Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: As you may know, "Rabbit, Run" (first published in 1960), is the book that established John Updike as a major American novelist.

The book's main character is Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, formerly a high-school basketball star who, at 26 years-old, up and deserts his wife and son, to begin a new adventure.

Over the decades, subsequent books in Updike's "Rabbit" series were published, including "Rabbit Redux," "Rabbit Is Rich," "Rabbit at Rest," and "Rabbit Remembered."

As a record collector and music lover, I got a kick out of how many hit songs in 1959 Angstrom heard on the radio in "Rabbit, Run," including:

"Almost Grown" (Chuck Berry)
"Everybody Likes to Cha Cha Cha" (Sam Cooke)
"If I Didn't Care" (Connie Francis)
"No Other Arms, No Other Lips" (The Chordettes)
"Petite Fleur" Chris Barber
"Pink Shoe Laces" (Dodie Stevens)
"Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)" (The Impalas)
"Stagger Lee" (Lloyd Price)
"The Happy Organ" (Dave "Baby" Cortez)
"Turn Me Loose" (Fabian)
"Venus" (Frankie Avalon)
"Yep!" (Duane Eddy)

All 12 of those were significantly popular, and instantly recognizable. But there three others that didn't chart at all, and that I have never heard of: "Beat of My Heart," "Fall Out," and "Rocksville, Pa.," the latter being one that Rabbit Angstrom plays on a juke box.

Do you know anything about those three. Are they also from 1959? Were they perhaps regional hits?
—Sheila Eversole, St. Cloud, Minn.

DEAR SHEILA: "Beat O' My Heart" (Harry Simeone Chorale) and "Fall Out" (Henry Mancini) do not appear on any of my regional charts.

"Rocksville, Pa.," by the Admiral Tones, is a rockin' guitar boogie instrumental, that was "Hit Bound" on both KDAL (Duluth) and WHIL (Boston).

All three are 1959 releases.

It is likely just a coincidence, but John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, and it is merely an hour's drive west from Reading to Rockville. There is no Rocksville to be found in any state, though it would be a very cool place for us music freaks to gather for a convention.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page