Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: We once owned a 45 rpm single of “Again,” but it was long ago and I no longer recall the name of the singer.

It was, as they say, our song!

If you can provide a list of the artists who popularized “Again” in the early 1950s, it would probably include the name of the version we seek.
—Joan Sutyak, Lakeland, Fla.

DEAR JOAN: Be assured your little secret — the one about you forgetting an important detail of “your song” — is safe with me.

Seven different pop stars reached the nation's charts with “Again.” The one you need is likely among them.

They are, in order of sales ranking:

Doris Day (Columbia 38467); Gordon Jenkins (Decca 24602); Mel Torme (Capitol 15428); Vic Damone (Mercury 5261); Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra (RCA Victor 3028); Art Mooney and His Orchestra (MGM 10398); and Vera Lynn (London 310).

All but Vera Lynn's “Again” made the nation's Top 10 in mid-1949, which is a bit unusual since her recording hit the market in January, several months ahead of the others.

Vera did at least crash the Top 25.

Written by Dorcas Cochran (words) and Lionel Newman (music), “Again” debuted in the 1948 film “Road House.”

“Again,” along with “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)” and “The Right Kind” are performed in the movie by Ida Lupino.

New versions of many of the top hits of the 1940s became popular in the '50s and beyond, but not this tuneful sensation of 1949.

“Again” never again reached the Pop charts.

I know most folks have never heard it, but my favorite “Again” is by the Universals (Mark-X 7004), a 1957 doo-wop ballad.

Another interesting rendition is by James Brown. His distinctive take on this tune reached the R&B Top 50 in the summer of '64 (King 5876).

DEAR JERRY: Our local Music of Your Life station often plays “Band of Gold,” by Don Cherry.

I know that, besides being a big hit on its own, it is the music used on Buchanan and Goodman's “The Flying Saucer, Part 2.”

The song begins with a very distinctive male chorus, which is no doubt why Buchanan and Goodman use it to open Part 2 of their novelty hit.

The dilemma is because along with “Band of Gold,” another recording — one performed by a woman — came out using the exact opening, but for a completely different song.

So abnormal was this that by listening to just the first few seconds, one would never know which of the two songs is playing.

Can you identify the one by the woman?

Do you think they might have recycled Cherry's background just to keep session expenses down?
—Esther Jamison, Oakland, Calif.

DEAR ESTHER: I know how it is. I went through a similar bit of uncertainty in 1961 when Curtis Lee's “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” was popular.

Until the vocal began, I was never quite sure whether it was Curtis Lee … or Fats Domino's “I'm Walkin'.”

Okay, let's get to YOUR question:

First came Don Cherry's “Band of Gold” (Columbia 40597), a Top 5 smash in early 1956.

Eight months later, Buchanan and Goodman's “The Flying Saucer” (Luniverse 101), also a Top 5 hit, revived air play and sales of “Band of Gold,” as well as the other snippets featured.

Then in November, Jo Stafford's “On London Bridge” (Columbia 40782) came out, and this is your mystery tune.

Stafford's backup on this Top 40 hit does sound “nearly” identical to that of “Band of Gold.”

Yet, despite a similarity that is too close to be called a coincidence, it is clearly unique to this session and not an exact match.

Though both recordings are on Columbia, for “Band of Gold” Cherry is accompanied by Ray Conniff and His Orchestra and Chorus and, as with most of her music, Jo Stafford's “On London Bridge” is with her husband Paul Weston and “His Music from Hollywood.”

We tracked down Don Cherry, who, with lovely wife Francine, is living and loving life on a golf course in Las Vegas.

Don has only faint recollection of Stafford's “On London Bridge,” and does not recall anything out of the ordinary happening because of the similarity.

As far as he knows, it was simply a non-issue.

IZ ZAT SO? Speaking of foggy London town:

In mid-January 1953, Jo Stafford's “You Belong to Me” reached No. 1 on Britain's New Musical Express chart, making Jo the first female singer ever to claim the NME's top slot.

Hot on her heels came Kay Starr, who replaced Stafford at No. 1 the following week with “Comes A-Long A-Love.”

Apparently any gender barrier which might have existed officially crumbled.

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