Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Kindly settle a little squabble I'm having with my younger sister. We both like country music, but when it comes to gal singers I prefer Reba McEntire. Her favorite is Shania Twain.

She claims Shania's “The Woman in Me” outsold any of Reba's albums.

Since Reba has been around many years before Twain appeared on the scene, I am sure her total sales exceed Shania's. But has “The Woman in Me” done better than Reba's best-selling LP?
—Annie Dunbar, Sarasota, Fla.

DEAR ANNIE: Work with me Annie, in case I don't have all of this straight. According to Joel Whitburn's “All-Time Top 100 C&W Albums” listing, “The Woman in Me,” released in 1995, is No. 6 making it the highest-ranked LP by a female artist.

Using this same power-rating system, Reba McEntire's top entry is “Sweet Sixteen,” a 1989 issue.

As you suspect, Shania Twain's much shorter career renders moot any overall comparisons. Nevertheless, as a fan of Reba's you'll be pleased to know she currently ranks 15th on the Top Artists list, with only Dolly Parton (No. 8) and Loretta Lynn (No. 11) being females holding a higher position.

Shania Twain is No. 151 on the same list, and moving up rapidly.

In view of the evidence presented in this matter, this court must rule in favor of little sister.

DEAR JERRY: In one of your columns in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, you answered a letter from a reader regarding the Flirtations' “Nothing But a Heartache.” And I haven't gotten the song out of my head since!

It's been a while since I listened to oldies stations on a regular basis (like any good diet, I need to vary my musical intake), but when I was a regular listener, I heard this tune and really loved it. I don't remember it from when it was originally popular (when I was growing up) so it was like a brand new song to me.

Anyway, my question is this: the reader (Denn Walls) said he found the song on a various-artists compilation, but he didn't say which one. I'd be willing to go buy the CD just to hear this song.

Would you know which CD I need to look for?
—Susie, Milwaukee, Wisc. (

DEAR SUSIE: Since Mr. Wells didn't indicate which CD he has, I can only tell you of one that I do know includes “Nothing But a Heartache:” It is titled “Soul Shots, Vol. 2 (Rhino 75770) and it should be easy to order.

DEAR JERRY: In the '50s, there was a song titled “No Other Love,” which has always been “our song” (and we've been married 42 years).

Unfortunately, we do not know the name of the singers that recorded it (I believe there were several).

I hope you can tell us, since a radio dee jay we asked could not.
—Patricia Wilson, Madison, Conn.

DEAR PATRICIA: The first 1950s hit of “No Other Love,” from the Broadway musical “Me and Juliet,” is by Jo Stafford.

Three years after Stafford's Top 10 hit, Perry Como took a reworked “No Other Love” to the No. 1 position, this one from the TV documentary “Victory at Sea.”

What's it Worth? Get fast appraisals by e-mail!

DEAR JERRY: A co-worker and I have disagreed on a music matter. He says that, from the '50s to present, in no field of music has there been a song recorded about a girl named “Janice.” Specifically “Janice,” not Jan, Janet or Janis.

However, I seem to recall a song called “Janice,” but have no idea of the artist, lyrics or anything else. Can you help?
—John Erickson,, Tacoma, Wash.

DEAR JOHN: Not much, since I can neither think of a song titled “Janice,” nor one about someone named Janice.

Still, there are a million songs tucked away on albums and CDs. Maybe you did hear such a tune. With any luck, by running your letter, someone who has heard a Janice song will come forth.

Just out of curiosity, how can one tell by listening whether it is Janice or Janis being mentioned?

IZ ZAT SO? Though it may have seemed it, Reba McEntire was not exactly an overnight star. She struggled for four years and through a dozen so-so releases before finally hitting the Top 10, with “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven.”




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