DEAR JERRY: I name my automobiles. Been doing this from my first car, a 1962 Impala, to my most recent purchase.
Friends thought this was loony, but then along came a song in the mid-'60s about this very thing, and I knew I wasn't the only eccentric.
In the song, which I'm hoping you will know, all the guys named their cars
after girls whose names can be found in hit song titles, such as "Susie-Q,"
Tab Willett, Shippensburg, Pa.
DEAR TAB: We eccentrics know the importance of giving names to our non-human family members. Many things here at the Osborne hacienda have an identity as well as a personality.
And so it was with the record that confirmed your loony status 50 years ago. It is "Our Car Club," a 1964 release by the Astronauts, of "Baja" fame.
Coincidentally, this is the same title as a 1963 Beach Boys' tune, but they are completely different songs.
Your recollection of what sets the Astronauts' car club apart is nearly flawless, although one nonconformist named his car "Be Bop Baby."
Here are the song titles that inspired each car name referenced in "Our Car Club," and the singer most associated with each:
"Be Bop Baby" (Ricky Nelson) 1957
"Bony Maronie" (Larry Williams) 1957
"Carol" (Chuck Berry) 1958
"Jenny Jenny" (Little Richard) 1957
"Little Suzy" (Clarence "Frogman" Henry) 1961
"Long Tall Sally" (Little Richard) 1956
"Mary Lou" (Ronnie Hawkins and the Band) 1959
"Sherry" (4 Seasons) 1962
"Short Fat Fannie" (Larry Williams) 1956
"Susie-Q" (Dale Hawkins) 1957
DEAR JERRY: You once explained how a few seconds of Amilcare Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" provided the catchy melody of Allan Sherman's "Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp)."
But before that, wasn't there a very different song by a woman that also used the same segment from "Dance of the Hours"?
Imogene Shelton, Santa Monica, Calif.
DEAR IMOGENE: More than one. There were two that preceded Allan Sherman's million-seller from the summer of '63.
A year-and-a-half earlier (Jan. 1962), Nancy Sinatra's "Like I Do" (Reprise 20,045) was released.
The U.S. issue met with little success in North America, but became a huge hit in numerous overseas countries.
A year after Nancy sang "Like I Do," Teresa Brewer pretty much did just as Sinatra suggested, though her remake has a lengthier title: "She'll Never Never Love You (Like I Do)" (Philips 40095).
Tessie's tune garnered scattered success in North America, appearing on over a dozen regional charts in the U.S. and Canada.
DEAR JERRY: Now that you are an authority on regional hits, I've got an unsolved one for you.
An R&B record was played in Phoenix back when the twist was the rage. It may have even made the local charts.
This novelty suggests that some real and fictional celebrities were something other than what we knew them to be.
Is this enough to go on?
Daniel Browne, Sedona, Ariz.
DEAR DANIEL: I only know of one song that contradicts widely held beliefs about some famous folks, so it has to be "The Joke," written and performed by Reginald "Reggie" Hall.
Sealing the deal is that "The Joke" was indeed played in Phoenix, and appeared briefly in the Top 10 of the KRUX 13-60 Wax to Watch survey, in March 1962.
It is of course one big joke.
Here then are those familiar characters being outed by Reggie, along with some suggestions from yours truly:
They say that Wyatt Earp rode a horse but that's not so, he drove a car (very little rhymes with "horse," so my preference here would have been "he drove a hearse")
They say that big Cheyenne shot up the land, but he really was a real estate man
They say that Rudolph Valentino was a lover but that's not so, it was his brother
They say that Jesse James had a gang, but he really had a ragtime band
They say that ol' Bat Masterson carried a cane but that's not so, he drove a plane (my preference here would have been "he flew a plane")
They say that ol' big Paladin had gun will travel but that's not so, he shoveled gravel
They say that Perry Mason won all his cases but that's not so, he sold shoe laces
They say that Robin Hood lived in the forest but that's not so, he was a lawyer (my preference here would have been "he was a florist")
IZ ZAT SO? On first issues (Rip 154), "The Joke" is credited to Reginald Hall. Those pressings were primarily distributed in the New Orleans area.
A few weeks later, the single was picked up for national distribution by Chicago-based Chess Records, and that release credits Reggie Hall (Chess/Rip 1816).
The "Reginald" Rip original sells for $20 to $30, and the Chess/Rip about half that.