DEAR JERRY: One entertainer I collect and admire is Ann-Margret. She is one star who excelled in all phases of the business.
As for recordings, Ann-Margret's peak period is the '60s. And, other than one mystery song, I believe I have them all.
The one eluding me for over 40 years is why I'm writing you.
I only heard it once, on Radio Luxembourg of all places. After it played there was no mention of the singer or the title. All I recall is repeated references to clouds rolling by, or something similar. It is not “I've looked at clouds from both sides now.” I'd estimate the time to be mid-'60s. It might even be from a movie, as she was making lots of them back then.
If not by Ann-Margret, it sure sounded like her style.
Can you provide some good news?
Marlene Thornton, Cudahy, Wisc.
DEAR MARLENE: There is just no end to the good news I have for you.
First, the song your heard four decades ago is “As the Clouds Drift By” (London HL-10147), a summer 1967 European release. If played by powerful Radio Luxembourg, it could have been heard throughout Europe.
Continuing the good news, if you have all of Ann-Margret's records except this one, then you have all of Ann-Margret's records. “As the Clouds Drift By” is by Jayne Mansfield.
Jayne's breathy vocal is somewhat similar to a style sometimes used by Ann-Margret, one example being “Hey Little Star” (1963).
Though Ann is the better singer, both ladies enjoyed worldwide sex symbol status and each appeared in numerous movies. This song, however, is not from a film.
For reasons never revealed, this single came out only in Europe. There is no U.S. counterpart, even though “As the Clouds Drift By,” and flip side “Suey,” were recorded in New York in 1965, only to remain in the can for two years. The official date of release turned out to be July 21, 1967.
A reasonable assumption is that following the shocking death of Jayne Mansfield, on June 29, 1967, the record company wanted a “new” song by her as quickly as possible. In three weeks they had one.
The ultimate piece of good news is you don't need to shop for this disc, which, with its picture sleeve, often sells in the $250 to $300 range.
Part of the value is because of the rare Jayne Mansfield photo sleeve, but most is based on the “Suey” side, and a very young and uncredited Jimi Hendrix playing lead guitar from a session done at Manhattan's Studio 76.
Jayne Mansfield and Jimi Hendrix? Who'd a thunk it?
DEAR JERRY: Are the Platters who made “Maggie Doesn't Work Here Anymore” and “Beer Barrel Boogie” the same as the very famous Platters who sang those great '50s and '60s ballads?
Michael Wozniak, Clearwater, Fla.
DEAR MICHAEL: In the two years before Mercury Records, and the rest of the world, discovered Tony Williams and the Platters, they recorded 16 tracks for Cincinnati's Federal label. Among those are the two songs you mention.
Occasional personnel changes did occur, but the heart and soul of the Platters, Tony Williams, remained the group's lead vocalist throughout the 1950s. Tony is also featured on all of their hit records in 1960 and '61, tunes from his earlier sessions.
Because most of the Federal sides do not spotlight Williams, “Maggie Doesn't Work Here Anymore” and “Beer Barrel Boogie” among them, it is easy to think they are a completely different group.
Williams is the lead soloist on just six Federal tracks: “Tell the World”; “I Need You All the Time”; “I'll Cry When You're Gone”; “Take Me Back, Take Me Back”; “Give Thanks”; and the original 1954 recording of “Only You (And You Alone).”
IZ ZAT SO? Here are seven collectible late '50s albums that would otherwise be of little interest to collectors were it not for Jayne Mansfield seductively pictured on their covers. All contain mood music instrumentals, not a moment of which is performed by Mansfield: Larry Green & Orchestra (Vox 25830) “Sur les Écrans du
Monde” ($300); Kurt Jensen & Orchestra (Hollywood 137) “An Evening with Jayne” ($50); Enoch Light & Orchestra (Waldorf 1214) “Moments to Remember” ($75); Vincent Lopez (Waldorf 1214) “Moments to Remember” ($75) (Exact same LP issued twice, each with a different orchestra credited); Regent Concert Orchestra (Regent 6091) “Amor” ($300); Henri Rene & Orchestra (RCA Victor 1046) “Music for Bachelors” ($75); and Frank Washburn & Orchestra (Promenade 2052) “I'm in the Mood for Love” ($60).
Value estimates are directly proportional to the A&E factor (allure and enticement).