DEAR JERRY: You can settle a bet by naming the first singles awarded Gold
and Platinum Records by the RIAA.
Shelley Yardley, York, Pa.
DEAR SHELLEY: I doubt there is a wager involved but Ronald Miller, of Evansville, Ind., asks pretty much the same question.
On March 14, 1958, the year RIAA launched the award to honor sales of one million copies, their first Gold disc award went to Perry Como for “Catch a Falling Star.”
The RIAA Platinum award debuted in 1976, for sales of two million singles, with Johnny Taylor's “Disco Lady” its first recipient.
Before RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) certification, sales awards usually came directly from the labels the first of which came in 1942 from RCA Victor.
That year, RCA made Glenn Miller's “Chattanooga Choo Choo” the first recipient of one of these in-house Gold Record awards.
Numerous recordings sold a million or more copies before 1942, but those artists received something like a plaque or certificate to honor their success.
Generally regarded as the first ever million-seller is “The Preacher and the Bear,” a 1905 hit by Arthur Collins.
DEAR JERRY: I hope you can identify a song I heard only once, and that was around 30 years ago. It is so powerful that I still think about it, and I really want a copy. I have tried many sources but always come up empty.
I believe the title is “Upstairs in the Bedroom.” At least that is the refrain.
I once asked a singer in another band about it, and he said they banned the song from the radio and that is probably why I only heard it that one time.
It came out around the time “Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town” (Kenny Rogers and the First Edition) was popular, and has a similar theme a disabled vet who can no longer please his wife.
If any one can identify this song, you can.
John Ohm, New Berlin, Wisc.
DEAR JOHN: Since you have the correct title, I am surprised your search has not been successful.
It is “Upstairs in the Bedroom,” a summer 1969 hit for Bobby Wright (Decca 32464). This single, backed with “My Home Away from Home,” should be available for under five dollars.
Yes, there are connections to “Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town,” as they came out within a couple of weeks of each other (“Upstairs in the Bedroom” being first), and share the similar theme you describe.
I am not aware of any stations banning “Upstairs in the Bedroom,” though it certainly could have happened. I know some stations received complaints from veterans groups about “Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town,”
Regardless, both tunes became hits, and that brings us to another parallel that will surprise you:
“Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town” peaked at No. 39 on Billboard's country survey, and remained charted for 11 weeks. “Upstairs in the Bedroom” peaked at No. 40, and lasted 10 weeks on the charts.
These two tunes could not get much closer than that.
Of Bobby Wright's 21 hits, only two “Here I Go Again” (1971) and “Seasons in the Sun” (1974) outsold “Upstairs in the Bedroom.
DEAR JERRY: I am a big fan of 1950s bad girl actress, Jana Lund, perhaps best remembered as the girl who gave Elvis his very first on-screen kiss, in “Loving You.”
I know Jana recorded for Liberty records in the '50s, and one of her 45s is “Johnny the Dreamer” backed with “Wishing Well.” But did she record and release any others?
D. Depro, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
DEAR D.: I am familiar with that one Liberty single, but know of no other records by Lund.
As for her films, she appears in at least four others besides “Loving You”: “Don't Knock the Rock” (1956); “High School Hellcats” (1958); “Frankenstein 1970 (1958); “Hot Car Girl” (1958); and “Married Too Young” (1962).
IZ ZAT SO? John “Bobby” Wright is the son of country stars, Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright.
Before he began his streak of chart hits (1967-1979), he played the part of Willy Moss (1964-1966) in the TV sitcom, “McHale's Navy.”