DEAR JERRY: It's quite funny to be reading about myself in one of your past columns as a One Hit Wonder that one hit being “Summer's Comin',” in the summer of '63.
It's all too true of course, but I was very young then and took everyone's advice. Thanks to some very nasty record company people, my recording career was squashed.
That said, the fact is I am still in showbiz and always have been. I turned to doing comedy and have had a very successful career.
Besides “Summer's Comin',” I also wrote and recorded several surfing instrumentals in the '60s, some of which have been used in movies and on ABC-TV, and appear on Rhino various artists compilation albums.
One example is “Four in the Floor,” that came out on Dimension. It is credited to the Shut Downs even though it is really me. I had to record it under a phony name because of conflicts with Diamond Records who distributed “Summer's Comin'.”
Essentially, Diamond was mad because I signed with Stan Allen, who was the manager of Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons at the time. They wanted to own me without any outside interference, such as a personal manager.
I also recorded a couple of Chuck Berry songs, “Thirty Days” and “Let it Rock,” using the stage name Buddy and the Hearts.
If you ever want any more information from this One Hit Wonder, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Kirby St.Romain, Las Vegas, Nev.
DEAR KIRBY: Thank you so much for writing, and especially for the interesting behind-the-scenes trivia.
What is the last rock or R&B single issued on 78 rpm?
Brad Bailey, Renton, Wash.
DEAR BRAD: A few years ago, the first known 78 surfaced of Bobby Marchan's June 1960 hit, “There Is Something on Your Mind” (Fire 1022), making it the most recently issued hit made in that speedy format for now anyway. Expect new finds to change this in the years ahead.
Though none became hits, 78s of some “ghost records” (budget discs with versions of well-known hits made by unknown artists) exist from as late as 1964.
There are a few 78s from the early '70s, but they are special promotional or novelty items and not for general distribution.
Finally, a custom series of rock-era oldies, made especially for juke boxes, came out on 78 singles in the late '80s.
DEAR JERRY: Regarding the letter from “Retired Colonel in Western Kentucky,” the significance of the Yellow Ribbon is that it was the color chosen to designate the U.S. Cavalry.
The song rose from the tradition of a soldier's sweetheart wearing yellow ribbons while he was posted away.
For more on this, I suggest viewing of John Ford's “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” widely available on video.
Richard W. McLachlin, CW4 US Army, Retired
DEAR RICHARD: Thank you for the suggestion. Rentals of “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” are now likely to soar.
A similar note arrived from Charles L. Collins LTC-EN AUS ret, of Huntsville, Ala.
IZ ZAT SO? Right before “There Is Something on Your Mind,” two other memorable rock hits came out on the nearly departed 78 rpm format: “Fannie Mae,” by Buster Brown (December 1959) and “Too Pooped to Pop, by Chuck Berry (February 1960).
Obviously, all of these late great 78s appeared simultaneously on 45 rpms.