Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: As part of your answer to a question submitted by Ms. Simon, in Kentucky, you mentioned that “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” had been recorded by Little Richard.

I find this information very interesting because its writer, Gus Edwards, who passed away in 1945, was my great-uncle.

Exactly how well did Little Richard's version of “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” do? And what year did it come out? Gus Edwards' nephew, my dad, Jack Edwards, was also a songwriter.

I recently learned that in 1953, Frankie Valli, then known as Frankie Valley, recorded his first single. On the Corona label, it was “My Mother's Eyes” backed with “The Laugh's on Me,” the B-side being written by my father.

I have also been told that a copy of that Frankie Valley Corona single might be worth $2,000.
—Evan Edwards, New York City

DEAR EVAN: Written in 1909, “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (words by Edward Madden, music by Gus Edwards) did indeed receive Little Richard's distinctive treatment, and the year of its release on a single is 1959 (Specialty 660). This track first appeared on the 1957 self-titled album, “Little Richard” (Specialty 2103).

With Little Richard in a seminary at the time, and his having temporarily abandoned rock and roll, his music was no longer selling like it did from 1956 through '58. Thus “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” did not chart nationally, though it did in some regional markets.

We have not yet seen Frankie Valli's “My Mother's Eyes” sell for close to $2,000, though copies have sold in the $500 range.

DEAR JERRY: There is a novelty song that is similar in style to Kip Addotta's “Wet Dream,” but it has a candy bar theme rather than the fish theme heard in “Wet Dream.”

I would appreciate any details you have about this, especially the artist, title, and any available recording of it.
—Susan Scorpio, New London, Conn.

DEAR SUSAN: Knowing that you would, I am here for you.

This zany track is titled “Candy Rapper,” and it is by Sticky Fingers.

Though ignored by most of mainstream radio, a few maverick stations did air “Candy Rapper,” which actually became well-known thanks to Rhino. They included “Candy Rapper” in their various artists compilation, “The World's Worst Records, Vol. 2” (RNLP-815).

Both the 1985 vinyl album and the CD reissue are now out of print, but they do occasionally turn up in the collector marketplace.

DEAR JERRY: I need your help identifying this song I heard on the radio. The title is something along the lines of “I've got a never ending love for you.”

Do you know the title, artist, and record label?
—Sonja Wheeler, St. Petersburg, Fla.

DEAR SONJA: The exact title is “Never Ending Song of Love,” and I suspect you heard either of two very popular versions.

The first chart hit of it is by Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, and their May 1973 single made the Top 15. It went on to become their biggest hit.

A cover version for the country market came out in September '73, by Dickie Lee. His also sold very well and wound up in the Top 10.

IZ ZAT SO? As with so many of the '50s and '60s rock stars who switched to country music in the '70s, the leap worked out very well for Dickie Lee.

Between 1957 and '65, Dickie had just five chart hits, including the Top 10 smash, “Patches.”

From 1971 to '82, this Memphian was rarely missing from the charts. During that time, his string of hits number 29.

Appropriately enough, his final hit of 1982 is titled “Everybody Loves a Winner,” one of which he surely is.

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