Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I have three quick questions for you:

1. Please settle a debate I'm having with my roommate over how the Lynyrd Skynard group died. I say it was a plane crash that killed some of the band members, though my friend believes it was an auto accident.

Which of us is right?

2. Are you related to Ozzy?

3. Is there a story behind the Eagles' hit song, “Hotel California”?
—David Kendall, Shelton, Wash.

DEAR DAVID: Here are your numerical answers:

1. You are correct. An October 20, 1977 plane crash, in Mississippi, killed lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant; guitarist, Steve Gaines; and his sister, Cassie Gaines.

2. Not at all. Brit that he is, Ozzy Osbourne's name includes that “u.”. Mine is u-less: Osborne.

3. Probably, but whether or not it involves the real-life Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico, depends on whom you ask.

Most of the residents of this Baja California beach town claim the Eagles, specifically Don Henley, visited this hotel in 1976, and crafted the tune while there.

Fueling the story more, several major U.S. newspapers ran this account as if it were a factual event.

The Hotel California closed its doors for good in 1998, leaving behind only the myth.

Don Henley, however, is quick to deny that neither he ”nor any of the other band members had any association — business or pleasure — with that establishment.”

He also expresses the belief that the whole connection between the hotel and his song was simply concocted to attract tourists.

The legend itself may or may not check out, but it apparently will never leave.

DEAR JERRY: Why is it impossible to find any good CD collection of hits by one of the '60s super groups, the Dave Clark Five?
—Curtis M. Bender, Cambria, Wisc.

DEAR CURTIS: A bit troublesome, perhaps, but not impossible if you can get online.

The ideal CD for you is “History of the Dave Clark Five” (Hollywood 720616-14822-3), a two-disc, 50-track package.

On this 1993 issue, you will likely find everything you always wanted but could not find by the DC5, along with an informative booklet.

As of this writing, there are about a dozen copies available just on alone, ranging from $50 to $75.

Hurry, as they won't last long!

DEAR JERRY: I am trying, without success, to get the details of an old song that is likely titled “Money, Marbles, and Chalk.”

Aside from the title, the line that stands out in my memory is “my money don't spend, my marbles don't roll, and my chalk don't write.”

My mom played accordion and my dad the guitar, and this is one of the tunes they used to play during the family weekend songfests.
—Gary L. Skyberg, Peotone, Ill.

DEAR GARY: This novelty became a big hit for two different artists in the summer of 1949.

The first to chart with it is Patti Page (Mercury 5251), in June of '49.

About one month later another recording of “Money, Marbles, and Chalk” joined Patti on the Hit Parade, this one by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers (Decca 46149).

Interestingly, both records came out in February, and both took a several months to generate air play and sales.

Two other artists releasing this tune at the time are Chet Atkins (RCA Victor 21-0021) and Bob Atcher (Columbia 20556). Neither made the sales charts.

You will have to decide which of these four inspired the family band.

DEAR JERRY: You recently ran a photo of a man that you identified as Jack Leonard, the one who sang with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra.

However, the photo was actually of the late comedian, “Fat” Jack E. Leonard.
—Charles E. Young, Narvon, Pa.

DEAR CHARLES: Thank you for pointing out the error, though I must enter a not guilty plea.

We originate and deliver only the body of text. All headlines and illustrations used with the feature are added by the local papers.

DEAR JERRY: Since “Pony Time” is about a dance and not a pony, and since “Running Bear” is about an Indian and not a bear, was there ever a No. 1 song in the 1960s that is actually about an animal?
—Dolores Fontana, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR DOLORES: Certainly, and it is “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” by the Tokens (1961).

IZ ZAT SO? As is so often the case, necessity was the mother of invention when it came to forming the Dave Clark Five.

The outrageously successful Dave Clark 5 were originally formed by members of a London area soccer team, the Tottenham Hot Spurs, all because they needed a way to raise funds so they could travel to Holland to play a soccer game.

No rock music act appeared more times on the Ed Sullivan Show than the DC5, with estimates ranging from 12 to 18 guest appearances with Sullivan.

Whatever the official count, it's more than any of their peers.

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