DEAR JERRY: Read with great interest two of your recent columns: the history of Phil Spector's Philles label, and the colored vinyl treasures by Ricky Nelson on Imperial.
What I propose is sort of a combination of those topics.
I have discovered many things about Philles on the net, but never a listing of their colored vinyl records.
Please do for us Philles fans what it seems no one else will.
Joey Ford, Newark, N.J.
DEAR JOEY: I hate to answer your question with a question … but would living a few miles to the south make you a Philadelphia Philles fan?
Either way, considering Philles' short life (1961-'67) and microscopic output (37 singles), they gave collectors a rainbow of plastic to pursue.
Therefore the time has come for what may be the first official colored plastic Philles checklist:
We have now confirmed seven; however, it would not be a complete shock to eventually discover another.
Four of these are by the Ronettes, all issued in 1964, for three consecutive singles one of which (“Walking in the Rain”) is found two different ways.
First is “(The Best Part of ) Breakin' Up” (Philles 120), for which a mix of red, blue, and purple is used.
Next came a green “Do I Love You” (Philles 121).
Then “Walking in the Rain” surprisingly appeared as green as well as with a funky multicolor pattern.
As for Bob B Soxx & Blue Jeans' biggest hit, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” (Philles 107), it exists on mostly green plastic, but with spots and streaks of black.
“All Grown Up” is not one of the better-known Crystals' hits, but it is the one on colored plastic, red in this case.
According to BMI, the most-performed song ever is “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin',” and the most popular version is by the Righteous Brothers (Philles 124).
For a record that made so much green, it is appropriate a green plastic copy exists.
Speaking of which, if auctioned, any of these seven would be expected to sell in the $1,500 to $2,500 range.
Special thanks to Bob Volturno for assistance with this topic.
DEAR JERRY: Many years ago there was a very popular song about a girl named Freida, who, as I recall, “comes and goes, and never stays long.”
As a Freida myself, I found the song quite amusing.
Then not long ago an oldies station played a song with completely different lyrics, but using the exact same melody. This one is about Freedom rather than Freida.
What do you know about these two and their connection? Which came first?
Freida Johanson, Murray, Ky.
DEAR FREIDA: Besides both being F-words, both freedom and Freda (note spelling) are fleeting, at least in these songs.
First came “Freedom Comes, Freedom Goes” (Capitol 3179), by the Fortunes.
This late 1971 single did become a hit of sorts, but not nearly as big as their “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” (Capitol 3086), issued that summer.
Four summers later, Bobby G. Rice made the C&W Top 10 with “Freda Comes, Freda Goes” (GRT 021).
It is, as you state, the “Freedom Comes, Freedom Goes” music, but with all new lyrics about the adventures of flighty Freda.
DEAR JERRY: I don't have XM satellite radio, but I have discovered some excellent oldies stations online. And they are free!
One of the best varieties is heard on RichBroRadio.com, where they recently played a song that I am pretty sure is by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. It sure sounds like them anyway.
The title must refer to being either the worrying kind, or a worried guy.
I checked all the Gary Lewis albums and CDs and find nothing that matches what I heard. Might it be a completely different title?
Niki Donner, Fife, Wash.
DEAR NIKI: It is not so much a completely different title as it is a completely different singer.
Chances are very good that you heard “Worried Guy,” a Top 40 hit in early 1964 for Johnny Tillotson (MGM 13193).
The mix-up is not so far-fetched, since Tillotson's style and arrangement on this tune is very similar to hits we started hearing about a year later from Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
Besides being commercial-free, we really appreciate RichBroRadio.com's policy of NEVER talking over the music. It's just like having the original records to play at home.
IZ ZAT SO? A little-known Gary Lewis and the Playboys achievement is that each of their first seven singles made the nation's Top 10.
To put this feat in perspective, consider it is unmatched by anyone, even the superstars, of Rock's first four decades.
In the '90s, Mariah Carey's first 11 singles reached the Top 10, eight of which hit No. 1.
For the record, Carey did record with Brenda K. Starr before getting her own contract, while Gary Lewis and the Playboys never recorded before “This Diamond Ring.”
Before someone asks about Whitney Houston, her first chart hit, “Hold Me,” is a duet with Teddy Pendergrass, which did not even enter the Top 40.
One year later, Houston did begin a streak of ten Top 10 hits.