DEAR JERRY: In early 1964, when most Americans heard the Beatles music for the first time, three consecutive No. 1 songs were by them.
Are they the first Rock Era act to accomplish what is obviously a very difficult feat?
Arnold Goodwin, Vincennes, Ind.
DEAR ARNOLD: Constructing the inquiry as you have, the answer is no.
In the summer of '56, three straight Elvis songs reached No. 1: “Don't Be Cruel;” “Hound Dog;” and “Love Me Tender.”
Had you ended your first sentence with something like “singles” or “releases,” instead of “songs,” the answer becomes yes.
This is because “Don't Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog” are two hits that happen to be back-to-back on the same record, whereas the three Beatles tunes are separate singles: “I Want to Hold Your Hand;” “She Loves You;” and “Can't Buy Me Love.”
You are correct about this being a difficult feat, as I can think of no other Rock Era occurrence.
Which is not to say it never happened before.
By expanding the permissible time frame back to 1930, we find Glenn Miller and His Orchestra with FOUR consecutive No. 1 hits once, and two other streaks of three.
Glenn's two trifectas came in 1939, first with “Wishing (Will Make It So);” “Stairway to the Stars;” and “Moon Love.”
After a two-week loan of the top spot to Glen Gray for “Sunrise Serenade,” Miller ran off three more: “Over the Rainbow;” “The Man with the Mandolin;” and “Blue Orchids.”
Only the “Sunrise Serenade” interruption kept Glenn from having six in a row.
Miller's landmark streak came in 1940. In an accomplishment unequaled, he had four consecutive No. 1 hits: “When You Wish Upon a Star;” “Tuxedo Junction;” “The Woodpecker Song;” and “Imagination.”
Noteworthy too is all 10 of these Miller hits are separate releases, 78 rpm singles of course. Glenn, Elvis, and the Beatles are the only ones with this achievement on their resume.
DEAR JERRY: One of my records is “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” by Sly and the Family Stone.
What's puzzling me is the subtitle, “Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.”
Do you know which language this is? I thought it might be German, since “Elf” is their word for the number 11.
But none of the rest is recognized by either the Babel Fish or Google language translators.
I tried Dutch, French, and a few other languages, but none seemed to match.
What the heck is this?
Bethany Ellis, Grants Pass, Ore.
DEAR BETHANY: You may kick yourself when you read the translation.
As you probably know, the principal line in the song is “thank you for letting me be myself again.”
That is pretty much what you'll get when you sound out “thank you falettinme be mice elf agin.”
Sure it's a stretch, but this funky phrase is closer to English than any other language.
IZ ZAT SO? Compared to recording artists of the modern era, Glenn Miller's output and domination is downright staggering. From mid-'39 through '43, Bluebird issued approximately 150 Miller singles!
Astonishingly, about one-half of those became chart hits. Very rarely did a week pass without one or more of Miller's tunes being on the Pop charts.
His eight No. 1 hits in one year (1940) is an all-time record, and is two more than the Beatles in 1964, when they totaled six.
On December 15, 1944, Miller, then a pilot and a Major in the U.S. Army, took off from England for a short solo flight across the English Channel to Paris.
There he planned a concert for the Allied forces who recently liberated Paris, but his plane never made it to the French side of the Channel.
Not a trace of the pilot or the aircraft has ever been found.