Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I can't ever recall a year when so many celebrities were arrested, Michael Jackson being the most recent to run into problems with the law.

Amidst all the coverage lately, one thing I never hear mentioned is his purchase of all those Beatles songs.

Did anything ever come of this deal? Does he still own their songs?

By the way, I know that Michael's brother, Jermaine, also had a recording career, but I haven't heard much about him in many years. Until recently that is.

In a recent interview with CNN, Jermaine said “Michael is not eccentric!”

Earth calling Jermaine. Isn't that the most dim-witted statement ever made?
—Papa Joe Dixon, Seattle

DEAR PAPA JOE: With regard to the music of the Beatles, Michael Jackson's group paid $47.5 million in 1985 for the publishing rights to 251 Beatles songs, all still in his portfolio.

Yes, much came of this deal. According to the London “Times,” Michael rakes in about $34 million each year from this investment — one that paid for itself in less than a year and a half.

I checked the CNN transcripts and Jermaine stated several times that Michael is not eccentric.

Jermaine likely doesn't know the meaning of eccentric. He may think it denotes evil, or some such thing. Regardless, he really blew it with that comment.

Eccentricity is not a gauge of good or bad, merely an indication of someone, or something, odd or out of the ordinary. Heck, I'm eccentric and always have been, but I don't have an arrest record.

Clearly, a more eccentric person than Michael Jackson may not exist.

Next we have a seemingly unrelated topic that also involves brothers:

DEAR JERRY: A favorite Christmas song of mine has always been “Good King Wenceslas,” by the Ames Brothers.

Despite hearing it every year for most of my life, I have yet to learn whether or not there really existed a King Wenceslas.

If there was such a king, what did he do that made him “good”?

Is this song fact or fiction?
—Paul Lemont, Chicago

DEAR PAUL: “Good King Wenceslas” is based on facts, at least as closely as possible when dealing with someone who lived over one thousand years ago.

In the years before his slaying, circa 929 AD (accounts vary as to the exact year), Wenceslas reigned in Bohemia, first as Duke then eventually claiming the king's throne.

Wenceslas lived only twenty some years, yet he became Bohemia's most celebrated martyr and patron saint, and the symbol of Czechoslovakian independence.

In his honor the Czechs erected one statue at Prague Castle, in the St. Wenceslas Chapel, and another in Wenceslas Square.

Oh yes, the evil assassin who plotted the death of Wenceslas turned out to be his younger brother, Boleslav. Justice was swift back then, as Boleslav soon swung at the end of a hangman's rope.

As with most leaders the world has known, Wenceslas' legacy encompasses both good and bad deeds. In his case, as it ought to be, the good (sheltering orphans, feeding needy, freeing slaves, etc.) far outweighed the bad.

And now you know why we don't have a Christmas carol titled “Bad King Wenceslas.”

IZ ZAT SO? We know the first Jackson Five (Jacksons) single, “Big Boy,” came out on the Steel-Town label (#681), in 1968.

Most musicoligists have understandably accepted as being by the Jacksons, a 1971 Steel-Town (a.k.a. Steeltown) single, “Let Me Carry Your School Books” (#688), credited to the Ripples and Waves Plus Michael.

Newly discovered information indicates the Ripples and Waves to be a completely different group.

Led by Elvy Woodard, a nephew of Steel-Town owner Gordon Keith, the Ripples and Waves featured a sound similar to the Jacksons, and both groups hailed from Gary, Indiana.

Finally, the Michael credited is Michael Rogers, not Michael Jackson. Rogers sang with a high-pitched voice, much like Michael Jackson at the time.

Coincidence? Probably not.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page