DEAR JERRY: Here's a different slant on popular music, and one I have never seen mentioned in any of your previous columns. (I know you enjoy new topics.)
As a pre-teen, I learned a lot of new words by listening to the radio. Anytime the lyrics contained a word I did not know, I looked it up and added it to my vocabulary.
Noteworthy too is that many of these new words were ones that no one in my age group would ever use in conversation.
Just to cite a few examples, I discovered “implicitly” in Neil Sedaka's “Stupid Cupid;” found “deride” in the Platters' “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes;” and picked up “reverie” from Paul Anka's “You Are My Destiny.”
I assure you that none of these three were ever heard in chatter by any of my young crowd.
All of which leads to my question, which is about a word I got from a song that I can no longer recall. I never forgot the word, though, and it is “haughty.” Like the other examples I mentioned, this too came out around 1958.
Since “haughty” is not frequently heard in lyrics, I'm hoping you will recognize what is perhaps the only hit that contains it.
Another clue is that in the storyline, a woman is described as both “haughty” and “rude.” It is of course sung by a man.
Carrie Lightman, Wood Dale, Ill.
DEAR CARRIE: Congratulations on turning all those hours embracing a transistor radio into a valuable learning tool. You graduated with honors from the School of Rock and Roll.
Does this line sound familiar: “They have changed your attitude, made you haughty and so rude”?
Yeah, I thought so.
Your mystery and somewhat educational tune is “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down,” a 1958 hit for Charlie Walker.
The Mills Brothers' classic, “The Glow-Worm,” really boosted my vocabulary. From just this one 1952 hit I learned, at just eight years of age, four really cool words: “incandescent; aeronautical; illuminate” and “primeval.”
We simply cannot talk about unique words in songs without a tip of the cap to the 1954 R&B classic, “The Letter,” by the Medallions.
From its fascinating narrative, we encountered two exquisite words: “Darling, let me whisper sweet words of HISMATALITY, and discuss the PULPITUDES of love.”
In the 1973 hit, “The Joker,” Steve Miller mentions POMPITUS in an attempt to borrow PULPITUDES from the Medallions. Since none of these beauties will be found in the dictionary any time soon, their spellings here are merely my own.
DEAR JERRY: Please tell me who wrote and sang the original version of “The Glory of Love.”
This is a song that we know from the “Beaches” film.
I think it was Dean Barlow, who was originally with the the Crickets. Still, I'm not sure.
Barbara “Babs” Bohrer, Edgewater, Fla.
DEAR BABS: The Dean Barlow version came out in 1964, roughly 28 years after William J. “Billy” Hill composed “The Glory of Love.”
In the summer of '36, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra took this tune to the top of the charts, where it held the No. 1 position for six weeks.
The Five Keys 1951 remake made No. 1 on the R&B charts, yet the most famous group harmony version of “The Glory of Love” is probably by the Velvetones.
Though not much of a hit when first issued (1957), their distinctive rendering complete with one of R&B's finest recitations, which is not heard on the Five Keys' track has long been a staple of oldies-but-goodies formats.
Some other popular recordings of “The Glory of Love” include: Sanford Clark (1957); Roommates (1961); Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford (1962); Otis Redding (1967); and the Dells (1971).
IZ ZAT SO? Besides playing violin and piano in his own jazz band, Billy Hill also worked on a survey crew in Death Valley. He soon would be able to quit his (120-degree) day job.
As for his songwriting, “The Glory of Love” is one of several Hill tunes that will live forever. Two others are “Have You Ever Been Lonely” and “In the Chapel in the Moonlight.”
He even penned a couple of western classics: “The Last Round-up” and “Empty Saddles (In the Old Corral).” Both of these are inexplicably included on the soundtrack album, “Dean Martin As Matt Helm Sings Songs from The Silencers.” Not at all a western, this film is a mid-'60 spy spoof.