Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Hopefully you can substantiate something that I cannot convince a coworker is true.

We were talking about how much more accurate the current computerized point of sale system is for ranking music sales, than the indiscriminate ways of years past.

On that we agree, but unless I dreamed it I don't think using computers to track record sales is all that new.

I recall some of the chain stores, such as Tower Records, doing exactly that to determine what was selling and where. I believe that was in the 1970s, but he thinks it was much later.

If you tell me this is all a sci-fi dream, there will definitely be crow on my menu.
—Ernie Judd, Washington, D.C.

DEAR ERNIE: The current system, computerized of course, for tabulating sales, has been in use since March 1, 1991.

Called Nielsen SoundScan, after founder Arthur Nielsen, this is the same company that began tracking and measuring television audiences in 1950, which they still do.

You're right about stores using computers in the 1970s, but this fashion forward tool for inventory control really began a decade earlier.

In October 1965, E.J. Korvette, a chain of membership discount stores, began using computers in their record departments.

These mammoth machines generated a weekly report indicating which records, including genres, formats, and location demographics, were selling in each of their 39 stores.

If a certain genre or format, (singles, albums, mono, stereo, etc.) didn't sell well at one store, they simply moved those to a more appropriate location.

Just as with SoundScan, Korvette's computers operated from the point of sale, gathering the data entered at their cash registers. No surprise here, since the system was installed by the National Cash Register Company.

Regarding the menu, baked crow, along with humble pie (dessert), are no longer being served.

DEAR JERRY: Who sang “My Father's Voice”? I believe it was made in the 1950s or '60s. Where can I buy it?
—Laura Lea, Sandy, Utah

DEAR LAURA: Even though she doesn't actually sing on it, Judy Lynn's touching narrative of “My Father's Voice” became a Top 20 C&W hit in 1963.

Judy, who was really 27 at the time, speaks as a girl who just turned 16. Part of her birthday is spent in a canyon near a waterfall, where she recalls some of the advice passed on by her late father.

Think of this as the country version of the 1958 hit, “The Teen Commandments” (Paul Anka, George Hamilton IV, and Johnny Nash), with several of the same warnings: don't smoke, don't drink, obey your mother, get an education, don't make whoopee before marriage, etc., etc.

The original single (United Artists 571) is frequently available for under five bucks on Amazon as well as eBay.

Since “My Father's Voice” was Judy's second biggest hit, after “Footsteps of a Fool,” you'll find it on “The Best of Judy Lynn” (1966). Either the monaural (UAL-3461) or stereo (UAS-6461) should be available for around $10 from the same online sellers.

Hear it here!

DEAR JERRY: Here's one for your “how could this not have been a hit” list, except we'd have to add “in America” to the category.

Nana Mouskouri's 1971 recording of “A Place in My Heart” sold millions worldwide, but is mostly unknown here. Was this tune a U.S. hit by anyone?

I found it in three languages (English, French, and Spanish) on YouTube, but how many others did the Grande Dame make?
—Jo Ann Lee, Hilo, Hawaii

DEAR JO ANN: A couple of other songs using the same title have made the charts, but none are the Jean-Pierre Ferland composition done by Mouskouri.

Nana recorded “A Place in My Heart” in at least seven languages, the other four being German, Portuguese, Greek, and Italian.

Nana also sings fluently in Dutch, Turkish, Hebrew, Welsh, Maori (New Zealand), Mandarin Chinese, Swedish, and Japanese, though we have yet to encounter “A Place in My Heart” in these other tongues.

Click here for the English track, with links to the French and Spanish versions.

IZ ZAT SO? Since 1957, when Nana Mouskouri EMI Greece issued her first songs, her sales are nearing 400 million records, from a catalog of 1,500 songs on 450 albums.

With over 230 framed gold and platinum awards, she ran out of wall space long ago.

It is estimated Nana has given over 11,000 concerts, on every continent except Antarctica.

No wonder the Universal Music Group says Nana is the worldwide top-selling female recording artist of all time.

All accomplished without ever being in the U.S. Top 100 with a recording of any kind.

Having turned 78 last month (Oct. 13), Nana, after six decades of performing, is semi-retired and living in Switzerland.

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