Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I heard a TV commercial recently with a singer humming a song that I know I've heard long ago, but cannot possibly identify it because there are no words.

Here is sort of how the humming goes: "Mmmm a mmm-mmm ummp ummp umm- oomp," and on and on without singing an actual word.

There was not any mention of the product in the song.

Making this even more challenging is that because I only heard this once, I cannot even recall the product being advertised.

Can you help me conquer this annoying earworm?
—Tammy Munoz, Artesia, N.M.

DEAR TAMMY: When I received your mail, I had never seen that commercial. But today (April 4th) I saw it, a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra spot on MSNBC, and it confirmed my original guess. There may be more than one version, as is often the case with such advertising.

The music is, as I suspected, a very brief revival of "Little Bitty Pretty One," a charted hit five times in the Golden Age.

Here they are, with the year and peak chart position:

1957: Thurston Harris (No. 6)
1957: Bobby Day & the Satellites (No. 9)
1960: Frankie Lymon (No. 39)
1962: Clyde McPhatter (No. 25)
1972: The Jackson 5 (No. 5)

All five of these are easily found on YouTube, and, for the first 30 or more seconds, each has the "Mmmm a mmm-mmm" humming, and no words.

DEAR JERRY: Ava Gardner co-starred in the movie version of "Show Boat," but, despite her objections and her own good singing voice, her songs are dubbed using someone else's vocals.

I would like to know who really is doing the singing. I read somewhere it is Lena Horne.
—Larry Brooks, Odessa, Fla.

DEAR LARRY: Good old Hollywood, where nothing is as it seems.

It is the voice of Annette Warren you hear as Ava Gardner lip syncs. Strangely, on the soundtrack album, Gardner sings her own songs, thus proving your point about Ava's vocal skills.

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