Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Last summer while driving down the California coast, in the area between San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria a radio station played what sounded very much like a Beach Boys song.

I thought I knew all of their music, but this one was new to me.

The beat and backing sounded a bit like “Little Deuce Coupe,” but this is not a car song. Based on the lyrics the title might be “Can't Take That Away from Me.”

Is this a recent recording, or a newly discovered track from the 1960s?
—Austin Willis, Racine, Wis.

DEAR AUSTIN: It is a fairly recent recording, issued just one year before your coastal adventure.

In 2009, Brian Wilson was asked by the family of George and Ira Gershwin to create an album of Gershwin compositions, but interpreted however he saw fit.

The completed album came out in August 2010, on vinyl and CD, titled “Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” (Disney/Pearl 637101).

The track that, at least musically, reminds you of “Little Deuce Coupe,” and other folks of “Little Saint Nick,” is “They Can't Take That Away from Me.”

Surprising even Brian, the estate also entrusted him with over 100 unfinished works by the Gershwins to consider adding to the project. From this treasure trove, he chose “The Like in I Love You” and “Nothing But Love.”

With his rare talent in overdrive, Brian weaved these two into 21st century gems, especially “Nothing But Love.”

The other Gershwin chestnuts “reimagined” by Brian are: “Rhapsody in Blue”; “Summertime”; “I Loves You Porgy”; “I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'”; “It Ain't Necessarily So”; “'S Wonderful”; “Our Love Is Here to Stay”; “I've Got a Crush on You”; “I Got Rhythm”; “Someone to Watch Over Me”; plus the downloadable bonus tune, “Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.”

“Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” reached the Top 30 on Billboard's mainstream albums chart, then astounded many people by climbing to No. 1 on their jazz albums chart.

Yes, the JAZZ chart!

DEAR JERRY: Regardless of whether or not they were successful as a musician or performer, who wrote the most No. 1 pop-rock hits?
—Della Stevenson, Jackson, Tenn.

DEAR DELLA: Following industry guidelines, we must treat co-composers and solo writers equally. This means it is how the writers in teams are credited rather the quality or quantity of each contributor. Results reflect Billboard and Cash Box surveys.

Sir James Paul McCartney has written 32 No. 1 hits, while his famous cohort, John Lennon, is the runner-up with 26. Both Paul and John receive credit for 20 chart-toppers by the Beatles: “I Want to Hold Your Hand”; “She Loves You”; “Can't Buy Me Love”; “Love Me Do”; “A Hard Day's Night”; “I Feel Fine”; “Eight Days a Week”; “Ticket to Ride”; “Help!”; “Yesterday”; “We Can Work It Out”; “Paperback Writer”; “Penny Lane”; “All You Need Is Love”; “Hello Goodbye”; “Get Back”; “Hey Jude”; “Come Together”; “Let It Be”; and “The Long and Winding Road.” The only one they didn't write is “Twist and Shout.”

They likewise share two No. 1 tunes waxed by other artists: “A World Without Love” (Peter and Gordon) and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (Elton John).

As for post-Beatles hits, Paul has 10 (the first seven are with Wings): “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”; “My Love”; “Band on the Run”; “Listen to What the Man Said”; “Silly Love Songs”; “Let 'Em In”; “With a Little Luck”; “Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)”; “Ebony and Ivory” (with Stevie Wonder); and “Say Say Say” (with Michael Jackson).

Lennon has three solos, “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” “(Just Like) Starting Over,” and “Woman,” plus David Bowie's “Fame.”

IZ ZAT SO? Only twice in the vinyl era did an artist get bumped from the No. 1 chart position by a different one of their own songs, then replace that one with yet another of their entries

Who they are comes as no surprise:

Elvis Presley (August 18 - December 8, 1956): “Hound Dog,” “Don't Be Cruel,” and “Love Me Tender” (16 total weeks). The Beatles (February 1 - May 9, 1964): “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” and “Can't Buy Me Love” (14 total weeks).

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