Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I'm getting into a Neil Young groove again. I attended his October 23rd concert in Seattle, and just bought his new album, “Chrome Dreams II.”

I even dug out my old records, one of which piques my curiosity and prompts this letter. It is a self-titled LP that I believe is his first.

What is mighty strange about this one is Neil's name does not appear anywhere on the front cover. Plus, instead of using a photo, the cover image of him is merely a drawing.

This may be appropriate for a performer whose fame is so great they are instantly recognizable, but seems quite peculiar for a virtually unknown, as Neil was at the time.

I don't think any of the 10 tracks became single hits, that is if any were issued.

Any thoughts about this nameless cover situation?
—Loretta Myles, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

DEAR LORETTA: “Neil Young” (Reprise 6317) is indeed his first album, originally issued on his 23rd birthday, November 12, 1968.

Neither the LP itself, nor either of the two singles lifted from it, did well enough to chart, though “The Loner” (Reprise 0785) later became a staple of Young's concerts.

In March of '69, a second single from “Neil Young” came out, “The Emperor of Wyoming” (Reprise 0819), but as the B-side.

The “Plug Side” is “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” which three months later ended up as the title track of Neil's second solo LP.

This single mentions only Neil Young, while the “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” LP (Reprise 6349) credits Neil Young with Crazy Horse.

Inadvertently leaving Neil's name off of the front cover made those first pressings very desirable to collectors, with recent sales being in the $250 to $300 range. Subsequent editions, with his name across the top, are available for around $10.

DEAR JERRY: Years ago, Hoagy Carmichael's “Stardust” was named the most played song of all time.

Is it still, or has another tune surpassed it?
—Morey Yellen, Lakeland, Fla.

DEAR MOREY: “Stardust,” written in 1929 by Carmichael (music) along with Mitchell Parish (words), did indeed have its day; however, the current king of spins is a number concocted in 1964.

“You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling,” penned by the husband-wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, is now the most played and performed song ever.

According to Jerry Bailey, of BMI's Nashville office, between 11 and 12 million plays of this masterpiece have now been logged by BMI.

Barry and Cynthia, with a durable calculator and lots of free time, express this achievement another way: “If played back-to-back 24 hours a day, this equals more than 63 years of continuous airplay.”

The original hit and best-known version is by the Righteous Brothers, though many others recorded “You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling” since 1964.

Here are just a few: Lettermen (1965); Johnny Rivers (1966); Boots Randolph (1967); Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood (1968); Dionne Warwick (1969); Elvis Presley (1970); Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (1971); Kool and the Gang (1972); Barbara Fairchild (1975); Johnny & Edgar Winter (1976); Martha Reeves (1977); Willie Alexander & Boom Boom Band (1978); Long John Baldry & Kathi MacDonald (1979); Daryl Hall & John Oates (1980); Lou Rawls (1981); Firm (1985); Carlette (1987); Genesis (1990); and Neil Diamond (1994).

IZ ZAT SO? Neil Young, a Canadian, didn't become well-known in the U.S. until 1969, with hits like “Cinnamon Girl” and “Woodstock,” the latter as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Not common knowledge is that Young's first recording came out in 1963, but only in the Winnipeg area. Still a teenager fresh out of high school, Neil fronted a band named the Squires.

Their only single, “The Sultan” backed with “Aurora” (V 109), of which only a couple hundred were made, now fetches prices in the $3,000 range.

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