Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Don't know if you've seen this, but the bio on Bobby Vinton's web site ( includes this statement:

“During the first ten years of the Rock Era, Vinton had more No. 1 hits than any other male vocalist, including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, quotes Billboard Magazine.”

I don't think so.

During the first 10 years of the Rock Era, no one is even close to Elvis. I believe Pat Boone also has more No. 1 records than Bobby Vinton.

Any idea how a claim like that could be made?
—John Grochowski, Chicago

DEAR JOHN: Whether intentional or the result of careless research, some claims are simply untrue.

This particular one may the work of an enthusiastic publicist whose investigation should have been more thorough.

Since no specific Billboard source is named, such as one of their issues, it is not clear if this quote is somehow in error or out of context. Since Billboard should know their own chart history, such an accounting from them seems unlikely.

For now, however, let's just take it at face value.

Four of Bobby Vinton's singles reached No. 1 on Billboard: “Roses Are Red (My Love)” (1962); “Blue Velvet” (1963); “There! I've Said It Again” (1964); and “Mr. Lonely” (1964).

From 1955 through '64, we know Elvis churned out 17 No. 1 hits. No one else has even half that many.

You are correct about runner-up Pat Boone. Give him six chart-topping hits during that span.

Then comes Bobby Vinton with his total of four.

Frank Sinatra is probably mentioned in the quote for name recognition only, as he had just one No. 1 during that period: “Learnin' the Blues” (1955).

Being third in this prestigious category is still something of which to be proud, but here are two more accurate and equally impressive claims I came up with for Vinton's biography (feel free to use them, Bobby):

1. From 1962 through '64, Bobby Vinton had more No. 1 hits than any solo vocalist of either gender.

2. Among all vocalists in the '60s, only Elvis Presley had more No. 1 hits (six) than Vinton (four). These numbers continued even beyond the '60s, holding steady through 1973.

DEAR JERRY: In a recent episode of TV's “House,” after a conquest of sorts, Dr. Gregory House muttered “vene vede vichi.” I'm not sure of the spelling but that's what it sounded like.

Hearing these words brought back memories of a popular Italian song in the 1950s, with either the same or very similar title.

My memory is foggy on the other details. Can you confirm such a recording?
—Paul Weems, York, Pa.

DEAR PAUL: It is “veni vidi vici,” a renowned phrase commonly credited to Roman general Julius Caesar, circa 48 BC after he “came, saw, and conquered” his foe, Pharnaces II of Pontus.

The pop hit you recall of this title is “Veni-Vidi-Vici (I Came, I Saw, I Conquered),” a 1954 single by the Gaylords (Mercury 70427).

Though many of the Gaylords hits include verses in Italian (“Tell Me You're Mine;” “From the Vine Came the Grape;” “Strings of My Heart,” etc., etc.), “Veni-Vidi-Vici” is definitely Latin. The subtitle, “I Came, I Saw, I Conquered,” provides the translation.

DEAR JERRY: Did Marilyn Monroe ever record any songs that are NOT from one of her films?

I can't think of a single one.
—Patrick Farrell, Milwaukee

DEAR PATRICK: Terse it may be, yet this is an outstanding question!

Most folks would be challenged to name one, but Marilyn did record at least twice that many non-film tunes. Both from the same 1954 session, they are “(This Is) A Fine Romance” and “Like a Woman Should.”

Omitted from the list are Marilyn's recordings of songs performed by someone else in a film in which she also acts.

One example of this is Marilyn's record of “You'd Be Surprised,” sung by Dan Dailey in “There's No Business Like Show Business,” in which she co-starred.

For Marilyn Monroe, the business of show business clearly revolved around the silver screen.

IZ ZAT SO? The No. 1 single for the entire year 1964 is “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” by the Beatles.

However, for the previous 17 years (1947 through 1963) only once did the top song of any year belong to a vocal group — male or female.

That would be “At the Hop,” by Danny and the Juniors, the No. 1 record of 1958.

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