Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: In a collection of '60s and '70s records I bought is a Capitol single (#5112) of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” by the Beatles.

What intrigues me is how new this record looks. It seems a 45-year-old record would show its age with signs of wear.

The label is typical of Capitol's mid-'60s releases, yellow with a curling orange wave breaking.

Is this an original or just one of their many reissues?
—Milt Spencer, West Allis, Wisc.

DEAR MILT: There are indeed many reissues; however, most do not fit the description your provide.

Between Capitol and Apple alone we've seen at least 20 different variations of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” but only two of those reissues have that yellow and orange label, and are numbered 5112. Both are special anniversary issues intended to replicate the originals.

So let's see which you have.

All variations have the music publishing company name on the right side, directly above the time (2:24).

If that name is Walter Hoffer [Music], George Pincus & Sons Music, or Gil Music Corp., you have a '64 original.

Should it read Duchess Music Corporation, and have black text printed around most of the outside border of the label, it is a 20th Anniversary (1964-1984) edition.

In 1994, Capitol issued a 30th Anniversary (1964-1994) edition, also published by Duchess Music Corporation. This one, however, has only a few words at the bottom, underneath “The Beatles,” all in WHITE print.

I think you can take it from here.

DEAR JERRY: Your column inspired me to dig out my old 45s, most of which I bought as a teen in the 1950s and early '60s.

One in my collection has me curious, and I'm hoping you'll shed some light on things.

I have several by Brenda Lee, all credited just that way. However, one shows the singer as “Little Brenda Lee (9 Years Old).” The song is her version of Hank Williams' “Jambayala.”

Did she then turn 10 or 11 and dump the “Little”?

I know Little Stevie Wonder and Little Anthony both dropped the “Little” when they got a bit bigger. What's the deal with Little Brenda?

Is this her first recording?
—Alice Holt, Glendale, Ariz.

DEAR ALICE: Yes, “Jambayala,” backed with “Bigelow 6-200” (Decca 30050), is indeed Brenda's first record.

Her debut single came out in September 1956, two months after Decca signed the pre-teen to what turned out to be a 30-year collaboration — itself a rarity in this business.

Brenda's second single couples two charming Christmas tunes: “I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus” and “Christy Christmas.”

None of those first four songs charted, but her first release in '57, “One Step at a Time,” became a hit in both the pop and country fields. With the release of “One Step at a Time,” Brenda Lee was no longer “Little.”

About that “Little” thing: even though these two 1956 Decca singles both credit her as “Little Brenda Lee (9 Years Old),” they were not being honest.

What virtually no one knew at the time is that Brenda turned 12 on December 11, 1956.

Next came, “Dynamite,” which gave Brenda her final chart hit until nearly the end of the decade. Just 10 days before 1960 arrived, “Sweet Nothin's” debuted.

Little Miss Dynamite, as the 4' 9" wunderkind was affectionately known, went on to chart 46 hits in the 1960s making her that decade's top female singles artist.

IZ ZAT SO? For singles sales in the 1960s, Brenda Lee topped all females, but her dominance did not extend to albums.

In that category, she ranked behind (in order) Nancy Wilson; Barbra Streisand; and Connie Francis.

Not surprising, since only once in long play history has the same woman worn both the singles and albums crown for a decade.

That would be '90s superstar Mariah Carey.

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