Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Among my memories as a Top 40 junkie in high school is a song that our local dee jays often played at the end of their shift.

It was around graduation time in 1961 and the title was "Stick Around," which they used to remind listeners to stick around for the next guy's show.

I think it was by April Stevens, but if not it was someone using her sultry "Teach Me Tiger" and "Love Kitten" style.

Perhaps you can dig up the particulars on this record.

Oh yeah, I was living in Redlands, Calif. at that time, and listened faithfully to KFXM and KMEN. Both stations served San Bernardino, Riverside, and the so-called Inland Empire.
—Ernest Smith, Chandler, Ariz.

DEAR ERNEST: In what seems like an afterthought, your mention of KFXM definitely made my digging less troublesome.

Assuming graduation time meant May or June, my search began there. I quickly found one of KFXM's Fabulous 59 surveys (May 13-19, 1961) that lists "Stick Around," proudly identified as a former KFXM Pick Hit.

Written and performed by Annette Tucker (Piper 1100), it was new on the chart at No. 36.

Also debuting then, but at No. 52, is "Love Kitten" by April Stevens, making it completely understandable how, after 54 years, you could easily jumble these two licentious tunes.

Either or both could have contributed to a young man's decline and fall into Top 40 junkieism.

A regional hit, especially in California and Minnesota, "Stick Around" was Annette Tucker's only record as a performing artist; however, Annette quickly learned the odds of sticking around the recording industry were far greater as a writer of songs than as a singer.

After "Stick Around," Tucker wrote or co-wrote tunes for dozens of artists, a few of whom are:

American Breed; Barracudas; Stiv Bators; Blue Ice; Brady Bunch; Brogues; Freddy Cannon; Chesterfield Kings; Chocolate Watchband; Electric Prunes; Ferrante & Teicher; Four Preps; Gary and the Gamblers; Great Scots; Gremlins; Don Ho; Jackson Five; Jimmy and the Offbeats; Tom Jones; Knickerbockers; Vicki Lawrence; Trini Lopez; Maureen McGovern; Scott Miller and the Commonwealth; Nana Mouskouri; Rick Nelson; Freddie Paris; Roy Rogers; Frank and Nancy Sinatra; Keely Smith; Sonny & Cher; Tyrants; and the Ventures.

Annette's biggest success was "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)," originally a Top 12 hit by the Electric Prunes in 1967. Both Electric Prunes' follow-ups, "Get Me to the World on Time" and "Dr. Do-Good," were also from Tucker's prolific pen.

Numerous other artists have since recorded "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)."

DEAR JERRY: When "Walk Right In," by the Rooftop Singers and their 12-string guitars, was a monster hit, I never dreamed it wasn't a new piece of music.

And until recently I had no reason to question that opinion.

I just heard an announcer on one of the Music of Your Life stations say that "Walk Right In" was a revival of a recording from the 1920s or '30s.

No mention was made of who made it then, how similar it was, or what the title may have been.

If this is true, can you provide the details the station failed to tell us?
—Linda Jorgenson, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR LINDA: What little info they did report was factual, though I wouldn't speculate on why more details were not given. Regardless, here's the rest of the story.

Gus Cannon and Hosea "Hosie" Woods wrote "Walk Right In" in 1929, and their group, Cannon's Jug Stompers, recorded it for Victor (V-38611).

When the record came out the following year, "Walk Right In" was shown as the B-side, with the A-side being "Mule Get Up in the Alley." Knowing what we do now makes Victor's choice for the plug side questionable.

Lyrically, there is very little difference between versions by Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Rooftop Singers. The biggest change is with the improved instrumentation, as would be expected after 33 years.

I know of no other recordings of "Walk Right In" between then and the 1962 release by Erik Darling, Willard Svanoe, and Lynne Taylor, collectively known as the Rooftop Singers.

Featuring Darling and Svanoe both playing 12-string guitars, "Walk Right In" introduced sounds previously not heard on any record, hit or otherwise.

Inexplicably, their original single (Vanguard 35017) credits only Erik Darling and Willard Svanoe as writers, which no doubt got the attention of Gus Cannon, who then got the attention of Vanguard.

The record was quickly repressed appropriately crediting all four contributors: Erik Darling; Willard Svanoe; Gus Cannon; and Hosie Woods. BMI (song licensing affiliate) also attributes the composition to all four men.

IZ ZAT SO? The Rooftop Singers' "Walk Right In" is the first record ever to simultaneously reach No. 1 on all of these major charts: Billboard's Hot 100 Singles; Billboard's Middle of the Road [non rock] Singles; Cash Box's Top 100 Singles; Cash Box's Easy Listening [non rock] Singles; and Music Vendor's Top 100 Singles charts.

Moreover, it was also one of those rarities found on both Billboard's Hot R&B (No. 4) and Hot Country (No. 23), as well as Cash Box's Top R&B (No. 14) and Top Country (No. 16) charts.

About the only music stations not playing "Walk Right In" were ones with a classical format.

IZ ZAT SO? When Tom T. Hall wrote "Harper Valley P.T.A." he could never have imagined what a cultural phenomenon he'd created.

Not only did Jeannie C. Riley's 1968 recording top both the pop and country charts in the U.S. and Canada — the first time ever accomplished by a female — but that one little phonograph record inspired a feature film (1978) AND a TV series (1981). That too had never happened before.

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