Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: As a faithful follower of Top 40 radio in the 1960s, I recall how many times the weekly survey's highest debuting record received special mention.

What I'd now like to know is the highest debut song of each year of that decade, from either Billboard or Cash Box.
—Gene Porta, Racine, Wisc.

DEAR GENE: After checking 1,040 individual Top 100 surveys (520 weekly charts for each magazine), I have the results — assuredly in print for the first time ever in this context.

The publication, (B=Billboard, CB=Cash Box) debut position, and date for each annual champion is shown in parenthesis.

1960: “Are You Lonesome To-Night” Elvis Presley (B-35, November 14).
1961: “Surrender” Elvis Presley (B-24, February 20).
1962: “Good Luck Charm” Elvis Presley (CB-36, March 17).
1963: “Walk Like a Man” 4 Seasons (B-40, January 26).
1964: “Can't Buy Me Love” Beatles (CB-21, March 28).
1965: “Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter” Herman's Hermits (B-12, April 17).
1966: “They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-aaa” Napoleon XIV (CB-20, July 23).
1967: “All You Need Is Love” Beatles (CB-27, July 29).
1968: “Hey Jude” Beatles (B-10, September 14).
1969: “Get Back” Beatles (B-10, May 10).

DEAR JERRY: As our fifth anniversary nears, it seems like a good time to share a bit about Vinyl Record Day (VRD) with you and your many vinyl loving readers.

It all began in February of 2002, when the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in California adopted a proclamation declaring August 12th as Vinyl Record Day in San Luis Obispo County. The date chosen commemorates when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, August 12, 1877.

We established Vinyl Record Day as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (C) Public Benefit Corporation.

The plan included a VRD celebration to be held the first Saturday following August 12 of each year. Our first event took place in San Luis Obispo August 17, 2002.

The celebration was geared to vinyl lovers of all ages, and the music began with Big Band & Swing tunes. With the style of music changing every 45 minutes, next came segments on Elvis, Beatles, R&B, Surf, Country, Disco, Jazz and Blues — all played on vinyl. We even had a sock hop.

Vinyl Record Day is clearly not limited to any one category, group, or genre.

One VRD goal is to establish a national day when we all enjoy the music most personally important to us.

Another is the preservation of vinyl's cultural influences, from the artists and recordings, and their effect on society, to the sometimes dazzling 12" x 12" works of art on the covers accompanying vinyl discs.

Educating the public on how to care for a record collection is a very important step toward preservation. It's up to each of us to care for our record collections. We are the custodians of a nation's soundtrack!

Future generations must not be deprived of this important link to recorded history.

For much more information on Vinyl Record Day, visit
—Gary Freiberg, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

DEAR GARY: As Jimmy Jones once remarked, you have “Good Timin'.”

With this year's VRD right around the corner, I hope many members of our Vinyl Village gang will join the celebration.

We know the future of our nation's soundtrack is secure with guardians such as yourself, and an occasional Vinyl Record Day.

IZ ZAT SO? The highest debuting single research affords some interesting observations:

The decade's first three debut frontrunners are by Elvis, the last three by the Beatles. This pattern confirms what we've long suspected: these five guys sold a lot of records!

Two two-word titles, “Hey Jude” and “Get Back,” both by the Beatles, are tied for highest debut position (No. 10) of the decade.

Not surprisingly, all 10 tunes reached No. 1 on one or both charts, some faster than others. Both “Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter” (12 to 1) and “They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-aaa” (20 to 1) zoomed to No. 1 in just their second week. The slowest climber is “Walk Like a Man,” taking six weeks to reach the top.

Five acts account for all 10 recordings; however, only Napoleon XIV (Jerry Samuels) is a one-hit wonder.

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