Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: One of my jobs in the 1960s required frequent drives between St. Louis and Chicago.

Cars had no tape players then, so I always listened the radio.

One morning, while leaving Missouri, a song about "My Home Town of St. Louis" played. It was by a female whose name I can't recall.

About five hours later, while nearing Chicago, I heard the very same song, with the same singer, but now it was "My Home Town of Chicago."

It was so surreal that I almost drove off the road.

Never again did I hear either song.

What happened to me that day?
—Cliff Johansen, Fraser, Mich.

DEAR CLIFF: Sounds like you narrowly escaped being dematerialized and beamed directly to the mother ship.

Your harrowing day began with you listening to WIL as they played "St. Louis, My Home Town," by Terry Lee Jenkins, and ended on WJJD with the similar sounding "Chicago, My Home Town," also by Terry Lee Jenkins.

I know the position of your radio dial because most versions of "(Insert city), My Home Town" was produced by Production Advertising Merchandising Service (PAMS), of Dallas, for a specific station. PAMS specialty was singing station identifications, or radio jingles.

Most, but not all "My Home Town" songs include the broadcaster's unique call letters, their frequency, and as many slogans or catchwords as they could squeeze into about 90 seconds.

Although Euel Box's "My Home Town" generic instrumental track was used for the record, very few of the lyrics are the same. Most were written by folks either working for or associated with the radio stations. On the reverse side of each 45 is that same instrumental, sans vocal, credited to Euel Box with studio musicians.

Here is the link to the most recent "My Home Town" list.

DEAR JERRY: On the 50th Anniversary CBS-TV show, "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America - A Grammy Salute," someone mentioned that Paul McCartney, in addition to everything else, was among the top songwriters.

Did they mean for America or Great Britain?
—Dee Gillcrest, Gary, Ind.

DEAR DEE: I can't say what they meant, but I'll tell you what I would have said about the song writing aspect of Paul McCartney.

Not merely "among" the most successful at his craft, he is clearly the No. 1 songwriter of the 20th century, which, when it comes to record sales, pretty much means forever.

Not to be overlooked are the many songs where Paul shares writing credit with someone else. The most frequently credited co-writer is John Lennon, regardless of whether one or both actually wrote the song.

As a result of that lucrative partnership, Lennon is second on the list of most successful songwriters.

IZ ZAT SO? Just as in the glory days of Tin Pan Alley, most of the top writers in the 1950s and '60s were teams, and nearly all were men.

In no particular order, some of the more familiar conglomerations that rank below Lennon-McCartney are:

Hal David-Burt Bacharach; Gerry Goffin-Carole King; Brian Holland-Lamont Dozier-Eddie Holland; Kenny Gamble-Leon Huff; Barry Gibb-Robin Gibb; Elton John-Bernie Taupin; Barry Mann-Cynthia Weil; Ellie Greenwich-Jeff Barry; Brian Wilson-Mike Love; Neil Sedaka-Howard Greenfield; Mick Jagger-Keith Richard; Paul Simon-Art Garfunkel; Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller; Doc Pomus-Mort Shuman; Roy Orbison-Joe Melson; Antoine "Fats" Domino-Dave Bartholomew; Kal Mann-Dave Appell; and Tommy Boyce-Bobby Hart.

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