Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Does Pat Boone actually do the whistling solo on his “Love Letters in the Sand” hit?

I say it is not Boone doing the whistling, and I have a bet with my sister to that effect. Which of us wins?
—Allen Henry, Nokesville, Va.

DEAR ALLEN: Hope you didn't wager the nest egg, because sis wins this round.

Pat Boone is definitely the featured whistler on his recordings, most notably “Love Letters in the Sand.”

Another excellent example of Pat whistling is found on his 1962 hit, “I'll See You in My Dreams.”

To refresh my memory, I pulled a circa-1957 TV video clip of Pat singing “Love Letters in the Sand” live, during which he makes some witty comments about the whistling.

When the time comes for that segment, Pat gives the camera a befuddled look, as if to say “uh-oh, what do I do now?”

Then he whistles through that portion of the tune with extreme proficiency.

At the conclusion of the whistle bridge, he chuckles and says “Bet you didn't think it was me [whistling]!”

And he's right. You didn't.

DEAR JERRY: I have read about the many white singers who topped the R&B charts over the years. What I have never seen mentioned is the name of the first white artist to have a No. 1 album on the black charts. Surely it has happened.

Also, who is the first black artist with a No. 1 LP on the regular pop charts?
—Lloyd Miller, Arlington, Ky.

DEAR LLOYD: You're right. It has happened, but not very often.

Billboard's publication of a separate R&B albums chart began in January 1965. It then took over 100 different No. 1 LPs, and more than 10 years before a white act had the chart-topping R&B album.

This group's name is both very appropriate … and equally inappropriate.

Hailing from Scotland, they are the Average White Band — appropriately identified as a white band, but clearly not average.

They are, in fact, quite exceptional with regard to this specific feat.

Not only did their self-titled, first charted LP (Atlantic 7308) hit No. 1 on the R&B charts March 1, 1975, but darned if they didn't do it again in about five months. “Cut the Cake” (Atlantic 18140) took over the top LP spot on August 23rd.

The answer to your second question is Sammy Davis Jr., that is if by LP you mean long play. His “Starring Sammy Davis Jr.” (Decca 8118) album claimed the top chart position on June 11, 1955.

Before the long-playing vinyl era, collections of several 78 rpm singles in a binder were also known as albums, and in the mid-'40s the Ink Spots and Nat King Cole reached No. 1 with recordings in that configuration.

DEAR JERRY: Your recent mention of “Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town,” by Kenny Rogers, brought to mind a parody song in which the singer actually wanted Ruby to take her love to town. This one, I believe, came out before the Rogers hit.

Do you know what I'm talking about? Do I know what I'm talking about?
—Donna York, New Haven, Conn.

DEAR DONNA: Yes, you do. Fortunately, so do I.

This humorous little tune is “Chubby (Please Take Your Love to Town)” (Capitol 2002), a 1967 hit for the Geezinslaw Brothers.

It is Johnny Darrell's Top 10 hit of “Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town” (United Artists 50126), a spring 1967 release, being parodied by the Geezinslaws. Kenny Rogers didn't issue his version until mid-'69.

Kenny's big hit also inspired a parody, "Ruby, Please Bring Your Love to Town" (MGM 10576), by Ben Colder (a.k.a. Sheb Wooley).

IZ ZAT SO? Pat Boone's “Love Letters in the Sand” is one of those “Oops!” stories with a happy ending.

This tune, a remake of a 1931 hit by Ted Black, was originally picked merely to be the flip side of “Bernadine,” the theme from Pat's debut film.

Not only did “Love Letters in the Sand” become the top-selling side of this single (Dot 15570), it went on to be Boone's all-time greatest hit.

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