Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Can you please provide a little background information on Gary Puckett?

Other than enjoying his beautiful voice, I don't know a thing about him.
—Clare M. Derzay, Waukesha, Wisc.

DEAR CLARE: Gary Puckett began life in 1942 in the same city where Bob Dylan grew up, Hibbing, Minnesota.

Living in the San Diego area in the mid-'60s, Puckett sang with a group known as the Outcasts, though we know of no recordings made until they hooked up with producer Jerry Fuller and signed with Columbia in 1967.

By that time, they changed the name of the band to the Union Gap. They also had a gimmick, not totally unlike that used at the time by Paul Revere and the Raiders.

The Raiders dressed in American Revolution period costumes, whereas the Union Gap donned Civil War style uniforms on stage. Puckett took on the rank of General while the other boys wore the stripes of Privates, Corporal, and Sergeant.

Their first two single hits (“Woman, Woman” and “Young Girl”) came out as by the Union Gap, but with Gary's talent so evident, they were then billed as Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

Five of the group's first six releases made the Top 10, with “Young Girl” reaching No. 1 on the Cash Box Top 100.

In 1970, Puckett began performing as a solo act.

Gary is still active, especially on the oldies circuit, and continues to release albums. For more information on these as well as upcoming personal appearances, visit

DEAR JERRY: I'm living in New England now, but was in San Francisco during the flower child invasion.

One of the hot spots then was the Fillmore Auditorium, and among the featured bands there were Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messanger Service.

Among my souvenirs is an original concert cardboard poster, for a show given February 4, 1967. Any chance you can place a value on it?
—Rosalie Mellick, Southern, Conn.

DEAR ROSALIE: Like you, I called San Francisco home in 1967. Are you sure we didn't meet a time or two at Golden Gate Park?

You have the poster commonly known as BG-48, as in the 48th one made for Bill Graham's Fillmore concerts.

All of the posters in the BG series are now valuable, with the one you have selling in the $700 range.

The cream of the crop is, not surprisingly, BG-1. This one is for the first Jefferson Airplane concert at the Fillmore, held exactly one year before the one you saved, the weekend of February 4, 1966.

Most of the Fillmore posters have been reprinted several times, but a first printing of BG-1 can now fetch around $3,000.

DEAR JERRY: During 1984, one could not help but hear Randy Newman's “I Love L.A.” constantly on the radio.

Yet, it seems “I Love L.A.” never charted on Billboard's Top 100. How could this be?
—George in Los Angeles

DEAR GEORGE: Musical history is filled with what are known as regional hits — songs that charted high in some areas but failed to make the national charts.

It certainly stands to reason that “I Love L.A.” would receive more airplay in L.A. than in other markets.

You are correct about it not cracking the Hot 100, though it did reach No. 110 on Billboard's Bubbling Under chart.

Oh yes, all of this happened in 1983, one year earlier than you recall.

Randy Newman had three charted singles: “Short People” (1977); “The Blues” (1982-'83); and “It's Money That Matters” (1988).

In an fairly unusual pattern, each of these came out approximately every five years.

IZ ZAT SO? Most of Randy Newman's success in recent years has come as a composer of music used in films, about three dozen at last count.

Among them are the following blockbusters: “Toy Story; Toy Story 2; Forest Gump; Seabiscuit; Monsters, Inc.; Awakenings; The Paper;” and “The Natural.”

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