Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: On an oldies station I heard a song with the same melody as “Wooden Heart,” but with totally different lyrics. It begins with “There's a time, there's a time,” and tells the story of a woman whose lover leaves her, but in her dreams he still loves her. Do you know anything about this?
—C. Boyce, Tacoma, Wash.

DEAR C: I know it very well. It has been in my collection for decades. The title is “There's a Time,” and the version I have is by Nana Mouskouri. It is on her “Roses & Sunshine” CD (Philips 836 205-2).

This tune is indeed the same music as “Wooden Heart,” though no mention of that songs writers is made on “There's a Time.”

The “ASCAP Hit Tunes” book credits the “Wooden Heart” words to Fred Wise and Ben Wiseman — writers of many Elvis Presley songs — and the music to Berthold “Bert” Kaempfert and Kay Twomey. The “There's a Time” credit simply says “Traditional Music, Arranged By Goraguer-Kretzner,” making no mention of the Kaempfert-Twomey connection.

At the other extreme, I am reminded of when the Beach Boys borrowed the music from Chuck Berry's “Sweet Little Sixteen” for their 1963 hit “Surfin' USA.” Though all the words to “Surfin' USA” are by Brian Wilson, both the “B.M.I. Pop Hits” book and the discs themselves credit only Chuck Berry.

DEAR JERRY: From your columns, I now understand the difference between a cover and a remake. But what is it called when an artist makes two versions of the same song, at the same time, for different markets? One example is Black Velvet, which was made for both pop and country markets. Also, what about making songs of different lengths? Ones with different lyrics? And different tracks for singles and for albums?
—Ann Luce, Clearwater, Fla.

DEAR ANN: The original hit of “Black Velvet,”by Alannah Myles, came out in late 1989. It went to No. 1 on the pop charts in March of 1990.

Robin Lee's version, made for the country market, is a cover in the traditional sense. Her waxing, issued just a few weeks later, made the Top 15 on the country charts.

Someone recently wrote asking if the making of cover records continued beyond the '60s. As “Black Velvet” shows, covers do still pop up from time to time.

Still, it is nothing like the years before 1960, when every weekly top hits chart listed numerous cover versions. Different tracks of the same song, whether drastically changed or so similar it's hard to tell them apart, are known as “alternative takes.” (Not “alternate” takes, as is frequently seen.)

Songs that run longer on LP than on singles, such as “Light My Fire” and “In-A-Gadda Da-Vida,” are commonly described as either “long version” and “short version,” or “album version” and “single version.”

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DEAR JERRY: My mom used to listen to the 8-tracks when she was growing up. One of her favorites was something about silhouettes on the shade.

I am trying to help her find this song and have had no such luck. Since you are the music man, can you help me? She doesn't remember who sings it, so we are having a hard time finding it. Is it on a CD?
—Ashley Boling, Boonville, Ind. (

DEAR ASHLEY: The title is “Silhouettes,” but we have to decide which version mom liked.

The original and best-known is by the Rays, from 1957. Two cover versions also charted that year, one by the Diamonds, the other by Steve Gibson.

In 1965, a remake by Herman's Hermits sold nearly as well the one by the Rays. “Silhouettes” by the Rays, Diamonds, and Herman's Hermits are all available on CD.

IZ ZAT SO? It is exceedingly rare to have both an original and a cover of the same song reach No. 1. Yet it happened in 1957 — not once but twice (depending on which chart you're using).

Sonny James (original) and Tab Hunter (cover) both topped the charts in '57 with “Young Love,” as did Charlie Gracie (original) and Andy Williams (cover) with “Butterfly.”

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