Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A couple of years ago, on one of your KPTZ-FM radio shows, you played Nat King Cole's "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (In a Five and Ten Cent Store)." You said it came out in 1958. Was this clever tune ever a chart hit by Nat? If not, it should have been.

The song is about a man who gets caught in a big storm, ducks into a store to get out of the rain, and meets his million dollar baby.

But years before he found the "Million Dollar Baby," he sang a completely different song about a very similar story: getting out of the rain and running into a soulmate.

Do you know anything about this earlier number?
—Carla Preston, Yuma, Ariz.

DEAR CARLA: A bit, no doubt, but first you should know that "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (In a Five and Ten Cent Store)" could not have been a chart item because it was not a single release.

This brilliant tune was one of the tracks on Nat's 1958 album, "The Very Thought of You" (Capitol 1084). The LP did make the Top 20.

Also among the Top 20 singles, though a few years earlier, was "Because of Rain" (Capitol 1501). And this is Nat King Cole's other getting-lucky-while-getting-out-of-the-rain song.

This tune came along in 1951, between his better known "Too Young" (Capitol 1449), and "Unforgettable" (Capitol 1808).

Two competing versions in 1951 were by Ella Fitzgerald (Decca 27602), and Clyde McCoy (Mercury 5648), but neither charted.

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