Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I read your column on the three generations of Nelsons (Ozzie, Ricky, Matthew & Gunnar) with No. 1 songs.

There is another all-in-the-family instance that many may not be aware of, though it involves in-laws as well as blood relatives.

In 1950 Red Foley hit No. 1 with “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy. In 1953, his daughter Shirley married Pat Boone, and, from 1955 to '61, Red's new son-in-law had six No. 1s.

Then, in 1977, Pat and Shirley's daughter Debbie went to No. 1 with “You Light Up My Life.”

Debbie's recording not only became the biggest hit of that year, but it wound up as the No. 1 record of the entire '70s decade!
—P. Curley, Shelton, Conn.

DEAR P.: There's no reason not to allow an in-law exemption, and this is a good one. Thank you.

What is also not common knowledge is that over a 20 year period (1959-1979) Shirley Boone recorded many tracks with hubby Pat. Other than “I'd Do It with You” (1975), none of these became hits.

Another Boone family story involves Pat's younger brother, Nick.

In 1957, Pat was America's second most popular recording artist (after Elvis). It was also the year Dot Records — the label holding Pat's contract — decided to record Nick.

To avoid any appearance of Nick riding on Pat's coattails, Dot chose to bill Nick Boone as Nick Todd.

Nick did manage a couple of successful hits that year, both cover versions (something Pat did a lot of in his early years): “Plaything” and “At the Hop.”

How the name Todd came about is an amusing story.

Dot president, Randy Wood, simply reversed the letters of the label name (Tod), then added an extra “d” to conform to the customary spelling of Todd.

He may also have feared that dee jays would pronounce Tod as Toad.

DEAR JERRY: Please settle this bet for us.

I am certain I once had a Beatles 45 rpm titled “You Know My Name.”

My friend, a self-proclaimed Beatles expert, says they never recorded such a song.

Who's right?
—Mike Paul, St. Petersburg, Fla.

DEAR MIKE: You and I both know that you win this bet.

The full title is “You Know My Name” (Look Up My Number),” and it is the B-side of the 1970 No. 1 hit, “Let It Be” (Apple 2764).

Not knowing about an uncharted B-side is one thing, but far more surprising is that your pal thinks they didn't even record this track, when it appears on at least three of their LPs and CDs.

DEAR JERRY: We often hear of the Everly Brothers and Hall & Oates being among the all-time top duets. However, what I have not seen is any mention of the most successful male-female duets.

Who might they be?
—Justin Evans, York, Pa.

DEAR JUSTIN: You're not the only one curious about this, as a very similar question arrived from Tom Jones, of Milwaukee.

Let's qualify a duo as simply a two-person act, without requiring both to be featured vocalists. This then is my Top 5 male-female list:

1. The Carpenters (brother-sister: Karen Carpenter & Richard Carpenter). 2. Captain & Tennille (husband-wife: Daryl Dragon & Toni Tennille). 3. Eurythmics (Annie Lennox & David Stewart). 4. Roxette (Marie Fredriksson & Per Gessle). 5. Peaches & Herb (Francine Barker & Herb Fame).

While not in the Top 5, honorable mention goes to these very familiar duos: Ike & Tina Turner (husband-wife); Nino Tempo & April Stevens (brother-sister); Donny & Marie Osmond (brother-sister); Les Paul & Mary Ford (husband-wife); Kendalls (father-daughter: Royce Kendall & Jeannie Kendall); and Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner.

Had they not switched singing partners so often, names such as Marvin Gaye, David Houston, Kenny Rogers, and Glen Campbell would also be on our list.

IZ ZAT SO? In 1969, Tamla-Motown issued an LP titled “Marvin Gaye and His Girls.”

When choosing this prophetic title, they could not have imagined how many different Girls would harmonize with Marvin.

Between 1964 and 1974, Gaye had 18 charted songs with five different women (number of duet hits in parenthesis).

Chronologically they are: Mary Wells (2); Kim Weston (2); Tammi Terrell (8); Valerie Simpson (3); and Diana Ross (3).

Reportedly, Valerie Simpson joins Marvin on three 1969 tracks, though those labels still credit Tammi Terrell.

The story makes sense as Terrell died in March 1970 from a brain tumor, which surely would have restricted her ability to record in 1969.

With Simpson being the singer on those three — “Good Lovin' Ain't Easy to Come By;” “What You Gave Me;” and “The Onion Song” — we rightfully list them by her even though they erronously credit Terrell.

Of the 11 duet hits credited to Tammi Terrell, there are only eight on which she actually sings with Marvin.

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