Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: At the post office where I work, I am known as “the oldies guy.”

I came by this nickname because I am the one they always ask to identify the oldies they don't recognize, as well as other music trivia.

Now they have hit me with one that I can't solve, but I'm hoping you can help me save face.

The question is which No. 1 album of the 1960s has a title that was simply untrue?

About the only answer I can come up with is “Johnny Cash at San Quentin,” and that would only be if that LP was actually recorded elsewhere (after all, he did sing about Folsom Prison a few times).

What is the real answer?
—Ernie Cavanaugh, Hillside, Ill.

DEAR ERNIE: First let's eliminate Johnny Cash as a possibility.

The man in black did perform at both Folsom and San Quentin prisons, with separate albums of those concerts being issued. However, “Johnny Cash at San Quentin” (Columbia CS-9827) is the only one of the two to reach No. 1 on the Pop charts, and there is no mix-up in the titles. For the record, both did top the C&W charts.

A more likely selection would be “Recorded Live - Little Stevie Wonder, the 12 Year Old Genius” (Tamla 240).

Even though Motown anointed Stevie a musical genius at age 12 when they recorded this concert, he had already turned 13 by the time his “12 Year Old Genius” album came out.

While the title may not be totally accurate, it can at least be explained.

Elsewhere in Wonderland, after three singles that flopped, Stevie's fourth release, “Fingertips Part 2” (Tamla 54080) topped the charts in the summer of '63.

The success of “Fingertips” as a single could not have been expected. This tune is but one jazzy instrumental track on Stevie's previous album, “The Jazz Soul of Stevie Wonder” (Tamla 233).

Only when performed live did Stevie add the sporadic vocal segments.

DEAR JERRY: I see countless records listed for sale, online and in printed catalogs, where the sellers prominently use the letters KBD in their descriptions. This trend is especially common on eBay.

Making this more intriguing is the hundreds or thousands of dollars asked for some KBD singles.

Yet I have not found even one seller who bothers to define KBD, as if everyone reading their ad knows what is meant by those letters.

Have you encountered this? Do you understand its meaning?
—Darwin Howard, Eau Claire, Wisc.

DEAR DARWIN: Yes, and yes.

Though it may seem to stand for Keeps Bugging Darwin, KBD is really an initialism for Killed By Death.

Most collectors of independent label or privately pressed Punk Rock records know exactly what is meant by KBD. Now, so shall you.

“Killed By Death” is the generic title of a series of various artists compilation albums featuring obscure yet appealing Punk tracks taken from many of those same pricey singles you spotted.

Though nearly all of the KBD albums are unauthorized, they provide fans of this genre with music too expensive to buy in the form originally released.

There is no official manufacturer of KBD bootleg LPs, many of which are made by ambitious and anonymous collectors who put together compilations of their personal '70s and '80s Punk favorites.

Among the hot bands in the KBD category are: Black Flag; Controllers; Critical Mass; Deep Wound; Eat; Fix; Gang Green; Helen Keeler; Invader; Knots; Minor Threat; Trend; Misfits; Necros; Nothing; Prosecutors; Reactors; Saints; Samhain Initium; and Thought Criminals. Household names one and all.

Using KBD in an ad is a seller's way of indicating the record being offered is found on one or more of the “Killed By Death” albums, and as such is deemed a preferred collectible.

Think of it as the Punk Rock equivalent to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

IZ ZAT SO? From 1974 to present, Stevie Wonder took home 26 separate Grammy Awards, the most ever by a Pop or Rock vocalist.

Still, the all-time Grammy accumulation record goes to Sir Georg Solti, who for 22 years conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His amazing overall Grammy total is 38.

That's enough hardware to fill anyone's mantle.

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