Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Who are the 10 artists of the past century with the greatest number of pop albums on the charts? How does that group compare to those folks with the most chart singles?

Lastly, how many acts reached No. 1 with a single, but then did not get the opportunity to make an LP?
—Matt Morrison, York, Pa.

DEAR MATT: The all-time Top 10, with their total number of charted albums, are: 1. Elvis Presley (105); 2. Frank Sinatra (78); 3. Johnny Mathis (72); 4. Ray Conniff (53); 5. James Brown (51); 6. Barbra Streisand (48); 7. Temptations (48); 8. Beach Boys (47); 9. Willie Nelson (46); 10. Beatles (45).

As for pop singles, only 40% of the names on the previous list are carried over: 1. Elvis Presley (163); 2. James Brown (107); 3. Ray Charles (91); 4. Aretha Franklin (88); 5. Fats Domino (77); 6. Beatles (75); 7. Frank Sinatra (75); 8. Elton John (69); 9. Connie Francis (67); 10. Nat King Cole (66).

James Brown once sang “It's a Man's Man's Man's World,” and so it goes with these two lists. Of the 16 total names, the only ladies are Barbra, Aretha, and Connie.

The vinyl long-play format debuted in 1948, but the album Nazi (“No LP for you!”) appeared only during four years. By 1959 this strange and short-lived predicament came to an end.

With each of their No. 1 singles noted, we know of no vinyl LPs for these five hit-makers:
1952: Johnny Standley (“It's in the Book”).
1955: Joan Weber (“Let Me Go Lover”).
1957: Charlie Gracie (“Butterfly”).
1958: Danny and the Juniors (“At the Hop”); Elegants (“Little Star”).

Two on this short list eventually had an LP of their own, but those came 20 or more years after their original success. Both 1958 groups, Danny and the Juniors and the Elegants, finally made it to long-play vinyl in the early 1980s.

Johnny Standley; Joan Weber; and Danny and the Juniors did at least have seven-inch, four-track, extended play 45s, which are sometimes described as mini-LPs.

DEAR JERRY: Until recently, I didn't know Patsy Cline's “Sweet Dreams (Of You)” was written by Don Gibson.

I see he is also the composer of “I Can't Stop Loving You,” recorded by Ray Charles, Elvis, Roy Orbison, and many others.

Did Mr. Gibson write these songs just for others, or did he release his own versions?
—Betsy Gibbs, Orem, Utah

DEAR BETSY: Yes, Don recorded his own versions of both of those tunes. However, in neither case did Gibson have the best selling record.

Don's and Faron Young's “Sweet Dreams (Of You)” both came out in the summer of 1956, but Faron's became a far bigger hit. It didn't hurt that Young was an established star with a dozen Top 10 records to his credit, and Gibson had yet to have his first hit as a singer.

Patsy Cline's classic version of “Sweet Dreams (Of You)” was her first posthumous hit, issued just a few weeks after the plane crash that took her life (March 5, 1963).

Don's second hit, “Oh Lonesome Me,” didn't come along until 1958. It would, however, be worth the wait. It became his biggest ever, a smash in both the C&W and Top 40 fields.

Not a lot of attention was paid to the B-side, a terrific ballad titled “I Can't Stop Lovin' You” (no 'g').

Roy Orbison took note of the tune and put it on the flip side of his 1960 hit, “I'm Hurtin'.”

Four years later, Ray Charles' “I Can't Stop Loving You,” backed with “Born to Lose,” sold over a million copies — elevating writer Don Gibson to a higher tax bracket. Elvis, Conway Twitty, and others who recorded “I Can't Stop Loving You,” kept him there.

IZ ZAT SO? Of all the versions of “Sweet Dreams (Of You),” the only one to reach No. 1 is by Emmylou Harris. That was on the C&W charts.

Her 1976 treatment of the Gibson classic remains one of the biggest hits of her 42-year career.

Two other significant waxings are by Tommy McLain, who had the biggest pop version (1966), and Reba McEntire (1979).

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