Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A few years ago you gave the longest song titles in each of several categories, such as charted hits, non-charted songs, medleys, with and without subtitles, etc.

What I don't recall being in your listings is anything by Rod Stewart.

I mention this because I ran across a site that says Rod Stewart has the “longest title ever for a Top 40 hit.”

They don't give the year, and, much to my surprise, they don't even give the title!

I looked up all of Rod's hit records, and none have a title longer than “I Don't Want to Talk About It,” with seven words. While that one didn't quite make the Top 40, he did have three with six words that did: “The First Cut Is the Deepest”; “Some Guys Have All the Luck”; and “My Heart Can't Tell You No.”

Still, these are far shorter than your Top 40 selection: Ray Stevens' 14-word “Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (1961).

What do you know about this Rod Stewart comment?

Now how about providing the longest boy's and girl's names used on a hit record?
—Lonnie Fister, Long Beach, Calif.

DEAR LONNIE: I made no mention of a Rod Stewart song in my longest hit titles column (April 2003) because he has none that qualify.

The title you saw referenced, but not named, was never a hit single in the U.S.

Without its 20-word subtitle, it is only an eight-word title: “You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (Even Take the Dog for a Walk, Mend a Fuse, Fold Away the Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings)” (Warner Bros. WBS-8066).

This cut, Rod's first single for Warner Brothers after four years with Mercury, is actually credited to Faces/Rod Stewart. Though it did not chart at all here, this tune did make the UK Top 15 in December 1974 (Warner Bros. K-16494).

Perhaps what that site really meant is Faces/Rod Stewart have BRITAIN'S longest Top 40 title, allowing for subtitles but excluding medleys. Then the claim is accurate.

Credited to “Faces/Rod Stewart” on the 45, the track is found on separate albums by each of the artists: “The Best of Faces - Good Boys … When They're Asleep” (Rhino/Warner 081227583026) and Rod Stewart's “Storyteller - The Complete Anthology: 1964-1990” (Warner Bros. 25987).

As for the longest titles that are names of a male, and a female, both are by country-pop crossover performers whose last names begin with “A,” and came out less than two years apart.

For a girl's name, it is Eddy Arnold's 1966 “Mary Claire Melvina Rebecca Jane” (RCA Victor 8818). Having “The Last Word in Lonesome is Me” on the reverse propelled this single to No. 2 in the country.

The boy's name, with one word more than Eddy's tune, is “Jose Villa Lobo Alfredo Thomasa Vincente Lopez,” a 1968 track by actor-singer Rex Allen.

With “Tiny Bubbles” on the flip (Decca 32322), this fared well in some markets but stalled at No. 71 nationally.

Notice that neither of these titles contain any words other than the name.

IZ ZAT SO? Rod Stewart's first single came out in the UK in late 1964 (Decca F-11996), then in early '65 in the U.S. (Press 9722): “Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl” backed with “I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town.” Copies from either side of the Atlantic can now sell for $100 to $200.

From mid-1969 through 1975, Rod Stewart — after two years with Jeff Beck's Group — recorded for Warner Brothers as a member of Faces.

Yet, in a highly unusual overlapping state of affairs, Stewart also recorded for Mercury “with Faces” for most of that time (1970-'76), and, beginning in 1975, as a solo act for Warner Bros.

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