Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I'm trying to get publisher and songwriter information on two songs that I want to record.

One is a Marty Robbins (I believe) tune that morphed into the rock and roll hit “Sugaree,” by Rusty York.

The other is the instrumental hit by the Rockin' Rebels, made in the late '50s or early '60s, titled “Wild Weekend.”

I have not been able to track down any information, either online or otherwise, so I'd appreciate any help you can provide.
—Hugh Holmes, Boston, Mass.

DEAR HUGH: Quite right you are about “Sugaree” being written by Marty Robbins, and its publisher is the productive Nashville house of Acuff-Rose.

Though written and first recorded by Marty around 1956, Columbia chose to shelve his version of “Sugaree.” As far as I know, it still remains unreleased.

A number of different artists recorded “Sugaree” (Jordanaires, Hank Ballard, Bobby Potter, Lloyd Arnold, Carlos Diaz, Five Jets, etc.), but only Rusty York scored a hit with it (1959).

Tom Shannon and Phil Todaro wrote “Wild Weekend” and published it through their own appropriately named company, Shan-Todd.

“Wild Weekend” first came out in late 1959, or early '60, by the Rebels (Marlee 0094), but did not catch on much outside northwestern New York. The record's greatest success came primarily in the Buffalo area.

It is there that WKBW dee jay Tom Shannon used this tune as his opening theme.

In December 1962, Swan reissued the Rebels' Marlee track and it rocked right into the Top 10 nationwide (Swan 4125).

As “Wild Weekend” scorched the charts, a dilemma arose about the name Rebels possibly being confused with Duane Eddy and His Rebels, one of the nation's top instrumental outfits.

Thus the Rebels became the Rockin' Rebels, and subsequent labels reflected the change. “Wild Weekend” 45s can be found both ways, with “Rebels” being the earlier of the Swan pressings. Their 1963 LP (Swan 509) is credited only to the Rockin' Rebels.

For around $100, one can likely buy either the Marlee original of “Wild Weekend,” or the Swan LP — but probably not both.

DEAR JERRY: We just watched a movie titled “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” and it raised a few questions.

Is this film about a real-life rock band? Were any of the songs hits by those shown singing them, or anyone else? Can I get a CD of the soundtrack?
—Joan and Dan Sullivan, Seven Valleys, Pa.

DEAR JOAN AND DAN: The full title of this 1999 TV mini-series is “Shake, Rattle & Roll: An American Love Story,” and I'll tell you upfront I have not seen it.

However, there is indeed a TV soundtrack CD (MCA), and its contents provide answers to most of your other questions.

Of the 21 tracks, just two are by the original artists — “Sh-Boom” (Chords) and “Only You” (Platters). Most of the others are mid-'50s hits performed by folks that, other than B.B. King, are names not normally associated with the “Shake, Rattle & Roll” era: Dicky Barrett; Dan Wilson; Randy Jackson; K-Ci & JoJo (Hailey); HartAches; Gary Allen; Billy Porter; Terence Trent D'Arby; and Blink 182.

D'Arby is cast as Jackie Wilson; Billy Porter as Little Richard; Gary Allen as Eddie Cochran; and Dicky Barret as Bill Haley.

Some surprising Hollywood names that turn up in this film include James Coburn, Kathy Baker, James Garner, Troy Donahue, and Edd Byrnes.

Despite the depiction of some actual stars, the band in the film is completely fictional.

IZ ZAT SO? If asked to name the year best remembered for its instrumental hits, many music historians might pick 1963. I know I would.

Though '63 provided oodles of instrumental hits, not one of them reached No. 1.

“Telstar” (Tornadoes) did begin the year at No. 1, but it had already been there for two weeks in late December 1962, its official year of issue.

Two that peaked at No. 2 are “Wipe Out” (Surfaris) and “Washington Square” (Village Stompers).

Seven others made the Top 10 in 1963: “Wild Weekend” (Rebels); “Our Winter Love” (Bill Pursell); “Pipeline” (Chantays); “Watermelon Man” (Mongo Santamaria); “Memphis” (Lonnie Mack); “More” (Kai Winding); and “Maria Elena” (Los Indios Tabajaras).

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