Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: While attending the U of M in Minneapolis in 1964, I became acquainted with Lou Riegert, a dee jay at KDWB.

I specifically recall a conversation we had in 1964 when Billy J. Kramer's "Little Children" was No. 1 in the Twin Cities.

I asked if he knew a R&R tune with a similar story line from a few years earlier, but instead of little children dampening their cozy rendezvous, it was "just a little puppy."

In fact, the memorable hook is "he's just a little puppy and he can't talk."

Riegert did not know the song, nor has anyone else I've asked over the last 50 years. Guess I'll try my luck with you.
—Peter Callahan, St. Cloud, Minn.

DEAR PETER: What took you so long?

I could have solved this as far back as 1986, when this column first went into syndication. Oh well, better late than never.

"He's just a little puppy and he can't talk" is indeed earworm material, but another variation on the hook is "he's just a little puppy and he won't tell on me," and therein lies the exact title: "He Won't Tell."

Backed with "Sleep Beauty Sleep" (USA 1215), this is a 1959 release by one of the many garage bands and doo-wop groups calling themselves the Echoes.

With USA Records based in Chicago, "He Won't Tell" did get some spins in the upper Midwest, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.

One aspect of the British Invasion that we have not previously discussed is the many fine records by UK artists that were mostly ignored when first issued in America, before Beatlemania blew the doors down.

Once the Beatles arrived, figuratively and literally, reissues of those exact same recordings fared remarkably better.

For some good before-and-after examples, let's begin with the aforementioned Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas:
"Bad to Me," September 1963 (Liberty 55626) DNC (did not chart) / April 1964 (Imperial 66027) No. 9
"Bad to Me," January 1964 (Liberty 55667) DNC / April 1964 (Imperial 66027) No. 9
"I'll Keep You Satisfied," November 1963 (Liberty 55643) DNC / July 1964 (Imperial 66048) No. 30

Gerry and the Pacemakers:
"How Do You Do It," May 1963 (Laurie 3162) DNC / July 1964 (Laurie 3261) No. 9
"I Like It," September 1963 (Laurie 3196) DNC / September 1964 (Laurie 3271) No. 17
"You'll Never Walk Alone," January 1964 (Laurie 3218) DNC / May 1965 (Laurie 3302) No. 48

Freddie and the Dreamers:
"I'm Telling You Now," October 1963 (Capitol 5053) DNC / March 1965 (Tower 125) No. 1
"You Were Made for Me," March 1964 (Capitol 5137) DNC / May 1965 (Tower 127) No. 21

"Sweets for My Sweet" August 1963 (Mercury 72172) DNC / Not reissued
"Sugar and Spice," November 1963 (Liberty 55646) DNC / April 1964 (Liberty 55689) No. 44

And of course the Beatles:
"My Bonnie" (Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers) April 1962 (Decca 31382) DNC / "My Bonnie (My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean)" (The Beatles with Tony Sheridan) (MGM 13213) No. 26
"Please Please Me," February 1963 (Vee Jay 498) DNC / February 1964 (Vee Jay 581) No. 3
"From Me to You," April 1963 (Vee Jay 522) DNC / March 1964 (Vee Jay 581) No. 41
"Thank You Girl," April 1963 (Vee Jay 522) DNC / April 1964 (Vee Jay 587) No. 35
"She Loves You," September 1963 (Swan 4152) DNC / January 1964 (Swan 4152) No. 1

IZ ZAT SO? Petula Clark was a very popular multi-media entertainer in the UK who pretty much remained unknown in America until the 1964 release of the No. 1 million-selling hit "Downtown" (Warner Bros. 5494).

Known either as the Queen, or First Lady, of the British Invasion, "Downtown" was the first of 22 Hot 100 hits.

Not so well known are the 14 DNC singles Pet had on eight different U.S. labels, all before signing with Warner:

Coral: 60971 "Tell Me Truly" (1953); 61077 "Three Little Kittens" (1954)
King: 1371 "The Little Shoemaker" (1954)
MGM: 12049 "The Pendulum Song" (1955)
Oklahoma: 5006 "In a Little Moment" (1958)
Imperial: 5582 "Baby Lover" (1959); 5655 "(Where Are You?) Now That I Need You" (1960)
Warwick: 652 "Romeo" (1961)
London: 10504 "My Friend the Sea" (1962); 10516 "Whistlin' for the Moon" (1962)
Laurie: 3143 "The Road" (1962); 3156 "I Will Follow Him" (1963); 3236 "J'ai Tout Oublie" (1964); 3259 "The Road" (1964)

Did everyone notice that a column that began with a puppy ends with a Pet?

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