that includes “The Teen Commandments”: “Paul Anka's 30th Anniversary Anthology” (Rhino 71489), with 24 tracks.

DEAR JERRY: I have several LP boxed sets, by stars as diverse as Elton John, Dean Martin, and Barbra Streisand. Most have three or four discs.

But the biggest one I have is “Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Live: 1975-'85,” with five records.

How high on the charts did this set go?

Do some other artists have Top 40 sets with even more than five discs?
—Shirley Ligon, Newton, Mass.

DEAR SHIRLEY: That Springsteen set did about as well as could be expected. It reached No. 1 in November 1986 and held that position for seven weeks.

Only one of his other albums equaled that feat, “Born in the U.S.A.” in 1984.

One example of an even larger set is “Elvis Aron Presley,” a Top 30, certified platinum, 84-track, 1980 issue. This four-pound set includes eight LPs.

There are far bigger boxed LP sets, such as the 18 disc “Platinum Beatles Collection” and Led Zeppelin's 44-disc “Classic Records - Road Case Edition,” but these don't meet your chart requirement.

The monstrous Led Zeppelin set is so hefty it comes in its own custom suitcase-style carrier. Included here are all of the Zepp tracks from their first nine studio LPs, which, by using single-sided 45 rpm LPs, requires 44 discs.

DEAR JERRY: You have helped me in the past, but I need one more 45 to complete my wish list.

It is “Night Mist Over Highway 2,” by someone whose first name is Del (not Shannon).

It came out around 1959 or '60.

A friend had a copy back then so I know it was out there.
—Don Hanson, Great Falls, Mont.

DEAR DON: It is indeed out there, as I occasionally see it pop up on eBay, usually for $10 to $20.

“Night Mist Over Highway 2,” backed with “All of Me” (Merri 201), is by Del Kacher.

Just as you thought, the year of issue is 1960.

IZ ZAT SO? When issued as a limited edition in 2006, the Led Zeppelin “Classic Records - Road Case Edition” carried a suggested retail price of $699.

Turns out that would have been a better investment than most blue chip stocks.

Just a year later, we see these lavish sets selling for $2,500 to $3.000.

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