Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I am trying to find a record that I made in 1961. Recorded May 1st that year, this is a 45 rpm single on the Eunice label. The titles are “Dear Diary” and “Crazy Little Heart” (M8OW-5548/M8OW-5549).

Accompanying me on these tracks is Darwin Nelson and the Blaze Makers.

Any suggestions?
—Brenda Holly, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR BRENDA: Had you written just a couple of weeks earlier, I could have pointed you in the direction of a copy of this disc for sale, at a very reasonable price of just $10.

Though another Brenda Holly fan beat us to this one, others will no doubt pop up soon.

It may help in the search to know the Eunice selection number, which is 1009. As for those serial letters and numbers (i.e., M8OW, etc.) that is RCA Victor's way of identifying your sessions (5548 is “Dear Diary” and 5549 is “Crazy Little Heart”). This information is mechanically stamped in the vinyl as well as printed on the labels of nearly every record made by RCA.

Also, the first letter (M) is their code for a 1961 recording, which is just as you stated.

With Eunice Records based right there in Evansville (310 Grein Building), it made sense to press these at RCA's Indianapolis plant.

Interestingly, the artist credit on Eunice 1009 is “Brenda-Holly,” whereas your previous release, “First Love, First Broken Heart” backed with “My Palomino and Me” (Eunice 1002) shows you as Brenda Holly (no hyphen).

Since you didn't ask about the earlier one, you must already have it.

Every recording artist deserves to have a file copy of each of their releases and I will contact you if I find a “Dear Diary” for sale.

DEAR JERRY: Do you know a song from the '70s called “Mammoth Blue”?

I remember seeing commercials about compilation albums, maybe from K-tel, and this song was on one. That was the last I heard of it.

I have called quite a few radio stations with this question, but no one I ask has ever heard of this song.
—Denise in Chicago

DEAR DENISE: A slight misunderstanding of the title should not result in such a mammoth mix-up, but it has apparently confused the folks you contacted.

It is very likely the tune you heard is “Mammy Blue,” a hit twice in the early 1970s: first by the Pop-Tops (1971) then by the Stories (1973).

Neither became a huge hit nationally, though both achieved roughly the same modicum amount of success.

DEAR JERRY: I am inquiring about the early '60s hit, “Violetta.” Who is the singer, or singers, that made a chart hit in Great Britain with “(Hear My Song) Violetta”?
—W.D. in Scotland

DEAR W.D.: The only version I know came out in 1962 by Scandinavian crooner Ray Adams (Laurie 3118), and it did receive significant air play in assorted US markets, including Los Angeles where I lived at the time.

Based on his European roots, it would seem that part of the world would have a hit single of “(Hear My Song) Violetta,” though I cannot confirm such a release.

What I can report is that no versions of “(Hear My Song) Violetta” ever made the UK (New Musical Express) charts.

Here is some additional "(Here My Song) Violetta" background, compliments of Mark Rigney:

DEAR JERRY: You once helped me track down a Byrds tribute compilation ... and now perhaps I can add some details about “(Hear My Song) Violetta.”

There is another version, by Josef Locke, the Irish tenor. Not only that, but it's the basis for the film “Hear My Song,” a wonderful and unjustly forgotten movie.

If that isn't enough trivia, it's also the title of the best available Josef Locke retrospective, “Hear My Song.”

The original German song on which it's based is “Hor Mein Lied, Violetta,” and according to the Locke liner notes, it uses “liberal quotations” from Verdi's “Prelude” to “La Traviata.”

IZ ZAT SO? Based on one worldwide hit, the trio known as A-Ha is probably Norway's best-known pop act.

Their “Take On Me” reached No. 1 in the US as well as many other countries, and the follow-up, “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.” made the Top 20. Both came out in 1985.

However, music collectors generally covet records by other bands from Norway, many of which are not known outside Scandinavia.

Some names in this category are: Pussycats; 126; Green Onions; Firebeats; Modsmen Sect; Shotguns; and Mojo Blues.

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