Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: While playing a video trivia game recently, one question given me to answer was “Name the first recording artist to receive a Platinum award.”

I believed the answer to be Peter Frampton, for his album “Frampton Comes Alive,” so that was my response.

However, the machine said I was wrong. It claimed the first Platinum LP is Iron Butterfly's “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” a 1968 release.

One reason I question this information is that I don't believe that the Platinum award even existed before 1976.

Please settle this for me.
—Joseph C. Schlesak

DEAR JOE: According to the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America), neither you nor the video game is correct, though you are much closer to the facts than your electronic quizmaster.

Here is the timeline with regard to this matter:

December 3, 1968: the RIAA certified Iron Butterfly's “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” Gold.

February 24, 1976: “The Eagles — Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” becomes the first Platinum award recipient. This event is quite remarkable, since this LP did not even hit the charts until the following week (March 6).

March 4, 1976: The second Platinum award album is Bob Dylan's “Desire.”

April 8, 1976: “Frampton Comes Alive” gets its Platinum certification.

January 26, 1993: “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is certified Platinum (actually multi-Platinum).

Now you can clip this column and send it to the manufacturer of that video trivia game.

DEAR JERRY: I sure hope you can help me with my search for a recording of “The Hot Canary,” a piece for a jazz violin.

I know of versions by Paul Nero, Florian Zabach, and Joe Venuti with Steven Grappeli, but any arrangement will do.

Poking around on the Internet, I found a California company called Hip-O that has this tune in their catalog. However, they do not respond to any of my requests for more information.

I even tried Directory Assistance, but there is no phone listing for Hip-O.

My first choice is a CD, but a vinyl copy (any format or speed) is also acceptable.
—Peter Kocsis, Barrington, Ill

DEAR PETER: Let's see if we can help you cage this hot canary.

The best known version of this zany instrumental, which is probably to a classical or jazz violinist as “Orange Blossom Special” to a fiddler, is by Florian Zabach. His recording (Decca 27509) became a Top 15 hit in 1951.

Besides the original single, “The Hot Canary” can be found on one Various Artists collection LP that I have, titled “The Fifties” (Decca DL-4009). There are likely others, since all Decca masters are owned by MCA, and appear frequently in their reissue series.

I also have the Hip-O CD, itself a product of the MCA conglomerate. It is “Cigar Classics, Vol. 4 — Smokin' Lounge” (HIPD-40034), and it does include Zabach's original Decca track.

This 1997 issue is now out of print; however, since this is your first choice and you do have online access, there is hope.

As of this mid-April writing, there are six copies of this CD available at Most are priced under ten dollars. Of the 14 tracks in this collection, 13 are popish instrumentals. Then, quite inexplicably, you hit track 14 and hear William Shatner narrating “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Talk about a stray in the herd!

DEAR JERRY: I just want to thank you for setting the record straight in your recent column on the groups I sang for.

I will be at Disneyworld's Epcot Center May 6th and 7th doing my hits.

All the best and that's great website you have, buddy.
—Ron Dante, Los Angeles

DEAR RON: Nice to hear from you Ron, but with all the "groups'' you sang for, and hits you made, will you have enough time on stage to sing them all?

DEAR JERRY: My husband recently said something that keyed both our brains and at the same time we both started singing “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”

Since then we've tried to remember the song that starts out like that. I've emailed all my friends from my age group and they all thank me for driving them crazy because it keeps going through their brains, but they can't think of it either.

In my mind, the singer sounds like Bobby Vinton, but I may wrong. If you can help, there are a whole lot of people that will be eternally grateful!
—Teri Mahon, Friends with Someone in Paducah, Ky.

DEAR TERI: It's definitely time we return your brains to normal duty.

On this recording, the seven “I Love Yous” you mention are actually followed by eight more, making for it being sung 15 consecutive times — easily enough to get the point across.

This is a Top 20 hit from late 1957 by Sam Cooke, titled “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” (Keen 3-4002).

Fortunately for you two lovebirds, this track is on several currently available Sam Cooke CD collections.

IZ ZAT SO? Before 1958, Gold Record awards existed, but they came directly from the record companies.

On March 14, 1958, the newly-created RIAA awarded their first Gold disc to Perry Como for the single, “Catch A Falling Star” (1,000,000 sold). In July, the Oklahoma Original Cast LP became their first Gold album award winner (500,000 sold).

The Platinum award signifies sales of 1,000,000 units, with Multi-Platinum honors going to those with more than 2,000,000 sold.

In 1999, the RIAA created a Diamond award, indicating sales of 10,000,000 units of any format — album or single.

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