Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A book about the music of the British Invasion makes reference to a time in the mid-'60s when the Beatles occupied all of the Top 5 chart positions. They state this feat had never before been done, but fail to list the exact songs and don't provide a specific date.

Can you fill in the details?

It would also be interesting to know if, in their first full year of success in the U.S. (1964), they tallied more or fewer weeks at No. 1 than Elvis did in 1956, his breakthrough year.
—Brenda Verline, Tampa, Fla.

DEAR BRENDA: The Beatles' ownership of the nation's Top 5 took place the week ending April 4, 1964.

Billboard reports the Top 5 that week as: 1. Can't Buy Me Love. 2. Twist and Shout. 3. She Loves You. 4. I Want to Hold Your Hand. 5. Please Please Me.

Besides those five, seven other Beatles songs are in that week's Top 100 hits: “I Saw Her Standing There” (31); “From Me to You” (41); “Do You Want to Know a Secret” (46); “All My Loving” (58); “You Can't Do That” (65); “Roll Over Beethoven” (68); and “Thank You Girl” (79).

That 12% of the April 4, 1964 Top 100 belong to the Beatles is truly remarkable!

Also noteworthy that week are two Beatles novelty hits that are not by them, but about them: “We Love You Beatles” (Carefrees) (42) and “A Letter to the Beatles” Four Preps) (85).

As for your second question:

From April 21 through the end of 1956, Elvis Presley spent 25 weeks at No. 1. The five songs in that impressive run are: “Heartbreak Hotel;” “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You;” “Don't Be Cruel;” “Hound Dog;” and “Love Me Tender.”

Since Presley's streak didn't begin until the end of April, he accomplished the 25-week total in roughly eight months, making his impact in 1956 even more astounding.

From February 1 through the end of 1964, the Beatles held the top spot for 18 weeks — doing so with these tunes: “I Want to Hold Your Hand;” “She Loves You;” “Can't Buy Me Love;” “Love Me Do;” A Hard Day's Night;” and “I Feel Fine.”

DEAR JERRY: My question is about “Leonard,” a record by Merle Haggard.

Issued by MCA in 1980, this song has been a mystery to me for over 25 years.

Just who is this Leonard fellow?
—Danielle Deloria, Stephenson, Mich.

DEAR DANIELLE: The “Leonard” to whom Merle Haggard pays tribute in song, is Leonard Sipes - a popular country singer who performed and recorded using the stage name, Tommy Collins.

Based in Bakersfield, California, Collins was instrumental in the professional development of both Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.

Buck Owens even played lead guitar in Tommy's band for awhile.

On his own, Collins charted more than a dozen country tunes, including the Top 10 hits “You Better Not Do That; Whatcha Gonna Do Now; Untied; It Tickles;” and the advisory “If You Can't Bite, Don't Growl.”

Leonard “Tommy Collins” Sipes died March 14th 2000.

IZ ZAT SO? In August 1956, when “Don't Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog” began to alternately claim the No. 1 chart position for nearly three months, the disc made Rock Era history.

Not for 41 years (October 1997) would both sides of another single be separately ranked No. 1.

Elton John did it with “Candle in the Wind 1997,” a fitting tribute to Diana Princess of Wales, backed with “Something About the Way You Look Tonight.”

A decade earlier, a live version of “Candle in the Wind” made the Top 10, but with reworked lyrics and buoyed by Elton singing it at Diana's funeral, it debuted at No. 1 and has since become the top selling single of all time. To date, over 30 million copies have sold.

As for before 1955 — the unofficial kickoff of the Rock Era — Rosemary Clooney accomplished this rare feat with “Hey There” backed with “This Ole House,” each of which held the No. 1 slot in the summer of '54.

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