Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A lady friend of mine claims that “You Light Up My Life” was written originally for Debbie Boone, the singer who put it at No. 1 on the charts for a long time.

I contend that “You Light Up My Life” was originally recorded on a small label (Arista) by an unknown singer named Kasey Cisyk.

Which of us is right? A dinner rides on your answer, and I'm getting mighty hungry.
—William H. Braem, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc.

DEAR WILLIAM: Maybe you should eat first. This answer is a little on the convoluted side and you'll need your strength to stay with me.

“You Light Up My Life” is the main theme for the film of the same name. The version heard during the film is by Kacey (note spelling) Cisyk.

Kacey had the opportunity then to have a single release of “You Light Up My Life,” but for some reason not revealed to us, she turned down that chance.

Meanwhile, along comes Debby (again, note spelling) Boone. Debby's rendering of “You Light Up My Life,” coupled with a remake of the Crystals' hit, “He's a Rebel,” came out as a single (Warner Bros. 8446) in August of 1977. On it, “He's a Rebel” is credited to the Boone Girls.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, the Boones — featuring Debby, same as the Boone Girls — had a 45 titled “Hasta Manana” (Warner Bros. 8355).

Inexplicably, Debby's first issue of “You Light Up My Life” attracted no attention whatsoever; however, when reissued just a week or so later (Warner Bros. 8455) it zoomed right to No. 1. The tune remained at the top for an amazing 10 straight weeks, a feat that puts it in the Top 15 singles of all time for consecutive weeks at No. 1.

“You Light Up My Life” easily became the No. 1 hit for the year 1977. When the '70s gave way to the '80s, this tune ranked as the biggest hit of the entire '70s decade.

But wait! Don't call yet. There's more.

For the reissue of “You Light Up My Life,” Warner plucked the aforementioned Boones' track, “Hasta Manana,” and used it as the flip instead of “He's a Rebel.” Only this time, “Hasta Manana” is credited only to Debby Boone, no doubt to promote her as much as possible.

In late October, with Debby Boone's version already resting at No. 1, Kacey Cisyk's film track came out (Arista 0287), but not even credited to her on the label. The artist is merely shown as the “Original Cast of You Light Up My Life.”

One theory (mine, in fact) is that the name Kacey Cisyk might be too easily confused with the actress-singer Sissy Spacek, best known for her marvelous portrayal of Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner's Daughter.”

Obviously this issue, which clearly had no chance, went nowhere.

Now that you have more details than you could have imagined, I'll leave it up you two to decide who pays for dinner.

DEAR JERRY: I found the Top 10 lists from BMI and ASCAP, in one of your recent columns, quite fascinating. I would, however, like to clear up one little point.

Neither BMI nor ASCAP are music publishers. They often are confused as such, because they work with and on behalf of independent publishers the world over. They act as more of an accounting liaison between those who play the recordings, or effect the performances, and the publishers to whom fees are paid.

Also adding to the confusion is that either BMI or ASCAP is shown on most record labels right next to the name of the music publisher.

Thanks for a fun and informative feature.
—Brad Richardson, Lancaster, Pa.

DEAR BRAD: And thanks to you for catching that oversight. Appreciation is also extended to Dorothy Stow, of Federal Way, Wash., who sent a similar note.

IZ ZAT SO? Even though Debby Boone had a couple of fitting follow ups to “You Light Up My Life,” neither lit up much of anything. Both failed to crack the Top 40, thereby relegating Debby as a One Hit Wonder in the pop department (she later had some country success). Still, based on one spectacularly successful record, she won three Grammys, including one for Best New Artist of 1977.

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