Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Ever since the early '50s when I saw my aunt's collection of colored plastic 78s, I have been especially drawn to such records.

Of particular interest to me are ones by Ricky Nelson. Sorry to say, I have yet to ever find any, nor can I even find a complete listing of them anywhere.

Some price estimates would also be very interesting.

Not long ago you provided a reader this type information for the band NOFX. Perhaps you can assist me and clear this up now.
—Kim Dalton, Elmhurst, Ill.

DEAR KIM: As you may suspect, the reason we rarely find Rick's colored vinyl discs on the market is most are incredibly scarce, and likely in the homes of collectors with no intention of letting them go.

Unlike your aunt's 78 collection, all of Rick's are either 33 or 45 rpm.

Chronologically, here is the listing you seek:

1957: Black vinyl pressings of his first LP, “Ricky” (Imperial 9048), sold millions, but only one red vinyl copy is known. Its current owner says he wouldn't sell it for $100,000, and devoted collector of Rick that he is, I tend to believe him.

1958: The earliest colored vinyl single is “Lonesome Town” (Imperial 5545), and again we know of just one. This red plastic beauty sold about a year ago for $13,000.

1960: “More Songs By Ricky” (Imperial 12059) is his fifth album overall, but just the second issued in stereo. To promote the then-new stereo format, Imperial made a few using blue vinyl. Though more common than the first two listed, this is still a $1,000 item.

1961: “Travelin' Man” backed with “Hello Mary Lou” (Imperial 5741), another of Rick's No. 1 hits, came as both red and blue vinyl. There are even two different red vinyl formats: one a standard 45 rpm, the other with an LP-size, quarter-inch center hole.

Either the blue, or the red disc with a typical 45 rpm hole, are worth about $1,000.

The red vinyl with the small, LP-size, hole is considerably more costly — at least $5,000.

1963: Both “Old Enough to Love” (Imperial 5935) and “A Long Vacation” (Imperial 5958) came out on red vinyl, and are valued at $600 and $500 respectively.

DEAR JERRY: Johnny Horton's 1960 hit “North to Alaska” is often played around here, and every time I hear it I endure a moment of torment.

This is all because of one line there about “a man needs a woman.”

I have a solid memory of a different song bearing this title, and I always felt the singer to be Johnny Horton. It even seemed like a logical follow-up to “North to Alaksa.”

Unfortunately, I cannot find any record or album of “A Man Needs a Woman” by Johnny Horton.

I think I need help!
—Sally McGuire, Plant City, Fla.

DEAR SALLY: A little maybe, but not much. Everything is pretty much as you recall.

The full title is “Man Needs a Woman,” and the words are indeed a line from “North to Alaska.” Also, this tune came along the following year (1961).

Where you're wandering off the track is the singer. It is not Johnny Horton, though some, like yourself, think he sounds a bit like Johnny. It is by Rink Hardin (Jubilee 1001).

For the record, my pal Wink Martindale also issued “Man Needs a Woman” in 1961 (Dot 16282), but he does not sound anything like Johnny Horton.

IZ ZAT SO? From the conception in 1945 of a chart for the best-selling albums, to the summer of '63, over 130 different LPs reached No. 1.

Of that total, only eight could be considered Rock and Roll.

Seven of those eight are by Elvis: “Elvis Presley;” “Elvis;” “Loving You;” “Elvis' Christmas Album;”G.I. Blues;” “Something for Everybody;” and “Blue Hawaii.”

The remaining rock chart-topper is Ricky Nelson, with his debut LP “Ricky.”

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