Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Here is a musical mystery unlike any I have seen covered in your column.

One of my 45 rpm records has only a partial label on one side. Unfortunately, the portion with the title is missing, and I am hoping you can tell me the name of the song.

Before you suggest that I simply play the record, I must admit that I have already done that — and I still have absolutely no idea what the title is, even by listening to the lyrics.

Here are the clues: The label name is Shell, and the number is 45-770. It is by the Ivy Three. All of that can still be read. Also, the flip side title is “Was Judy There.”
—Ronald McClain, York, Pa.

DEAR RONALD: This is an easy one. The Ivy Three had a Top 10 hit in the summer of 1960, which perfectly fits all of your clues, except one — the number.

The mystery tune is “Yogi,” a cute song inspired by the popular Hannah-Barbera cartoon character, Yogi Bear (voiced by Daws Butler). Yogi's animated sidekick, Boo Boo, is also mentioned in the lyrics.

However, the selection number for “Yogi” is 720, not 770. In fact, Shell numbers don't even run that high, so that must just be a typo.

About one thing, you are indeed smarter than the average bear. Next month marks the 14th year of doing this column, and yours is the first ever “torn label” question.

DEAR JERRY: Where on earth do some of the record companies get their facts?

For instance, let me quote from the liner notes on the soundtrack album for “Ghost.” It says: “In 1955, Al Hibbler made “Unchained Melody” a No. 1 hit in England. The Righteous Brothers 1965 cover song would make it familiar for American listeners.^

To me, this information clearly gives the impression that “Unchained Melody” was popular in England in 1955, but that it was not until the 1965 Righteous Brothers version — which, as we all know, is a remake and not a cover — that the tune became a hit in America.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Al Hibbler's record also a huge hit in the States? Plus, I seem to recall another popular version in the '50s.
—Gerry Caccia, New Haven, Conn.

DEAR GERRY: You are absolutely right about those album notes being misleading.

In 1955 alone, there were three huge singles in America of this haunting melody, the best-selling being by Les Baxter (Capitol 3055), a No. 1 hit. Others that made the Top 10 are by Roy Hamilton (Epic 9102), and, of course, Al Hibbler (Decca 29441).

Other artists who charted with “Unchained Melody” include: June Valli (1955); Vito and the Salutations (1963); Righteous Brothers (1965); Sweet Inspirations (1968); Joe Stampley (1975); Elvis Presley (1978); George Benson (1979); Heart (1981), and again, the Righteous Brothers (1990).

DEAR JERRY: Recently, while clearing things out of storage and preparing for a move, I discovered a pile of children's records. These are ones I had as a small child, which means they are probably all from the 1950s. Having read in your column about many valuable records from that decade, I hesitate to dispose of them without checking first with you.

Do you think they are worth saving? Will they pay for my grandson's college education?
—Millie Sluy, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR MILLIE: Most kiddy records have no consequential value, though there are exceptions. Among those that are collectible are ones by popular artists with an established following, such as Brenda Lee, Mel Blanc, Gene Autry, Jerry Lewis, and Roy Rogers. Consult a record price guide if you do have records by such folks. Unless that “pile” of plastic reaches to the moon, you better not count on it to provide much in the way of financial aid, for education or anything else.

If your records are not valuable, and are in decent shape, consider donating them to one of the second-hand shops whose sales support the handicapped and underprivileged.

IZ ZAT SO? Adelphi University students at the time, the Ivy Three took their name from their school's conference, the Ivy League.

Adelphi University, in Garden City, New York, is the first co-educational college in New York State. Founded in 1896, it is also known as the first institute of higher learning on Long Island

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