DEAR JERRY: A girlfriend of mine and I are both avid fans of the oldies but goodies. As such, we read your column religiously and always learn something. Still, there is one topic we have never seen you discuss.
My friend's name is Sally and mine is Mary, and we have a little wager on which of our names has been in the title of more hit songs.
From “Sally Was a Good Old Girl” to “Mary in the Morning,” we have both been the topic of many a recording, but only you can tell us who got sung about more often.
For purposes of this debate, let's limit the time frame to the 1940s through the '80s, okay?
Mary Hunter & Sally Leonardo, Shenandoah, Va.
DEAR MARY & SALLY: Okay, but in order to tally the Marys and the Sallys, I had to wade through all of the other ladies' names mentioned in hit song titles.
Not wanting that lengthy research to be wasted, and in anticipation of letters from all the Lindas and Marias, etc., here is an alphabetical listing of names appearing in at least four hit titles:
Alice (4); Ann (6); Anna (4); Annie (9); Barbara (5); Betty (7); Bonnie (6); Candy (7); Carolyn (5); Cathy/Kathy (6); Cinderella (6); Cindy (5); Daisy (4); Dawn (4); Diane (5); Donna (6); Georgia (5); Gloria (6); Jane (14); Jean (8); Jennifer (5); Jenny (10); Jill (4); Joann/Joanne (4); Judy (10); Julie (10); Laura (5); Linda (6); Lisa (6); Lucille (4); Marie (6); Maria (12); Mary (25); Matilda/Mathilda (4); Pat/Patricia (5); Peggy (4); Rose (15); Ruby (9); Sally (16); Sandy (5); Sarah/Sara (4); Sherry (5); Shirley (4); and Sue/Susie (18).
Not only do you top your pal Sally (16), but with 25 “Mary” titles, your name is the all-time champ. Congratulations Mary, songwriters love you.
Naturally, only songs about a woman named Georgia not those about the state, such as “Georgia on My Mind” are included in the count.
And before you ask, I have never known a real-life lady named Cinderella, but since she is in a half-dozen titles, I included her.
DEAR JERRY: I vividly recall a song titled “Curtain of Tears” being popular in the summer of 1952, when I edited a weekly newspaper in a small Louisiana town.
I have not heard it once since then and can find absolutely no trace of it anywhere. Of course I don't recall who recorded it.
Can you tell me anything about “Curtain of Tears”?
Donald R. Finley, Tarpon Springs, Fla.
DEAR DONALD: Since I know of only one recording of “Curtain of Tears,” it must be the one you remember.
You are right on the mark with the date, it is a May 1952 release (Capitol 2073), and is by Skeets McDonald.
Though it obviously got played somewhere in Louisiana, “Curtain of Tears” did not make the national C&W charts. However, McDonald's next single, “Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes,” sailed right to No. 1 for him.
DEAR JERRY: One of my more esoteric albums is “Last Kiss,” by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers.
As far as I know, Mr. Wilson had no hits other than the title track. So, does it now have any value?
Rosanne Copperfield, Lancaster, Pa.
DEAR ROSANNE.: Most regard J. Frank Wilson a One Hit Wonder, since he had no significant hits after “Last Kiss,” a million-seller in 1964. He did reach No. 85 with his follow-up, “Hey Little One,” and managed one other chart appearance albeit a 1973 reissue of “Last Kiss.”
This is a popular LP among vinyl hounds, with near-mint copies currently selling for $50 to $100.
IZ ZAT SO? “Last Kiss” reached No. 2 in mid-1964 on Josie (#923), this being the third time out for the tune. Two previous releases of this song by Wilson (from different sessions), first for Le Cam (#722) and then Tamara (#761), absolutely flopped.