Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: An all-music Internet radio station has infected me with an earworm. Great as talk-free radio is, it would be a big help if they provided a playlist. Some do, but not all.

I heard a song only once, loved it and want to buy it. But I hope you can identify it for me.

By a female singer, the story is about a bum and a bunch of monkeys on a bus. It has an old-time feel to it.

The most repeated phrase, directed to an annoying passenger, is “keep your baggage on your own side.” Might that be the title?
—Veronica Beaumont, Terre Haute, Ind.

DEAR VERONICA: No, but that line, with “packages” rather than baggage, is heard three times during this charming little track, and one might think it's the title.

By Del Rey (guitar) and Suzy Thompson (fiddle), your mystery tune is “Bus Song,” one of the highlights from their 2010 album, “Hen Party.”

One amusing “Bus Song” verse has the lout explaining to the driver that he shouldn't have to pay the fare because the route takes the bus right by his house anyway.

Catch this bus here!

DEAR JERRY: Apparently, no mention was made in the media about the death (Sept. 5) of Jackie Starke, but your readers should be interested in her passing.

It is Starke, along with Dee Dee Sharpe (nee: Dione LaRue), singing those sweet yeah-yeahs and whoa-whoas on many of Bobby Rydell's Cameo hits. Among those are “Wild One”; “Sway”; “Swingin' School”; “We Got Love”; and “Volare.”

It was also in those days that my band, LeRoy & His Rockin' Fellers, recorded for Cameo. Last year, you were kind enough to write about our first single, “River Nile” (Cameo 194).

Several years ago, while entertaining the folks at the ManorCare Nursing Home in West Reading, Pa., I discovered Jackie was living there, after having numerous strokes.

I returned a few times just to visit with her, always with my guitar and singing some Bobby Rydell songs. Then I'd jokingly say “Sounds just like Bobby,” to which she invariably replied, “Nooooooo!”

Jackie died at ManorCare, at the age of 73.
—Lee Schappell, Reading, Pa.

DEAR LEE: It is good to hear from you again, even if the news is not so good. I have passed the story on to Dee Dee and Bobby, who, like most of us, may not have heard about Jackie.

I know she appreciated your visits. Thank you for sharing the story.

DEAR JERRY: Our local oldies station played Fats Domino's “Blueberry Hill,” then said it was one of the Top 20 Songs of the 20th Century, according to the Record Industry Association of America.

So what are the other 19?

While I admit “Blueberry Hill” is an essential oldie, how could it possibly rank alongside such mega-hits as “Rock Around the Clock”; “Yesterday”; and “Don't Be Cruel”?
—Vinnie Bonaldi, Staten Island, N.Y.

DEAR VINNIE: If “Blueberry Hill” seems miscast in this category, then get ready to question up to half of the Top 20.

Also, of the three you mentioned, only “Rock Around the Clock” made their list.

In order, as determined by a very small sampling — only 15% (approximately 200) — of RIAA voters, here is the Top 20:

1. “Over the Rainbow” (1939)
2. “White Christmas” (1942)
3. “This Land Is Your Land” (1940)
4. “Respect” (1965)
5. “American Pie” (1971)
6. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (1941)
7. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1908)
9. “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'” (1964)
10. “The Entertainer” (c: 1900)
11. “In the Mood” (1939)
12. “(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” (1953)
13. “When the Saints Go Marching In” (1938)
14. “You Are My Sunshine” (1940)
15. “Mack the Knife (Theme from the Threepenny Opera)” (1928)
16. “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)
17. “Take the 'A' Train” (1941)
18. “Blueberry Hill” (1940)
19. “God Bless America” (1939)
20. “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (1897)

Most of these have been recorded by more than one artist, but this is based on the song itself, not who performed it.

Somewhat peculiar is that only five titles on the list originated (words and music) during the second half of the century: “Respect”; “American Pie”; “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'”; “(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock”; and “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.”

The selections overall seem to indicate an average age of voters to be, shall we say, beyond even the baby boomer generation.

IZ ZAT SO? For a much different perspective, let's look at BMI's Top 20 Most Played Songs of the Century. All but one of these tunes, “Georgia on My Mind” (1941), were born in 1960 or later:

1. “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'”
2. “Never My Love”
3. “Yesterday”
4. “Stand By Me”
5. “Can't Take My Eyes Off You”
6. “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”
7. “Mrs. Robinson”
8. “Baby, I Need Your Loving”
9. “Rhythm of the Rain”
10. “Georgia on My Mind”
11. “Killing Me Softly with His Song”
12. “More”
13. “I Will Always Love You”
14. “When a Man Loves a Woman”
15. “Every Breath You Take”
16. “Gentle on My Mind”
17. “Something”
18. “The Sound of Silence”
19. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
20. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”

“You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'” is the only song to appear in both the RIAA and BMI Top 20.

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