Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne

FOR THE WEEK OF March 29, 1999

DEAR JERRY: A television commercial is currently running in which “My Prayer” is prominently featured.

I don't recall the product, but that doesn't matter. I'm wondering about the artist singing this version. It is certainly not the Platters, whose recording of “My Prayer” is the only one I've never known.

So who is singing it on this commercial?
—Junior Stillman, Harrisonburg

DEAR JUNIOR: You are not alone in thinking that the magnificent 1956 recording of “My Prayer” by Tony Williams and the Platters is the one and only. For most post-war-born music lovers, it is.

However, two versions of “My Prayer” lingered at or near the top of the charts in 1939 — one by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, and the other by the Ink Spots. It is the Ink Spots' recording of “My Prayer” (Decca 2790) that you hear during that TV spot.

Like you, I cannot recall the product being advertised — just the smooth sounds of Bill Kenny and the Ink Spots.

DEAR JERRY: As a huge Star Trek fan, I was pleased to see you give some attention to James Darren and his recurring role as lounge lizard Vic Fontaine on “Deep Space Nine.” But I was less than pleased to read that a CD of these songs might not have a lot of commercial potential. I would think that anything with Star Trek on it is a goldmine.

Is it any different from Vonda Shepard's songs on “Ally McBeal”? Okay, I agree that “Ally McBeal” is more popular and Vonda's songs are more contemporary. Still, Trekkers are devoted and James Darren has gotten a lot of milage from his role.

GNP/Crescendo puts out all the soundtrack music to the various Trek shows and movies and they would probably have their biggest selling title to date with a CD of James Darren singing as Vic Fontaine. They could buy some ad time during DS9, or do a video for VH-1, which is owned by Viacom, which owns Paramount, which owns Trek.

This won't be a radio hit or anything as these kinds of songs don't get much play these days, but it would sell respectably.

I'm not even a big fan of the Sinatra-type stuff that Vic Fontaine sings. I prefer classic rock (Beatles, Stones, Billy Joel, Dylan, Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Clapton, etc.) and blues. Still, I like Darren's performances and would gladly buy such a CD.

I just wanted you to know that James Darren has suddenly turned up some new fans in some unlikely places, and a new CD of his “Deep Space Nine” music would be a real gas!
—Shaun Navis (

DEAR SHAUN: In that case, my news should fill your tank.

You are right. There is indeed enough of a marketplace for Star Trek doodads, gizmos, books, games, and music, that they don't need to be overly concerned with mainstream merchandise sales. Of the dozen, or so, Star Trek-related CDs made, none are found on the best-sellers charts.

For more on this topic, see the March 15th column.

What's it Worth? Get fast appraisals by e-mail!

IZ ZAT SO? Here's one you can ponder for a week. For each of the past five decades, we will list the two most successful groups, from the singles charts. Using their “combined” sales, rank these pairs in order from 1 through 5. Get the answer next week right here.

Forties: Ink Spots and Mills Brothers.
Fifties: Tony Williams & the Platters and Bill Haley & the Comets.
Sixties: Beatles and Supremes
Seventies: Bee Gees and Chicago
Eighties: Kool & the Gang and Huey Lewis & the News.

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