Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Wotcher mate!

Do you think that Jan and Dean's “The Anaheim Azuza and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association” is the longest hit song title on a single? Or maybe it's just the title that trips off the tongue most teasingly.

What do you think?
—Steve Walder, West Sussex, England

DEAR STEVE: Wotcher cock!

With all those observant hours spent riding the Underground it's not surprising I'd at least come away knowing how to say “howdy mate” in slang Londonese.

Regardless of the ground rules, “The Anaheim Azuza and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association,” with its 12 words, is not the longest hit title.

If we include medleys, then Stars On had two hits with longer titles than Jan & Dean's song:

With 56 words is their 1981 issue, “More Stars: Papa Was a Rolling Stone/Dance to the Music/Sugar Baby Love/Let's Go to San Francisco/A Horse with No Name/Monday Monday/Tears of a Clown/Stop in the Name of Love/Cracklin' Rosie/Do Wah Diddy Diddy/A Lover's Concerto/Reach Out I'll Be There/Sounds of Silence/Stars on 45.”

Even their first hit, which went to No. 1, has the 41-word title, “Medley: Intro Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I'll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want To Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You're Going To Lose That Girl/Stars on 45.”

Though all of these words are considered part of the titles, if we exclude medleys and subtitles then Ray Stevens' 1961 hit, with 14 words, is the longest: “Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills.”

Finally, while not a chart hit, this 29-word title by Hoagy Carmichael may be the longest non-medley tune: “I'm a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin' Those Beat-O, Beat-O Flat on My Seat-O, Hirohito Blues.” The WW2 theme of this 1943 release is obvious.

DEAR JERRY: I write hoping for your help in tracking down an Everly Brothers song called “On the Wings of a Nightingale.”

I've been a long time fan of Don and Phil, but have not managed to locate any recording with this track, so any advice you can give would be most welcome.
—Dave Williams, Milwaukee

DEAR DAVE: “On the Wings of a Nightingale,” written by Sir Paul McCartney, became a hit single in 1984. It is the last charted 45 rpm (Mercury 880213) for the Everlys.

Besides that single, you will also find this tune on their Top 40 LP, “EB 84” (Mercury 822431).

IZ ZAT SO? Mention today of Jan & Dean and the Everly Brothers reminds me of an interesting twist.

In order, here are the all-time Top duo acts for singles sales: Daryl Hall & John Oates, Everly Brothers, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Carpenters, Simon & Garfunkel, Righteous Brothers, Jan & Dean, Sonny & Cher, Peaches & Herb, Peter & Gordon, K-Ci & JoJo, Ike & Tina Turner, Seals & Crofts, England Dan & John Ford Coley, and Sam & Dave.

Though all of these rank among the all-time Top 500 acts of any makeup, only Simon & Garfunkel and the Carpenters managed to have a No. 1 album.

The Carpenters had one and Simon & Garfunkel did it with three consecutive LPs in 1968, '69 and '70.

Not included in this category are superstar duets formed specifically for certain sessions, but who are not regarded as a duo act, such as Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson, or Willie Nelson and _______ (fill in blank).

And before anyone asks, the Thompson Twins are neither duo nor twins. They are a trio.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page