Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Around 1960, as a kid growing up in Syracuse NY, I remember hearing a tune a few times on the radio titled “Wouldn't It Be Nice.” I recall the singer being named Johnny Rhythm.

I wish now that I would have bought a few copies because I have since read that “Wouldn't It Be Nice” is one of the most sought-after rock and roll records of all time, and is worth about $25,000.

What makes this record so valuable? To my knowledge, it wasn't even a hit.

Do you have any information on Johnny Rhythm, such as his real name? Did he have any other records?
—J.M. Kuno, Sequim, Wash.

DEAR J.M.: The full artist credit on “Wouldn't It Be Nice,” which is backed with “This Is It” (MGM 13043) is Johnny Rhythm and the Audios. No personal details on available on the mysterious Mr. Rhythm. (The smart money says that is not his real name.)

In the current price guide (1998 “Rockin' Records”) this 1961 disc books for $40 to $60. However, based on your inquiry, I sought opinions from several of the nation's top dealers as to its value. Their consensus is that “about the most one could expect to get for this record is $40 to $60.”

There are some $25,000 records, but this is not one of them.

Value is not based on whether or not a song became popular. Most of the world's valuable records are tunes most folks have never heard of, by obscure artists whose names are unknown outside record collecting circles.

As to your final question, the B-side title of this record provides the answer — this is it! I can find no other releases by Johnny Rhythm.

DEAR JERRY: A few words from a '60s or '70s song have been driving me crazy for many years.

The line that is haunting me is something like: “How he makes me wonder, how he makes me smile.”

Anything you can tell me about this mysterious tune would be appreciated.

Also, every time I hear “American Pie” on the radio, I rush to get my copy of your “American Pie Explained.” It's the best dollar I ever spent.
—Nancy M. Eggert, Dunedin, Fla.

DEAR NANCY: I'm fairly certain your mystery tune is “Stay Awhile,” a 1971 Top 10 hit (Polydor 15023) for a Canadian band known as the Bells.

Thanks for the comment regarding “American Pie Explained.” Who says money can't buy happiness.

DEAR JERRY: Regarding Jackie De Shannon and her hit, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” Would you please provide details of label, availability, year of issue, etc?
—David W. Hauptmann, Harrisburg, Ill.

DEAR DAVID: Of the 16 chart hits credited to Jackie De Shannon, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” is her biggest.

A Top 5 hit in mid-1969 (Imperial 66385), the tune is now available on two similar compact discs:

One is “What the World Needs Now Is … Jackie De Shannon (The Definitive Collection)” (EMI 8-29786-2), a 28-track disc.

The other is “The Best of Jackie De Shannon” (Rhino R2-70738), containing 20 tracks.

IZ ZAT SO? Born Sharon Lee Myers, the artist we know as Jackie De Shannon has recorded using an assortment of different names. Among her nom de guerres are: Sherry Lee (1956); Jackie Dee (1958); Jacquie Shannon (1958); and Jackie Shannon (1959). As you can see, she gradually worked her way toward Jackie De Shannon.

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