Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I am planning a 16th birthday party for my son, and would like me to make him a recording of songs with “16” in the title.

Yes, I know there may be many, but could you tell me some of the more popular ones?
—Gloria Thomas, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR GLORIA: I will give you a chronological listing of some popular “16” hits; however, your son should know that nearly all “16” songs refer to a girl at that age — not a boy.

For songs recorded by more than one artist, I will list each, not knowing which tunes will be more easily available to you.

Considering the occasion, I am not listing songs where the “16” applies to something other than age (“Sixteen Reasons,” “Sixteen Tons,” etc.).

Appropriately, my list, from memory and not researched, includes 16 selections:

(1952): “Sweet Sixteen” Joe Turner.

(1956): “Sweet Sixteen” Colts. (Reissued in 1962.)

(1958): “Sweet Little Sixteen” Chuck Berry.

(1959): “16 Candles” Crests.

(1960): “Sweet Sixteen” B.B. King (Remade in 1972)

(1960): “Only Sixteen” Sam Cooke

(1960): “You're Sixteen” Johnny Burnette

(1962): “Sweet Little Sixteen” Jerry Lee Lewis

(1962): “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” Neil Sedaka

(1962): “Life Begins at Sixteen” Artistics

(1963): “It Hurts to Be 16” Andrea Carroll

(1972): “Sweet Sixteen” B.B. King. (New version of 1960 hit.)

(1974): “You're Sixteen” Ringo Starr

(1976): “Only Sixteen” Dr. Hook

(1986): “Sixteen Candles” Jerry Lee Lewis

(1987): “Sweet Sixteen” Billy Idol

DEAR JERRY: I've just about given up but thought one last try wouldn't hurt. Many years ago, actor Walter Matthau starred in a movie that no one I ask seems to remember.

In the movie, he is either fired or retired from the CIA, and he decided to get back at them by pulling all sorts of crimes.

What makes it so funny is that they can't catch him because of him being a former agent, he is always just a step ahead of them.

I've tried searching lists of all his movies but nothing rings a bell. Help me! If you don't know it I guess I'm out of luck.
—Colleen B. Belski, via e-mail

DEAR COLLEEN: Just when you thought about giving up, you came to the right place.

Though I have not seen the film, I believe there is a good chance it is “Hopscotch,” a 1980 release.

By comparing your description of the plot to summaries posted on the Internet Movie Data Base (, it is an excellent match.

Here is what IMD has to say about the “Hopscotch” story line:

“Ex-CIA agent Kendig (Walter Matthau) decides to get back into the game by sending his memoirs, chapter by chapter, to the world's intelligence agencies.

“Realizing that their operations would be compromised, the CIA, led by Myerson (Ned Betty) and Cutter (Sam Waterston), set out to put an end to Kendig's plan by whatever means necessary.

“The heart of the movie follows a game of cat and mouse between a fumbling CIA and an artful Kendig.”

IZ ZAT SO? Playing the part of Ross, in “Hopscotch,” is David Matthau, one of Walter Matthau's sons.

Another of Walter's sons, Charlie, portrayed a young Walter in the film, “Hanging Up.”

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