DEAR JERRY: I have seen many Coral label records, by numerous artists, where the orchestration is by Dick Jacobs and His Orchestra. The McGuire Sisters and Billy Williams are just two examples of artists backed by Mr. Jacobs. He also had several big hits on his own.
Dick may be the best known Jacobs, but there are others, including Hank Jacobs and Debbie Jacobs.
What intrigues me is that my last name, Jacob, doesn't seem to be shared by anyone who ever had a hit record, not from any time or in any style of music.
This despite it not being all that rare as a family name.
Now I'm wondering if a Jacob ever even made a record.
Larry Jacob, Auburn Hills, Mich.
DEAR LARRY: You've obviously done your research.
Jacob is far more commonly found as a first name than a last name. Still, one of my sources estimates 30,000 to 35,000 in the U.S. join you by having Jacob as their family name.
You'd think one of those folks might have come up with a hit record, but none did.
As for anyone named Jacob being featured on a U.S. record, there are a couple of fellows who did accomplish that.
First came Tim Jacob, whose 1969 "Mercy Baby" (Solo 1972) was pretty much ignored at the time but has since become popular with soul music collectors.
Scarcity and demand have elevated this single to the $200 to $300 range.
Shortly after Tim's recording, Donald Jacob got his chance for a hit, not once but twice.
Circa-1970, Donald waxed "She Kept Chewing Gum" (Lanor 613), then in 1987 with "Ladies, I'm for Hire" (Maison De Soul 1040).
Neither sold well, but either one can still be found for under $10.
I wonder if your folks ever considered naming you Jacob Jacob.
DEAR JERRY: There is a cut on one of my Johnny Horton LPs titled "Smokey Joe's Barbecue," with a rockabilly flavor to it.
Problem is it's driving me crazy, because the music is incredibly similar to another Horton tune, at least in parts, that I just can't identify.
Give it a listen and let me know if I'm right or wrong.
Melissa Chapman, Bozeman, Mont.
DEAR MELISSA: I listened and you're right. Now I suppose you want the rest of the story.
"Smokey Joe's Barbecue," especially the chorus, is nearly identical to Johnny's 1958 rockabilly classic, "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor."
For the record, Horton recorded "Smokey Joe's Barbecue" in 1951, long before "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor." Why it was not issued as a single is somewhat of a mystery.
In closing, I applaud your use of "barbecue" and "flavor" in the same tasty sentence.
DEAR JERRY: During a televised tribute to Whitney Houston, the comment was made that she had more No. 1 hits than any other recording artist.
Unless I didn't hear it right, I don't see how she could possibly outrank either the Beatles or Elvis in this department.
Did they simply get it wrong, or did I just misinterpret their comment?
Lionel Ferguson, Hammond, Ind.
DEAR LIONEL: Having not heard the same source you did, I can't answer your specific question. What I can do for you is provide the facts.
Houston is credited with 11 No. 1 singles, slightly more than one-half the 20 for the Beatles and 18 for Presley, making it unlikely this would have been their claim.
If what they actually stated is that Whitney had the most consecutive No. 1 hits on Billboard, that would be correct, though not by much over the runners-up.
Her impressive run began in October 1985 with "Saving All My Love for You," and continued with "How Will I Know" (1986); "Greatest Love of All" (1986); "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" (1987); "Didn't We Almost Have It All" (1987); "So Emotional" (1988); and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" (1988).
With that seventh straight chart-topper, Whitney squeezed past the Beatles (1964-1966) and the Bee Gees (1977-1979). Both of these super groups had six consecutive No. 1s.
Right behind them are Elvis Presley (1959-1961), the Supremes (1964-1965), and Michael Jackson (1987-1988), each with five.
IZ ZAT SO? When it comes to consecutive No. 1 hits in the vinyl era, the pop and R&B totals are about the same, but some of the chart stats in country music are in fact off the charts.
Having seven straight No. 1s, as did Whitney Houston, wouldn't even get you in the Top 10 with the country crowd.
Amazingly, the seven longest streaks are all by men with double-digit totals:
1. Alabama (21 from 1980-1987)
2. (Tie) Sonny James (16 from 1967-1971)
2. (Tie) Earl Thomas Conley (16 from 1983-1989)
3. Buck Owens (15 from 1963-1967)
4. (Tie) Conway Twitty (11 from 1974-1977)
4. (Tie) George Strait (11 from 1986-1989)
5. Ronnie Milsap (10 from 1980-1983)
IZ ZAT SO? When Tom T. Hall wrote "Harper Valley P.T.A." he could never have imagined what a cultural phenomenon he'd created.
Not only did Jeannie C. Riley's 1968 recording top both the pop and country charts in the U.S. and Canada the first time ever accomplished by a female but that one little phonograph record inspired a feature film (1978) AND a TV series (1981). That too had never happened before.