Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: In the late '60s (I think 1969) when the Ohio National Guard shot some student protesters at Kent State University, one of four killed is Allison Krause.

Since this name is not among the world's most common, I am wondering if Allison Krause, the Bluegrass singer-fiddler who rose to fame in the 1990s, was named after the deceased Kent State student.

If there is no connection then it seems like an extraordinary fluke.
—Bob Cox, Vincennes, Ind.

DEAR BOB: It is, as you suggest, a fluke.

Both of the names, Allison and Krause, are homophonic — pronounced the same but spelled differently.

Allison Krause is one of four students gunned down May 4, 1970, the others being Jeffrey Miller; Sandra Scheuer; and William Knox Schroeder.

In John Filo's haunting photo, in which a panic-stricken Mary Ann Vecchio kneels over a slain boy, the victim there is Jeffrey Miller.

Alison Krauss is the Bluegrass entertainer whose '90s hits include “Somewhere in Vicinity of the Heart”; “When You Say Nothing at All”; and “Buy Me a Rose” (with Kenny Rogers).

DEAR JERRY: Your recent column about the shortest hit songs, in particular all 35 seconds of “The Ladies' Bras,” prompted a search through my old 45s for a short one I remember.

By Kenny Price, the A-side is “Biloxi,” which was quite popular in the 1970s, but the B-side is “The Shortest Song in the World” (RCA 9869).

Running just 17 seconds, it is about half the length of “The Ladies' Bras.”

Might this truly be the shortest song in the world, at least at that time?
—Alana Bennigan, Jackson, Tenn.

DEAR ALANA: “Biloxi” made the Country Top 10 in the summer of 1970, which means a lot of people also have “The Shortest Song in the World.” So you are not the only one to inquire about this song, just the first.

Yes, 17 seconds is a mighty short song, but Kenny Price's brief tune is MUCH longer than the all-time quickie — without regard to sales or hit status.

That one came along in late '55 in conjunction with Les Paul and Mary Ford's “Amukiriki (The Lord Willing)” backed with “Magic Melody” (Capitol 3248).

Both sides charted though “Amukiriki” became the top side, eventually reaching the Top 40.

The ordinary release of “Magic Melody” runs 2:20, but as an attention getting gimmick, Capitol produced a special promotional single titled “Magic Melody Part 2” (PRO-234).

With just two guitar notes and a running time of only one second, this is truly the shortest recorded song in the world. At least until someone plays a one note tune, lasting only a half-second.

DEAR JERRY: A few years ago you told how “Songs from Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) became the first soundtrack album.

It now seems logical to ask if the first Original Cast album came before or after the Disney release, and what is the show?
—Leroy Spurling, Milwaukee

DEAR LEROY: Logical indeed, though I doubt the answer will shock you. In 1943, Decca records released the first Original Cast album: “Selections from the Theatre Guild Musical Play Oklahoma! (Featuring Members of the Original New York Production)” (DA-359).

It contains 12 songs on six 78 rpms, by Alfred Drake; Joan Roberts; Howard Da Silva; Celeste Holm; and Lee Dixon.

IZ ZAT SO? Not yet being set up to record live at the St. James Theatre in 1943, producer Jack Kapp arranged for the full “Oklahoma!” cast and orchestra to record the show's music in Decca's New York studio.

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