Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I have a question about Ellen Foley, who once provided backup vocals for Meat Loaf, and others.

Did Ellen ever make recordings on her own? If so, did any of them get released?
—Doug Hase, Port Orchard, Wash.

DEAR DOUG: Like you, most of us discovered Ellen Foley because of her association with Meat Loaf in 1977, and the “Bat Out of Hell” album. Foley is particularly remembered as the female vocalist on “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” a track from “Bat Out of Hell” that also became a hit single in 1978.

The following year, Ellen's first solo album, “Nightout,” came out. Lifted from this LP for single release came “What's a Matter Baby,” a remake of Timi Yuro's 1962 hit.

Like “Nightout,” Foley's next album, a 1981 issue titled “Spirit of St. Louis, charted but just barely. Neither found the way into the Top 100.

Ellen's third album is “Another Breath,” a 1983 release, and a collection of earlier tracks, “The Very Best of Ellen Foley” followed in 1992.

Besides her solo recordings, Ellen continued doing session work. In chronological order, here are the artists on whose albums Foley is heard: Meat Loaf, Ian Hunter, Blue Oyster Cult, Iron City Houserockers, Sorrows, Hilly Michaels, The Clash, Mickey Dread, Jim Steinman, Will Powers, Joe Jackson, Dan Hartman, Martin Briley, and Bonnie Tyler.

Many of these are British artists, though Ellen Foley is a St. Louis native — thus the title of her second LP.

DEAR JERRY: One of the most popular TV shows during my childhood years was Disney's “Zorro.”

Adding to my enjoyment of the series is its memorable theme song. I have searched everywhere, but cannot come up with any information about the original TV version, though I do find a recording of “Zorro” by Chordettes. But they are a female group and the TV theme is by male voices.

Any help at all would be wonderful!
—Arnold Redding, York, Pa.

DEAR ARNOLD: Other than their major stars, crediting just the Disney name and not artists was commonplace during those years.

Even the Disneyland label's own single (F-105) of the “Zorro” theme offers no credit for either the singers or the orchestra. All that's shown is “Main Title of Walt Disney's Television Series.”

From another source I learned the quartet of voices crooning about the “fox of cunning and free” is Thurl Ravenscroft (the gr-r-r-r-r-eat voice of Tony the Tiger), Bill Lee, Bob Stevens, and Max Smith.

The only person pictured on the sleeve is actor Guy Williams, and understandable choice since he played Zorro.

Finding the Chordettes' rendition of “Zorro” is easier because theirs became the hit version.

DEAR JERRY: Please settle a long-standing, friendly argument between my daughter and me.

While we listened to the Beatles version of “With a Little Help from My Friends,” I mentioned that it was a remake of an old Jimmie Rodgers song.

She immediately disagreed, saying it was written by one or more of the Beatles, making it their original.

So who's right in this family?
—C.T. in Milford, Conn.

DEAR C.T.: It's time for you and daughter dear to end this debate, which is not to say she will let you hear the end of it — because she is right.

The writers of “With a Little Help from My Friends” are John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The famous duo penned this tune specifically for their Grammy Award winning 1967 LP, “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

IZ ZAT SO? Apart from recordings, Ellen Foley also enjoyed a commendable acting career. Among those credits are: “3 Girls 3” (1977), “Hair” (1979), “King of Comedy” (1983), “Tootsie” (1982), “Night Court” (TV series, 1984-'85), “Fatal Attraction” (1987), “Cocktail” (1988), “Married to the Mob” (1988), “Murder in Black and White” (1990), and “Random Hearts” (1999).

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