Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: In the late '60s a lot of the bands took on names that did not begin with “The.” Instead of The Drifters, and The Platters, we had Steam, and Creedence.

So which of the no “The” groups is the first to have a No. 1 hit? I'll bet it's Steam.
—Larry Crockett, Huntsville, Ala.

DEAR LARRY: There is more than one curious mind about this topic. An e-mail from David Wiederrecht asks a very similar, but Dave limits it to U.S. groups only. Country of origin does not matter, though, as the answer is the same for both of you.

Since nothing is ever as simple as it ought to be, there is one slight technicality involved in this research.

Based strictly on the way the artist's credit is shown on a specific release, then this blessed event happened over 10 years before Steam's 1969 smash, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”

It is the Dolphin single of “Come Softly to Me,” which credits the trio only as “Fleetwoods.” I pulled my copy to verify this and it is true.

The technicality is that subsequent recordings show them as “The Fleetwoods.”

Apart from that situation, Strawberry Alarm Clock hit No. 1 in 1967 with “Incense and Peppermints,” another pre-Steam release.

As for names like Herman's Hermits, I can't include them in this event. They are no different than Bill Black's Combo, or Paul Butterfield's Blues Band, though none of those pre-date “Come Softly to Me” anyway.

Of all of this is true only if we focus only on post-1956 groups.

As early as 1951, hits by Four Aces (Featuring Al Alberts) made the Top 10. In 1954, they had their first No. 1 hit, “Three Coins in the Fountain.”

I think that's about as far back as we'll go chasing after this slice of trivia.

Thank you to Fred Clemens, of Summit New Jersey, for the Four Aces reminder.

DEAR JERRY: Recently I started to sing an old song to a little buddy of mine, who is four years old.

The tune begins with “A, you're adorable,” then “B, you're so beautiful,” and “C, you're a cutie full of charm. I know it continues from there and involves the entire alphabet, but cannot for the life of me come up with the meaning for the rest of the letters. I know it ends with something like from “A to Z to tell you what you mean to me.”

Please help! This little guy loved the beginning and I think it's so important to introduce youngsters to all kinds of good music.
—Colonel's Lady, Clearwater, Fla.

DEAR COLONEL'S LADY: Not to mention the importance of introducing them to the alphabet.

Titled “A - You're Adorable,” it is a former No. 1 hit for Perry Como. Here we go, then, from A to Z:

A - you're Adorable
B - you're so Beautiful
C - you're a Cutie full of Charms
D - you're a Darling
E - you're Exciting
F - you're a Feather in my arms
G - you look Good to me
H- you're so Heavenly
I - you're the one I Idolize
J - we're like Jack and Jill
K - you're so Kissable
L - is the Lovelight in your eyes
M-N-O-P - you could go on all day
Q-R-S-T - alphabetically speaking, you're okay
U - [you] made my life complete
V: means you're Very sweet
W-X-Y-Z it's fun to wander through the alphabet with you
To tell you what you mean to me

DEAR JERRY: I have had no luck whatsoever getting any information on an album I once had by Jimi Hendrix. It is a recording made in concert somewhere in New Jersey, or maybe New York. It was one of the “New” states, I'm sure.

Is this something you can research for me?
—Cindy Clayman, Chicago

DEAR CINDY: The only other “New” states are Hampshire and Mexico, but you are correct with your first pick — it is New Jersey.

The title of your mystery LP is “Jimi Hendrix Live in New Jersey,” and it came out in Great Britain on EMI's Stateside label (E 048-91962).

This collection contains portions of a 1965 club appearance by Jimi Hendrix, accompanied by Curtis Knight. The performance was not professionally recorded thus the audio quality, though acceptable, is not excellent.

IZ ZAT SO? Creedence Clearwater Revival may have felt like the prennenial bridesmaid, when it came to No. 1 hits.

Five of their classic singles reached No. 2, yet not once did any of them manage to take over Billboard's top position.

They are: “Proud Mary; Bad Moon Rising; Green River; Travelin' Band,” and “Lookin' Out My Back Door.” One consolation for CCR is that for one week in 1970, Cash Box did have “Lookin' Out My Back Door” at No. 1.

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