Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Years ago, Gene Pitney came out with the hit song, “Heartbreaker.” In it, Gene sings “The way you sock it to me girl, you're out of sight.”

Which use of “sock it to me” came first: Pitney's “Heartbreaker” lyrics, another song, or use of the phrase on such TV shows as “Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In”?
—Sharon Craft, Lakeland, Fla.

DEAR SHARON: Gene Pitney's hit, titled “She's a Heartbreaker,” came out in May of 1968, about four months after the TV debut of “Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In,” but neither used “sock it to me” first.

On a 45 rpm single, this line goes back at least two years, to May '66, when Rex Garvin and the Mighty Cravers had a minor hit with “Sock It to 'Em J.B.” (Like 301).

This soulful number is mostly a James Brown-style instrumental, but with occasional vocal snippets referencing the films of another J.B. — James Bond.

Assorted grunts and groans are also heard, all of which is somewhat reminiscent of Alvin Cash's “Twine Time.”

About one month earlier (April '66), Otis Redding used “sock it to me” on an LP track: his version of Roy Head's “Treat Her Right,” found on “Otis Redding - The Soul Album” (Volt 413).

In September '66, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels dropped a “sock it to me" near the end of their Top 5 hit, “Devil with the Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly” (New Voice 817). This would then qualify as the first big hit single to use those four words.

Come November '66, a single by Willie Bobo coupling “Sockit to Me” with a cover of Donovan's “Sunshine Superman” came out (Verve 10448).

“Sockit to Me” failed to chart but “Sunshine Superman” did, though just barely.

Issued about the same time as the single is Bobo's “Feelin' So Good” LP (Verve 8669), which also includes “Sockit to Me.”

In January of '67, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels released the ultimate “sock” hit, “Sock It to Me - Baby! (New Voice 820).

One year later, “Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In,” and actress Judy Carne in particular, further popularized “Sock It to Me” in prime time.

DEAR JERRY: Did Charley Pride ever have an R&B or Soul hit, or was his popularity strictly in the Country & Western field?
—Dale Reese, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR DALE: Predominantly country, but not strictly.

Charley posted nearly 70 C&W hits, 10 of which crossed over to the Pop charts.

By far the biggest of his crossover hits came in 1971, “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin',” which made the Top Pop 25.

None of Pride's records appeared on the Soul charts.

DEAR JERRY: I know there may be no specific answer to my question, but in general how many performances do the Broadway stage shows give each week?
—Dinah Kirk, Lancaster, Pa.

DEAR DINAH: You are quite right about the varying show schedules, such as those aimed at children having more matinees.

Still, the generic schedule in use for many years is an evening show at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Two matinees are standard fare, usually on Saturday and Sunday though a few run on Wednesday and Saturday. Days with matinees also have an evening performance.

Regardless of how they spread it out, eight performances per week is customary. Monday is nearly always a “dark“ day (i.e., everyone's day off).

IZ ZAT SO? As of this writing there are 39 Broadway theaters operating, though only three are truly on Broadway, with entrances on Broadway: The Cadillac Winter Garden; the Marquis; and the Broadway. Most of the others have addresses in the 200 block between 42nd and 52nd Street.

The Circle on the Square has a Broadway mailing address, but is actually in the lower level of the Gershwin, and its entrance is 222 West 51st Street.

The Palace also has a Broadway mailing address, but technically is on Seventh Avenue.

They vary in size, from the Helen Hayes, which seats approximately 300, to the Palace and the Broadway, both of which can accommodate between 1,750 and 1,900 patrons depending on the configuration.

But one does not have to be in New York to see a real Broadway show. Many of those same shows tour the country, playing close to 150 North American cities each year.

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