Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Most in the group of my lady friends do not remember the wonderful singer, Andy Russell.

I used to attend his shows at the New York Paramount Theater, and was a member of his fan club — cleverly named the Russell Sprouts!

Since these ladies think I'm talking through my hat, if you would be so kind as to list some of his hits it would prove my case.
—Norma Madsen, Spring Hill, Fla.

DEAR NORMA: I will gladly provide the expert testimony needed to strengthen your now-shaky case.

Born Andrew Rabajos (or Rabago, depending on who you believe), in 1920, the Hispanic singer of romantic songs known as Andy Russell turned out a dozen hits in the mid-to-late '40s. Among the most memorable are “Amor; Besame Mucho; I Dream of You; I Can't Begin to Tell You; Laughing on the Outside (Crying on the Inside); They Say It's Wonderful; Pretending;” and “The Anniversary Song.”

After more than 20 years on and off the charts, Russell finally reached No. 1. In the summer of 1967, his pop cover version of Wynn Stewart's “It's Such a Pretty World Today” claimed the top spot on the nation's Easy Listening charts.

Of course by that time, most of the Russell Sprouts of the '40s had shot up and were nurturing their own little buds.

Russell died in April of 1992, in Phoenix, Arizona.

DEAR JERRY: About 20 years ago, a friend who worked at a radio station as a salesman gave me some promotional records. Most were standard fare, though one in particular has me curious.

This is a boxed set of a radio show, titled “The Rolling Stones, Past and Present.” I have not played it, but inside are 12 individual albums, which appear to present a history of the band.

I am thinking of listing this set on eBay, but I would like your help in coming up with a minimum bid to accept.
—Claire Stillwater, Harrisonburg, Va.

DEAR CLAIRE: I am very familiar with this exquisite set, made in 1984 for the Mutual Broadcasting System to airing on their affiliate stations.

Being lucky enough to get this program as a gift means whatever you get for it is all profit. You therefore may be willing to accept less than one who shelled out several hundred dollars to buy it for resale.

Near-mint copies of “The Rolling Stones, Past and Present” have usually sold in the $800 to $1,200 range, which may help with your decision.

DEAR JERRY: During the '40s and '50s, my mother gave me a weekly allowence, a portion of which I always spent on popular song lyrics books, such as “Hit Parader.”

I have saved quite a collection of these, and am quite curious if they now have any value to music memorabilia collectors.
—John Sosnosky, Two Rivers, Wisc.

DEAR JOHN: “Hit Parader” is one of the leading lyrics publications; however, some others that come to mind are “Song Hits; Songs and Stars; Best Songs; Rock and Roll Songs; Songs That Will Live Forever; Country Song Roundup;” and “Folk and Country Songs.” All sold originally for about a quarter.

Regardless of which titles one has, it is the artist(s) pictured on the front cover, along with those spotlighted with feature stories, that determines value.

The highest prices are paid for those featuring rock and roll and rhythm and blues artists ($25.00 to $50.00). Ones focusing on pop artists may only fetch $3.00 or $5.00.

This of course means your magazines picturing Elvis Presley or the Harptones are now more marketable than those featuring Arthur Godfrey or Perry Como.

IZ ZAT SO? In most of the primary sales categories, the Rolling Stones are a close second to the Beatles. But when it comes to two-sided hits, the gap between the top two Brit bands is wider than the Mersey.

The Beatles have 26 double-sided chart hits while the Stones have just five.

Among all recording artists, the Beatles' 26 ranks second overall. Elvis has twice that many (52) and likely will never be caught.

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