Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: As a teenager in the 1950s, I was greatly influenced by movies and television.

For example, "Witness for the Prosecution" made me want to be a lawyer.

Then I was mesmerized by an accordion player I saw on TV. This guy played in an other-worldly way, kind of like the Les Paul of the accordion.

Right then I wanted to learn how to make music the way he did.

He was somewhat popular in Chicagoland, around the same time as "Witness for the Prosecution."

I'd love to know his name and the title of his unusual recording.

By the way, I didn't become a lawyer and never played the accordion.
—Chase Shomer, Urbana, Ill.

DEAR CHASE: You fit right in with most of my generation. No doubt many teenage dreams in the '50 and '60s were fueled by exposure to pop culture.

Knowing that the critically acclaimed "Witness for the Prosecution" was a 1957 film, it seemed like that would be the best time to look for an innovative accordionist, who achieved some degree of notoriety in Chicagoland.

Fortunately the only accordionist with a popular record that year was Don Lee, and the very title of his tune confirms that he is your guy.

It is "ECHO, Echo echo" (Blue-Chip 0013), and it truly is chockfull of accordionistic reverberations.

Rather than simply credit "Don Lee" as the artist, the Blue-Chip label reads "Don Lee's New Sound" and "Multiplied by Don Lee."

"ECHO, Echo echo" remained on the Chicago charts for 10 weeks in the summer of '57, peaking at No. 18.

That anyone would equate Don Lee with Les Paul, the father of the electric guitar, is quite the compliment.

Oh yes, "Witness for the Prosecution" was not the only trial-based film in 1957. The other bona fide courtroom classic that year was "12 Angry Men."

DEAR JERRY: New York's Brill Building was once home to several husband and wife songwriting teams, such as Gerry Goffin with Carole King; Jeff Barry with Ellie Greenwich; and Barry Mann with Cynthia Weil.

Both Carole King and Ellie Greenwich recorded as solo artists, as well as in groups, but I have never known of a recording by Cynthia Weil.

Did she ever make records on her own?
—Gordon Daniel, Arnprior, Ontario

DEAR GORDON: If Cynthia did record, either solo or accompanied, I find no evidence of it anywhere.

We do know that in their creative collaboration, Weil wrote the lyrics and Barry Mann, definitely a singer, came up with the music to showcase Cynthia's lyrics.

Oddly, Barry Mann's biggest hit, "Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" was written by Barry Mann and Gerry Goffin.

Not every great lyricist also sings, so it is possible that Cynthia was simply not a singer.

Then again, she didn't really need to make records since the Mann-Weil team crafted some of the biggest hits of the 20th century.

In just the U.S., these two are credited with at least 43 diverse Billboard Hot 100 records, listed below in order of highest chart position:

1. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - The Righteous Brothers (1965)
1. "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" - The Righteous Brothers (1966)
2. "Somewhere Out There" - Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram (1986)
2. "Don't Know Much" - Linda Ronstadt Featuring Aaron Neville (1989)
3. "Here You Come Again" - Dolly Parton (1978)
4. "Kicks" - Paul Revere and the Raiders (Featuring Mark Lindsay) (1966)
4. "Never Gonna Let You Go" - Sergio Mendes (1983)
6. "Hungry" - Paul Revere & the Raiders (Featuring Mark Lindsay) (1966)
7. "Blame It on the Bossa Nova" - Eydie Gorme (1963)
7. "On Broadway" - George Benson (1978)
9. "On Broadway" - Drifters (1963)
9. "I'm Gonna Be Strong" - Gene Pitney (1964)
9. "I Just Can't Help Believing" - B. J. Thomas (1970)
9. "I Will Come to You" - Hanson (1997)
11. "He's Sure the Boy I Love" - The Crystals (1963)
12. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" - Daryl Hall & John Oates (1980)
13. "Uptown" - The Crystals (1962)
13. "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" - The Animals (1965)
15. "Bless You" - Tony Orlando (1961)
16. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" - Dionne Warwick (1969)
17. "Just Once" - Quincy Jones Featuring James Ingram (1981)
18. "Saturday Night at the Movies" - The Drifters (1964)
19. "Walkin' in the Rain" - Jay and the Americans (1970)
21. "Magic Town" - The Vogues (1966)
22. "Shape of Things to Come" - Max Frost and the Troopers (1968)
23. "Walkin' in the Rain" - Ronettes (1964)
25. "Only in America" - Jay & the Americans (1963)
25. "I'll Take You Home" - Drifters (1963)
28. "Looking Through the Eyes of Love" - Gene Pitney (1965)
36. "Make Your Own Kind of Music" - Mama Cass Elliot (1969)
38. "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" - Donnie and Marie (1978)
39. "Looking Through the Eyes of Love" - Partridge Family (1973)
58. "Where Have You Been (All My Life)" - Arthur Alexander (1962)
64. "Heart" - Kenny Chandler (1963)
71. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - Roberta Flack & Donnie Hathaway (1971)
77. "Don't Know Much" - Bette Midler (1983)
78. "The Princess and the Punk" - Barry Mann (1976)
82. "Heart" - Wayne Newton (1963)
88. "Don't Know Much" - Bill Medley (1981)
89. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - Long John Baldry & Kathi MacDonald (1979)
93. "Feelings" - Barry Mann (1970)
94. "Talk to Me Baby" - Barry Mann (1964)
95. "It's Not Easy" - Will-O-Bees (1968)

IZ ZAT SO? "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" has been played more times on radio than any other song, estimated at between 14 and 15 million airplays.

Besides the five versions that made the Hot 100, two others appeared exclusively on the country charts:

41. Barbara Fairchild (1975)
57. Carlette (1987)

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