Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Here's a question I've asked everyone and no one has yet come up with an answer.

It's about a song I heard on American Bandstand in the late '50s or early '60s. I need to know the exact title as well as who recorded it.

In this tune the backup singers say “that's tough,” then the lead singer asks “what's tough?”

The chorus responds with “life,” and he asks “what's life?” They answer “a magazine.”

Someone suggested it is “So Tough,” by the Cufflinks, but I can find nothing at all on this song or artist. Can you help?
—Barry W. Scholles, Dover, Ohio

DEAR BARRY: What's really tough? Apparently it has been getting the information you seek about “That's Life (That's Tough),” a 1962 hit for Gabriel and the Angels (Swan 4118).

Finding an original 45 is one way to add “That's Life (That's Tough)” to your collection, though it also exists on at least one various artists CD: “Golden Age of American Rock and Roll, Vol. 2” (Ace CDCHD 445).

Ace is a British reissue company, so this import may be difficult to find in the US shops. Shopping for it online is probably your best bet.

Most of the 30 tracks on “Golden Age of American Rock and Roll, Vol. 2” are of the Gabriel and the Angels variety — popular and memorable songs by artists with one or maybe two hits.

DEAR JERRY: The renewed interest in patriotic songs this year brings to mind “There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere,” one that was extremely popular during WW2.

Who is the singer who made this song famous?
—Millie Bradford, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR MILLIE: Since Katheryn L. Pisaneili, of Lakeland, Fla., also asks for some background on “There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere,” we better get on the case.

The foremost version is by Elton Britt, a once popular country singer, champion yodeler, and also an actor. Britt's recording (Bluebird 9000) came out in the summer of '42, just nine months after the U.S. entered the war.

Worth noting is a 1960 remake, by Red River Dave, with the modified title “There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere (The Ballad of Francis Powers).”

Rather than WW2, the slant here is the shooting down of U.S. pilot Francis Powers, by the Russians.

DEAR JERRY: Are you be able to tell me the name of the host of the original Name That Tune TV game show?

Also, were there any succeeding emcees? I believe there may have been more than one.

Do you know the years this show ran?
—Joe Goetz, Danbury, Conn.

DEAR JOE: All of your wishes are within my power.

Name That Tune debuted on NBC in mid-1953 with Red Benson as emcee. The following year the show moved to CBS and well-known game show personality, Bill Cullen, took over as host.

Like Benson, Cullen lasted only one year as head tune master. George De Witt took the reins in 1955 and stayed with the show until 1959, when CBS dropped it from the schedule.

A short-lived syndicated Name That Tune, hosted by Richard Hayes, ran from 1970 to '71.

In 1974 and '75, with legendary emcee Dennis James, NBC again revived the game and offered it during their daytime quiz show-soap opera block.

From 1977 through '81, two more variations surfaced, the latter with a new title to reflect the increased cash prize: “The $100,000 Name That Tune. Tom Kennedy hosted both of these shows.

IZ ZAT SO? The disappearance of aviatrix Amelia Earhart in 1937 inspired Red River Dave to write and record “Amelia Earhart's Last Flight,” which he composed two days after hearing of her fate.

More significant is that Red River Dave (Dave McEnery) sang this tribute at the 1939 World's Fair (New York), at the RCA Pavilion — a performance that earned him the distinction as the first country singer ever seen on television.

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