Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: If you can ease my brain pain, I will forever be grateful.

Circa-1961, the Top 40 stations in this area played a song that is probably titled “Ronnie,” or some slight variation, such as “Oh Ronnie,” or “Ronnie Came Back,” etc.

Every 1960s music expert I've asked immediately says it's “Ronnie,” by Marcy Joe, which was in fact a big hit at approximately the same time.

So I'll save you the trouble by saying that “Ronnie” is a different song altogether.

Either my mystery song is by Connie Stevens, or someone who sounds exactly like she did around that time.
—Raymond Lincoln, Harrisburg, Pa.

DEAR RAYMOND: The pain in your brain is about to wane.

Like the others, my first thought was Marcy Joe's “Ronnie,” especially since she repeatedly pleads “Ronnie, come back.” Having found a new girlfriend, he, like Charlie on the M.T.A., never returns.

However, you say this Ronnie came back. This, combined with the other clues, points directly to “The Ballad of Ronnie,” by Alicia Adams. In her ballad, Ronnie leaves Alicia for a hitch in the military, but eventually does come back to her.

On the reverse is “Kissin' On,” a strangely-titled up-tempo side. This too got some air play and might be another track you will remember.

Released in October 1960, Alicia's debut single (Capitol 4444) earned four-star reviews from the trade magazines. Even so, it did not chart nationally.

Thinking the singer of this teener tune to be Connie Stevens is very understandable. Other than Connie and Alicia, most anyone could make that same mistake.

DEAR JERRY: Having now watched the first episode of the fifth season of Army Wives, it brings to mind a question about the name of one of the regular characters, Emmaline Holden, daughter of Michael and Claudia Joy Holden.

Though I never heard this name before Army Wives, I was flabbergasted to find nearly 4,000 Emmalines on Facebook. This includes women of all ages.

My grandmother mentioned a song titled “Emmaline” was popular during the big band years, and it may have inspired some parents to name their girls Emmaline.

Do you know the song she describes?
—Nancy Gallagher, Sedona, Ariz.

DEAR NANCY: Yes, even though there are slight title variations and other considerations.

Emmalin (no 'e') Holden, played in Army Wives Season One (2007) by Caroline Pires, and thereafter by Katelyn Pippy, is not nearly as common a name as Emmaline.

As you now know, Facebook hosts thousands of Emmalines, yet they do not list even one Emmalin.

Next we have “Emaline,” almost certain to be the big band tune granny recalls.

Recorded in 1937 by Mildred Bailey, the preeminent female singer of the swing era, her “Emaline” is the man she hopes to marry. This would likely lessen the number of swing era parents naming girls Emaline.

Accompanying Bailey on the “Emaline” session is Benny Goodman's Orchestra, and some stellar sax work from Coleman Hawkins.

Using Facebook again as our sampler of society, they do have one Emaline, and wouldn't you know she is a she.

Seemingly against the odds, 10 years after “Emaline,” Mildred recorded a completely different song titled “Evaline,” with only one different letter.

As with Emalin, this Evaline is another potential mate of the male variety.

Facebook has two Evalines, both of whom are females. Why am I not surprised?

IZ ZAT SO? In 1925, while performing in Los Angeles, Mildred (neé: Rinker) Bailey was asked by her brother, Al Rinker, if she could help he and his crooning partner break into show business.

Mildred obliged and landed a job for Al and his pal, Harry Crosby, a gifted 22-year-old singer who preferred to be called “Bing.”

Throughout his remarkable career, Bing Crosby often credited Mildred Bailey for helping him secure his first important job in the entertainment business.

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