Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I recently saw the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie, “You've Got Mail.” At its conclusion, during the credits, the old song “I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” is played.

It brought back memories of when that song was popular in the late 1950s, when I was a teenager watching Dick Clark's American Bandstand. I've been trying to remember the name of the singer who did the '50s revival of that tune, but can't seem to. Can you help me?
—Nancy Tawney, Milwaukee, Wisc. (

DEAR NANCY: This kind of help is my specialty.

The 1957 remake of “I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” a Top 5 hit, is by Billy Williams (Coral 61830). This is of course the version heard in “You've Got Mail.”

The original hit of “I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” recorded by Fats Waller, came out in 1935 (Victor 25044).

DEAR JERRY: My husband remembers a record titled “Reville Rock,” from the early 1960s. We didn't know who recorded it, but we checked on the Internet and found a CD set that included “Reville Rock,” by Johnny and the Hurricanes.

It is an eight-disc set, and there are a lot of other songs on it, but we got confused when we listened to the one by Johnny & the Hurricanes. It sounded okay, but when we started listening to the other CDs, we found another selection, “Red River Rock,” by Johnny and the Hurricanes, that sounds identical to the one titled “Reville Rock.”

Can you help clear this up?
—Terry M. Boyd (

DEAR TERRY: I am not sure I can. I say this because I do not own the set you mention, though it would be helpful to know its title.

As for “Reville Rock” and “Red River Rock,” they are both from 1959 and both became hit instrumentals by Johnny and the Hurricanes.

They definitely should not sound like the same recording. If, on this CD set, they are identical, then a mistake has been made in the production process. You may very well be entitled to a refund if such an error has occurred.

DEAR JERRY: Who were the members of the Shades of Blue, the band that had the hit “Oh How Happy”?

Also, where and when did this band get its start?
—Dr. Rick Kirschner, Ashland, Ore. (

DEAR DR. RICK: The Shades of Blue started by working clubs and dances in the greater Detroit area. Fortunately, Motown singer Edwin Star, himself riding high on the charts with “Agent Double-O-Soul,” spotted the Shades of Blue and was key to them being signed by Detroit's Impact label.

Band members then were: Robert Kerr, Linda Kerr, Nick Marinelli, and Ernie Dernai.

DEAR JERRY: Back in the early 1970s there was a song that was popular around Tacoma. I think it is called “Love Won't Let Me Wait,” and it is sung by Major something.

What info can you tell me about this song? It's been bugging me for years.
—Alida Rothgeb, Tacoma, Wa. (

DEAR ALIDA: Only a couple of singers rose to the rank of Major, so the odds are it's either Major Lance or Major Harris.

Of course it is Major Harris who had the No. 1 R&B (and Top 5 on Pop charts) hit “Love Won't Let Me Wait” (Atlantic 3248).

IZ ZAT SO? Before striking out as a solo, Major Harris sang in the '60s with the Jarmels and in the '70s with the Delfonics.

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