Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne

FOR THE WEEK OF October 29, 2001

DEAR JERRY: Many years ago I operated a business where we had a juke box. One of the songs on that juke was “Never Love a Robin,” which I really liked.

I eventually sold the business, and the juke box along with it. I unfortunately forget to remove “Never Love a Robin,” and keep it.

I would really appreciate any information you can provide about this song, and its availability.
—Anthony Ciraolo, New Port Richey, Fla.

DEAR ANTHONY: “Never Love a Robin” is one side of a double-sided 1963 hit (Liberty 55636), by pop star Bobby Vee.

I use the term loosely here, as “Never Love a Robin” did chart — but only for one week, and only reaching No. 99 on the Top 100.

The A-side of this single, “Yesterday and You,” did a bit better, making the Top 60.

DEAR JERRY: Among my many long play record albums are ones that have paper sleeves inside the cardboard jackets. Others have just the disc inside the jacket with no sleeve.

Apart from the additional protection afforded by those paper sleeves, is there any value attached to them?
—Bonnie Klemann, San Francisco, Calif.

DEAR BONNIE: If an inner sleeve is manufactured for a specific album — and its printing should so indicate that — it is then technically a part of the package and would have slight value, perhaps two or three dollars.

Often these custom paper sleeves have song lyrics, artist photos, or pictures of other albums from that performer, or from that same company.

On the other hand, the plain, unprinted sleeves are certainly functional, but they have no monetary value.

DEAR JERRY: I am trying to learn to play “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” on the saxophone. I find it to be a very interesting and unusual piece of music.

Being fairly young, I don't know anything about the history of this song. That's where you come in.

Was it ever a pop hit, or just another good tune that no one bought?
—Derek Munson, Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

DEAR DEREK: In 1949, no doubt long before your time, “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” became a Top 20 hit for Lenny Hayton and His MGM Studio Orchestra (MGM 30174).

Three years later, a saxy remake by Ray Anthony and His Orchestra became nearly as popular (Capitol 2085) as the Hayton version.

A Richard Rodgers composition, “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” was originally written as a ballet number for the Broadway musical “On Your Toes.”

Hayton's version is heard during a Gene Kelly dance routine in “Words and Music,” a 1948 film biography of songwriters Rodgers and (Lorenz) Hart.

MCA recently reissued the “Words and Music soundtrack (MCAC-25029) on which you will find “Slaughter on 10th Avenue.”

IZ ZAT SO? There is a backwoods connection between Bobby Vee and Chipmunks creator, David Seville — other than that they both recorded for Liberty Records.

In late 1956, two years before Alvin, Theodore, and Simon hit the scene, David Seville had a Top 50 hit with an instrumental titled “Armen's Theme.”

For Bobby Vee's recording “Yesterday and You,” they simply added words to the music of “Armen's Theme.” If you're wondering who this Armen person is, she was the wife of David Seville.

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