Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: While reading the book “Marvin Gaye, My Brother,” by Frankie Gaye with Fred E. Basten, I became a bit confused regarding this statement:

“Marvin's album “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was released in August 1968, almost simultaneously with his second album of duets with Tami [Terrell] “You're All I Need.” It was Marvin's version of “Grapevine” that dominated airplay, so much so that Motown released the song as a single two months later.”

Frankie likely has an excellent memory when it comes to his famous brother, but in this case I question his recall.

Wouldn't it be customary for an LP of that title to come out AFTER the song had become a hit, rather then two months before Motown even issued the single?
—Kenneth Foxx, Fraser, Mich.

DEAR KENNETH: Frankie's only error here is with the name of the LP that came out in August. Otherwise, he's right about “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” originally being just another album track. But on your watch, this inaccuracy obviously did not sneak by unnoticed.

When first released in August '68, as Frankie says, the title given this LP (Tamla 285) is “In the Groove.” That may have seemed like a hip, mid-'60s phrase, but it may also have been a marketing blunder for there is no song by that title on the album.

Once “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” became the dominant LP track, then a smash hit single, Motown completely reworked the cover and retitled it to match the tune that would become the company's all-time biggest hit.

Frankie Gaye may have forgotten that for about two months this LP was not only symbolically but also literally “In the Groove.”

DEAR JERRY: About three years ago you wrote about Bing Crosby having far more hits than anyone else. Does this also mean that he recorded the greatest number of songs?

If not him, then who? Frank Sinatra perhaps?
—Will Deming, York, Pa.

DEAR WILL: Crosby's amazing record of 335 chart hits is still miles ahead of everyone, but his 1,700, or so, recordings is quite a few shy of the leader in this department, the Mills Brothers.

Because of unissued tracks and multiple releases of the same songs, exact counts are nearly impossible, but most estimates of the Mills Brothers' song count are around 2,250.

Sinatra's tally is nearly 1,300, with about 140 of those being unissued tracks.

Pretty much the same question arrived from Jay Jedinak, of Chicago. Now you both know.

DEAR JERRY: How did it come to be that the rock band Mr. Mister recorded “Kyrie Eleison,” a Greek Orthodox chant?

Is it that they are a Greek band?
—Ted Verges, Johnson Creek, Wisc.

DEAR TED: Mr. Mister is clearly Greekless. Founding duo Richard Page and Steve George grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. After moving to Los Angeles, they hooked up with Nebraska-born Steve Farris and Pat Mastelotto, a native Angelino.

Though the lyrics repeat “Kyrie Eleison,” the title of this tune, a No. 1 hit in 1985, is just “Kyrie.”

Apart from those two words, Kyrie Eleison (translation: Lord, have mercy), there is nothing about “Kyrie” that resembles a chant, Greek or otherwise.

IZ ZAT SO? A dozen years after recording “Kyrie,” Mr. Mister's Richard Page teamed with Sogyal Rinpoche to create a mini-album of real chants and mantras.

Titled “Natural Great Peace” (Zam CDE-004), Rinpoche provides a recitation and a brief teaching on a poem by Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. The music and chanting of the Vajra Guru mantra is supplied by Richard Page.

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