Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: You are my last resort. I heard a song last year around Halloween. When I quote the bits and pieces I remember, family and friends chuckle quietly. Sometimes not so quietly. They all think I either made it up or don't remember it accurately.

I would really appreciate your help in reconfirming my credibility, so here's what I remember about the song:

Boy meets girl at a dance. He walks her home. She gets cold so he gives her his sweater. After saying goodnight, he remembers his sweater and returns to her house to get it. Her father answers the door and says his daughter died a year ago. He then goes to the cemetery and finds his sweater on top of her grave.

You can tell by the story why it's often played at Halloween. Please tell me you remember the song. I need to know the title and the artist.
—Lynn C. Esposito (

DEAR LYNN: If only I had a sweater for every time I have answered a question about this tune. Now with another Halloween here, I expect a few more.

It is by Dickie Lee, titled “Laurie (Strange Things Happen).” Not at all obscure, this became a Top 15 hit in the summer of 1965 (TCF Hall 102).

Take my advice and date only the living.

DEAR JERRY: About 20 years ago, my husband had a Leon Russell album that also featured a girl who I think was his wife at the time. Her name might possibly have been Mary, but it's been so long.

Now, I cannot find that such an LP was ever issued.
—Tracy (

DEAR TRACY: There are a couple of albums that come to mind and it might have been either.

How about “Wedding Album” (Paradise 2943) or “Make Love to the Music” (Paradise 3066), from 1976 and '77 respectively.

In 1976, Leon and Mary traded wedding vows (thus “Wedding Album”). They also gave birth that same year — to their Paradise record label.

DEAR JERRY: You have probably heard from many others, but I'll also chip in with my two cents worth regarding the Perry Como song, “Delaware.”

Though Como's version came out in 1960, the origin of that song goes back at least to the early '50s, and maybe much earlier. It was first a camp song.

At Boy Scout summer camp, the people were split into two groups around a large camp fire in the middle. A group leader would whisper what line they would sing, such as, “What did Della wear boys, what did Della wear? We're asking you now, boys, (then real loud) what did Della wear?” The other group leader, if he knew the answer, would quickly whisper to the group and then they would reply, “She wore a brand New Jersey boys, she wore a brand New Jersey. We're telling you now, (loud) She wore a brand New Jersey!” Then the second group would come back with their question and the first group had to answer quickly or lose.

The song writer for Perry Como must have recycled the song from his camping years.
—Bob Deiley, Clearwater, Fla.

DEAR BOB: Your first seven words are right on the mark. Quite a few who, like yourself, recall singing this song at various camps wrote; however, I chose your letter to represent them because it is the first one that arrived. That's the beauty of e-mail.

IZ ZAT SO? Leon Russell, then known in Los Angeles as Russell Bridges, was a favorite session keyboardist of legendary producer, Phil Spector. He is featured prominently on many of those early and mid-'60s hits by such acts as the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love, and Bob E. Soxx & the Blue Jeans.

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