DEAR JERRY: For many years, I have been puzzled by an unintelligible word in "The Joker," by Steve Miller. Near the beginning, he says: "Some people call me Maurice 'cause I speak of the (properties?) of love."
I don't really think it's "properties," but I can't come up with anything better. What do you know about this mysterious element of love.
Roberta Blandon, Lancaster, Pa.
DEAR ROBERTA: In "The Joker," Miller is definitely joking when he refers to the "pompitus" of love. He is also having a '50s flashback.
In the 1954 R&B classic, "The Letter," by the Medallions, there is a narrative portion with: "Darling, let me whisper sweet words of hismatality, and discuss the pulpitudes of love."
When Steve mentions "pompitus," he is doing his best to repeat "pulpitudes," from "The Letter."
Note, too, just before "pompitus," Miller also mentions "Gangster of Love," a 1958 blues gem by Johnny Guitar Watson.
Since there are no such words as "pompitus," "pulpitudes," and, for that matter, "hismatality," their spellings here are my own.
Perhaps, as has so often been said, with love, all things even pulpitudes are possible.
DEAR JERRY: I have fond memories of the music of my teenage years mid-'50s to mid-'60s and in particular the great music of Duane Eddy.
I've heard he is the No. 1 instrumentalist from that period. It seemed most instrumentalists with a hit or two were unable to repeat often. Duane, it seemed, always had something on the charts.
Which of his hits remained on the charts the longest?
Joseph Tillman, Alliance, Ohio
DEAR JOSEPH: Your suspicion is correct. Duane (with his "twangy" guitar) is the all-time top rock and roll instrumentalist, far ahead of others in that field, such as the Ventures, Bill Black's Combo, Dick Dale, The Champs, Booker T. & the MGs, etc.
Beginning in early 1958, with "Movin' 'N' Groovin'," his first hit, Duane has remained active on the pop scene.
Of his 32 chart hits, "Because They're Young" and "(Dance with the) Guitar Man" (1962) both were on the national Top 100 the longest, 18 weeks.
Here are all of Duane's hits that remained on the charts for double digit number of weeks. In case of ties, the highest ranking song on the Top 100 is shown first:
"Because They're Young" 18 weeks (1960)
"(Dance with the) Guitar Man" 18 weeks (1962)
"Forty Miles of Bad Road" 16 weeks (1959)
"Rebel-Rouser" 16 weeks (1958)
"The Lonely One" 13 weeks (1959)
"Cannonball" 13 weeks (1958)
"Pepe" 13 weeks (1960)
"Bonnie Came Back" 12 weeks (1959)
"Peter Gunn" 10 weeks (1960)
"The Ballad of Paladin" 10 weeks (1962)
"Boss Guitar" 10 weeks (1963)