DEAR JERRY: While surfing YouTube, I stumbled across “Welcome Home,” by Shelley Fabares.
Among the comments that accompany the video is: “from the early 1960s, it was covered by a variety of popular teen artists.” Besides Shelley, who are those “popular teen artists” who covered “Welcome Home”?
From what I can find out, the Shelley Fabares version only made it to No. 100 on the Cash Box chart, and for just one week.
Charles Roste, Watt, Texas
DEAR CHARLES: Nice work, Holmes, your chart research investigation is correct.
“Welcome Home” entered Cash Box October 5, 1963 at No. 100, and just a week later it vanished never to be charted again a bit of a shame since this is a very commercial tune for its time.
Billboard never welcomed “Welcome Home,” not even for a spot on the Bubbling Under section of the chart, where records knocking at the door of the Top 100 are found.
The quantity of Bubbling Under titles varied during this period, usually numbering from 20 to 35.
Though not extinct, cover versions copycat recordings made to compete in the marketplace with the original release were far less common in the 1960s than in earlier decades.
As for “Welcome Home,” no cover versions exist. Several recordings of that same title also came out in '63, but none are the same song Shelley sings.
Fact is the only other record I find of this “Welcome Home,” written by Buddy Kaye and Philip Springer, is by Frankie Avalon (Chancellor 1125). This single, backed with the trendy “Dance the Bossa Nova,” came out in November 1962, nearly one year before the Fabares issue.
Before disappearing for good, Frankie's excellent version did spend one week at No. 129 on the Bubbling Under list.
Perhaps knowing Avalon, definitely a “popular teen artist,” also recorded “Welcome Home” explains why the YouTuber described it that way.
DEAR JERRY: While researching John Rowles' great song, “Cheryl Moana Marie,” I ran across one of your previous columns on the topic.
Among your notes I found this information: “The inspiration for this tune came from John's younger sister, whose name really is Cheryl Moana Marie.”
I also see that both Rowles and this song have a strong connection to Hawaii.
Imagine my surprise to also discover a young Hawaiian woman with a hot new album, whose name is Cheryl Moana Marie.
How many ladies have that name, along with singing in their genes? I wouldn't think too many.
Is this Cheryl Moana Marie the sister of John Rowles?
Jonah Martindale, Racine, Wisc.
DEAR JONAH: Negative, which is not to say Rowles does not play a part in all of this.
He and his song's influence came after his 1970-'71 worldwide hit, “Cheryl Moana Marie,” as many parents chose that name for their daughters, especially in Hawaii.
In Hawaiian, moana means either ocean or deep ocean.
Cheryl Moana Marie, the rising star whose recently issued 4-track CD, “Kauai Motion” (Kauaiian Girl Enterprises), inspired your letter has only her name in common John's sister.
The singing Cheryl hails from Hawaii. The Rowles family is also from the Pacific Basin, but 4,500 miles south, in Kawerau, the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
Before the “Kauai Motion” sessions, Cheryl the Kauaiian Girl claimed the title of Miss Kauai, and then later as Miss Asia USA.
On the mainland, Cheryl entertained professional football fans as an Oakland Raiderette, in addition to appearing in national TV commercials for Heineken, Federal Express, General Motors, and a dozen other companies.
Cheryl also worked as an on-air model and spokesperson for the STARZ Movie Channel.
IZ ZAT SO? In April 1962, when “Johnny Angel” reached No. 1 nationwide, Shelley Fabares became the first female solo artist of the 1960s whose debut record topped the charts.
For the entire decade, just seven others turned this tuneful trick on either Billboard or Cash Box: Dee Dee Sharp, 1962 (“Mashed Potato Time”); Little Eva, 1962 (“The Loco-Motion”); Lesley Gore, 1963 (“It's My Party”); The Singing Nun, 1963 (“Dominique”); Gale Garnett, 1964 (“We'll Sing in the Sunshine”); Bobbie Gentry, 1967 (“Ode to Billy Joe”); and Jeannie C. Riley, 1968 (“Harper Valley P.T.A.”).
As for earlier in the Rock Era, only Joan Weber matched this feat.
Joan's debut single, a ballad titled “Let Me Go Lover,” reached No. 1 the first week of January 1955. Ironically, the Rock Era began with a non-rock hit atop the charts.