DEAR JERRY: One of my favorite bands of the '70s is Grand Funk Railroad, and I don't recall ever reading anything about them in your column. Maybe I can be the first to ask a GFR question.
I know they went through many members and even a few name changes, but I have yet to read exactly who did what with that group, and when.
Will you please sort out their complex history?
Kim Grissom, Southern Conn.
DEAR KIM: The Grand Funk Railroad story begins in Flint, Michigan, where, in the mid-'60s, Richard Terrance Knapp worked as a dee jay.
Using the stage name Terry Knight, Knapp joined the Jazz Masters, a popular local band. Their members at the time consisted of Don Brewer, Bob Caldwell, Al Pippins, and Herman Jackson.
In 1966, with Terry now fronting the band and singing lead, the band changed their name to Terry Knight and the Pack.
Meanwhile, a personnel change took place that would definitely impact their future. Bass guitarist Herman Jackson went into military service, with his spot taken by Mark Farner.
A 1966 remake of Ben E. King's '63 hit, “I (Who Have Nothing),” would be the only national hit single for Terry Knight and the Pack, though they did have a self-titled album which charted.
Two years later Mark Farner and Don Brewer left to form a new band of their own. They picked up Mel Schacher from ? and the Mysterians, and became Grand Funk Railroad. Terry Knight then took over as GFR's manager.
In 1973, they added session keyboardist, Craig Frost. That same year, the band dropped the “Railroad,” trimming the name to just Grand Funk. The group disbanded in 1976.
Farner then went solo. Brewer, Schacher, and Frost joined with Chuck Rowe and became Flint named in honor of the city where it all began.
Mark Brewer and Don Farner reformed Grand Funk in 1981, but the new amalgamation lasted only two years. In '83 they called it quits again; however, Brewer and Schacher resurrected GFR again in the mid-'90s. That group is still touring, and has many concert dates scheduled through 2003.
DEAR JERRY: I am looking for a very popular recording titled “Delecado,” or something very similar. I thought it was by Perez Prado, but I can't locate it among any of his recordings. It is an instrumental with a Latin beat.
I want to give it to a friend as a birthday gift because we used to listen to it as children. Do you have any information on this music?
Genie Waters, via e-mail
DEAR GENIE: I'll say it was popular such as being No. 1 in America for nearly six months!
You are just one vowel shy of perfection with the title. It is “Delicado,” a 1952 smash (Columbia 39708) for Percy Faith and His Orchestra.
Faith followed “Delicado” with two more No. 1 hits: “Song from Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart)” (1953) and “Theme from a Summer Place” (1960).
Incidentally, “Theme from a Summer Place” not only became the biggest hit single of 1960, but is also the only instrumental of that decade to be No. 1 for an entire year.
DEAR JERRY: I work with a young girl whose name is Priscilla. When I sing the “Priscilla” song she thinks that I am making it up (“Oh Priscilla, at last I found you, come let me put my arms around you”).
Unfortunately, I don't know who the artist is who made this recording. Can you help me?
Gary De Felice, Hauppauge, N.Y.
DEAR GARY: Supporting your assertion will be my pleasure. “Priscilla” is a Top 20 hit from late 1956, by Eddie Cooley and the Dimples (Royal Roost 621).
IZ ZAT SO? Eddie Cooley could be the definition of a one-hit wonder, having no charted titles before or after “Priscilla.”
Fortunately for his bank account, he also wrote, and has over 50 pop songs in his portfolio. His best known composition is “Fever,” which BMI honors as a Two-Million Performance Song.
Many have successfully recorded this sultry tune, including the McCoys, Little Willie John, Ray Peterson, Peggy Lee, Rita Coolidge, Sarah Vaughan, and Elvis Presley.
Of course Elvis also had a real-life version of “Priscilla.”