Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I have been trying for many years to learn more about the theme from the TV series, “The Tattingers,” starring Stephen Collins.

I have been to umpteen music stores, but not a single person has even heard of it, perhaps because the series was only on for a short time.

Someone must know something about this music, such as its title and who performs it. Do you?
—Jeanne Hadad, Whiting, Ind.

DEAR JEANNE: Its title is probably similar to what would be everyone's first guess: “The Tattingers, Main Title Theme.”

The composer and performer is the very famous arranger, orchestrator, writer, musical coordinator, and musical supervisor, Jonathan Tunick.

You are correct about “The Tattingers” being short-lived, as it lasted only six months (October 1988 - January 1989) on NBC.

The network cancelled the show in January '89, only to retool and resuscitate it in April as “Nick and Hillary.” After only two episodes, NBC pulled the Tattinger plug once and for all.

This program notwithstanding, Jonathan Tunick's impressive resume is loaded with triumphant stage and screen shows.

Here are just a few examples in each category:

Broadway: “Titanic” (original); “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (revival); “Into the Woods” (original and revival); and “A Chorus Line” (original).

Films: “Young Frankenstein; Blazing Saddles; The Fantasticks; The Birdcage;” and “Reds.”

Television: “Amazing Stories; Murder She Wrote; Columbo;” and “Into the Woods.”

DEAR JERRY: Which group had a hit in the mid-'60s with “He,” the old Al Hibbler tune?
—Cameron Langley, New Haven, Conn.

DEAR CAMERON: This group is actually a duo, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, better known as the Righteous Brothers.

Their smooth remake of “He” became a Top 20 hit in the summer of '66 (Verve 10406), about 11 years after Al Hibbler's version (Decca 29660) resided in the Top 5.

I added the Al Hibbler details especially for Sylvia S. Koch, of Evansville, Ind., who asks about the original 1955 hit of “He.”

DEAR JERRY: In the late 1960s, I picked up a Dinah Washington album in which she sang songs made famous by Fats Waller.

I recorded it to a cassette, which is good because the vinyl LP is long gone. This leaves me with the music but not any of the notes or information that may have been on the album cover — which brings me to you.

On two of the tracks, “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Everybody Loves My Baby,” Dinah duets with a male singer, whose name I would like to know.

I don't know the voice of Fats Waller, but as the LP honors him might he be the singer in question?
—Anita Robinson, Whitefish Bay, Wisc.

DEAR ANITA: That is very unlikely, since Dinah recorded these tracks in late 1957, about 14 years after Mr. Waller died (December 15, 1943).

In case you'd like to put a label on that cassette, the original LP title is “Dinah Washington Sings Fats Waller (Emarcy MG-36119).

The mystery man joining Dinah on those two tunes is Eddie Chamblee, a well-known tenor saxophonist who also made numerous jazz records on his own.

If having a CD of this collection interests you, “The Fats Waller Songbook,” as it is now titled, is easily available (Emarcy 042281-89302-5).

IZ ZAT SO? At the time Dinah Washington (nee Ruth Jones) and Eddie Chamblee recorded the 12 tracks that make up their Fats Waller tribute album, the two performers were newlyweds.

Dinah and Eddie married February 23, 1957, Chamblee being Dinah's fifth in a string of seven husbands. She became his second wife.

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