Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I was born on Feb 4th 1983 and recently learned Karen Carpenter died that same day.

I am now very curious about her time of death, and hope you have that information.
—Tarah Liane, Oklahoma City

DEAR TARAH: Conflicting reports exist as to exact the time of death, but I will certainly share the information I have.

One story says that Karen's mother found her on the floor unconscious, then made the 911 call at 8:51 a.m., February 4, 1983.

That version reports the EMTs took Karen immediately to the hospital where, over the next hour, all attempts to save her life failed. If true, and she arrived at the hospital alive, that would seem to put the time of death at between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.

Another account indicates Karen was already dead when the emergency team arrived at the family home in Downey, Calif. If so, then time of death would probably be between 8:30 and 8:51 a.m.

Karen Carpenter died of cardiac arrest brought about by anorexia nervosa, an often-fatal eating disorder. At the end, she was just 32, stood 5'4" and weighed approximately 100 pounds.

Let us shift our attention now to another Karen.

DEAR JERRY: My favorite singer is Roy Orbison, but unfortunately the radio stations in this area play just one of his tunes: “Oh Pretty Woman.”

Among his MANY other great songs is one that I have searched for on compact disc, “The Crowd.” I have it on a vinyl LP, but can't seem to locate it on CD.

I even tried contacting a Roy Orbison fan club, but got no response. Can you help me?
—Karen Murach, Milwaukee

DEAR KAREN: Probably more than the fan club you tried.

Since Roy Boy is your favorite singer, you really ought to own the boxed four-CD career retrospective set, “The Legendary Roy Orbison” (CBS A4K-46809). Among its 75 tracks is his 1962 hit, “The Crowd.”

Another option to get “The Crowd” is the CD version of that LP you have, “The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison” (CBS AGK-45116). Here you have the 12 tracks from the vinyl album, plus eight more: “Leah; In Dreams; It's Over; Working for the Man; Falling; Love Hurts; Mean Woman Blues,” and a real favorite of mine, the haunting “Shahdaroba.”

Should you have difficulty finding either of these collections, you can always burn a CD of your Orbison LP.

DEAR JERRY: On the hit tribute song “Three Stars” (Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Big Bopper), the narration is by Tommy Dee. However, the singing is done by Carol Kay and the Teen-Aires.

I must admit that I fell in love with her voice. Did she ever do any more recordings?
—Willem Zandhaas, via e-mail.

DEAR WILLEM: Carol Kay, who also recorded as Carol Kaye, never duplicated the success of the Top 15 hit, “Three Stars” (Crest 1057), but she did make a few more records.

In mid-'59, right on the heels of “Three Stars,” came “O' Where, O' Where” (Crest 1062).

It appears Carol did not record in 1960, though she did have the original issue of “Gee Gosh (Gosh Oh Gee)” in '61 (Keno 1002).

Teen Time reissued “Gee Gosh (Gosh Oh Gee)” in 1962 (TT 1006), and Gene Norman Presents put out “Ice Cream Rock” (GNP 182) that year.

Those are the only releases by Carol; however, she also did some session work, singing backup on tracks by artists such as Chris Montez, and Jan & Dean.

IZ ZAT SO? Tommy Dee (nee: Tommy Donaldson) wrote “Three Stars” without any thoughts of recording it himself. The first person to do that was rock and roll star Eddie Cochran, in a spur-of-the-moment session held just two days after the February 3, 1959 plane crash.

Cochran, perhaps still in an emotional upheaval over the tragedy, could not come up with a satisfactory take. Only then did Tommy and Carol collaborate to create what would be Crest's biggest hit ever.

Eddie Cochran's version did not come out in the US until the 1971 album, “Legendary Masters” (United Artists 9959).

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