Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne

FOR THE WEEK OF May 10, 1999

DEAR JERRY: I sure hope you can tell me the name and singer of a song that comes to mind every time I see builders clearing land for another housing development or something. I believe it came out in the late '70s or early '80s.

I only remember one line, which is: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
—V. Fletcher, Tacoma, Wash.

DEAR V.: This environmentally friendly tune, with the unlikely title “Big Yellow Taxi,” came out a bit earlier than you thought — 1970 to be exact.

Written by Joni Mitchell, she and a group named Neighborhood both charted in the summer of '70 with “Big Yellow Taxi.”

It is not unusual for a cover version to outsell the songwriter's original version, but it is odd for the cover to chart four weeks before the original — both of which happened here. However, a live concert version, lifted from Joni Mitchell's “Miles of Aisles” album, fared better than either of the 1970 releases.

Another remake of the tune charted in 1995, this one by Amy Grant.

DEAR JERRY: In the late 1960s Nancy Sinatra had several hit songs, including “These Boots Are Made for Walking” and a duet with her father, Frank.

But there was also a duet with a gravelly-voiced singer. I think his name is Lee Hazlewood, and the title has something to do with wine.

Please tell me more about this recording.
—Michael Randi, East Haven, Conn.

DEAR MICHAEL: You think right, it is Lee Hazlewood. The tune you refer to, “Summer Wine,” is the flip side of her Top 5 hit, “Sugar Town” (Reprise 0527).

This 1967 issue is but one of four duet hits for Nancy and Lee. They also scored with “Jackson,” “Lady Bird,” and “Some Velvet Morning.”

The duet with Frank you mention is their No. 1 tune from 1967, “Something Stupid.”

DEAR JERRY: My parents have been asking about a song they once sang. All they can remember is a line that goes: “The first every morning and the last thing every night.”

Their 60th wedding anniversary is coming up and I would like to get them a copy of this song.

Oh yes, our family name is Osborne. I wonder if we are related.
—Pat Gibbs, York, Pa.

DEAR PAT: You nearly nailed the title, which is “The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And the Last Thing Ev'ry Night).”

Jimmy Dean wrote this tune and his summer '65 single reached No. 1 on the country charts.

At least one budget (10 tracks) CD exists with “The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And the Last Thing Ev'ry Night),” titled “Jimmy Dean — American Originals” (Columbia CK 45077).

I only have knowledge of about five generations of relatives, and you are not among them. I suppose if we delved far enough into the past we may find one Osborne clan from Scotland, from which we all sprang.

IZ ZAT SO? Those who only know Jimmy Dean for his pork sausage, or his restaurant chain, should know that a more well-rounded entertainer would be hard to find. Jimmy, the Pride of Plainview (Texas) is an accomplished singer, songwriter, comedian, TV show host, pianist and accordionist.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page