Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: During a recent PBS-TV fund-raising drive, they featured an oldies revival concert that took place last year in Pittsburgh.

Among the acts on the bill was the one-hit wonder group, the Aquatones. Of course they sang “You,” which spotlights their wonderful soprano, Lynne Nixon.

And though the Aquatones perfectly recreated their doo-wop sound, the female singer looks much too young to have been the singer on the original recording.

Did she have an extreme makeover, or did they somehow find someone capable of duplicating the tones of Lynne Nixon?
—Mel Timlen, Lancaster, Pa.

DEAR MEL: You are not alone in wanting to know who's now singing “You.” Prudence Anne Vician, of Chicago, asks the same question, while adding this comment:

“If it was Lynne Nixon, she looked absolutely beautiful for being approximately 62 years old.”

“You” became a Top 25 hit in 1958, but the Aquatones were unable to come up with another chart hit — despite their marvelous follow-up, “Say You'll Be Mine.”

In 1962, after a half-dozen more single releases, Lynne retired from the music business to join her husband in operating their New York restaurant business.

When Nixon left the group so did the voice that made them successful.

Fortunately for the other members — Dave Goddard, Larry Vannata, and Gene McCarthy — they found, in 1998, their new female lead: Colette Delaney.

As both of you, and countless others, now know, Colette is just what the Aquatones needed.

Sadly we must also report the death of Lynne Nixon, in January 2001, who lost a lengthy battle with cancer.

More information about the Aquatones and their new CD album, “40 Years Later,” can be found at their web site:

DEAR JERRY: I heard a song on an oldies station here in Florida and I can't get it out of my head.

I think it probably came out in the late '60s or early '70s, and the singer is a woman who puts a great deal of feeling, energy, and passion into the performance.

It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. The phrase I recall the most is “lay down, lay down, lay it all down.” That may even be the title.

Please let me know if it is currently available on a compact disc.

I used to be a dee jay and I have learned so much from you. Now I need your help identifying this tune
—Nick Macisso, St. Petersburg, Fla.

DEAR NICK: You don't need a whole lot of help here, as there are just a couple of details you're missing.

The title is pretty much as you suspected, but with a sub-title added. It is “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).”

You nailed the time period, as this tune came out in the spring of 1970.

The energetic lead vocalist whose passion is causing those goose bumps is Melanie, and that gospel flavored backing is provided by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” (Buddah 167) reached the Top 5 exactly one year after the Edwin Hawkins Singers made the Top 5 with “Oh Happy Day.”

As for Melanie, she came roaring back big time in 1971, hitting No. 1 with her playful “Brand New Key.”

These two Melanie hits along with five more of her chart items are found on the 19-track Buddah collection, “Beautiful People: The Greatest Hits of Melanie.”

I see there are many copies of this CD available online, most for under ten dollars.

IZ ZAT SO? Before Madonna's “Like a Virgin” (December 1984), very rarely would the nation's No. 1 hit be by a single name artist.

It first happened in October 1961 with Dion's “Runaround Sue.” Five years later, Donovan came along with “Sunshine Superman.”

Three women then joined this exclusive club: Lulu (1967), Melanie (1971), and Cher (1971), who had four No. 1 hits overall.

Among others who later jumped on the one-word name bandwagon are: Prince, Brandy, Sting, Monica, Aaliyah, Joe, Mya, Lobo, Eminem, Ashanti, Eve, and Beyonce.

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