Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne

DEAR JERRY: I have long been confused by two completely different songs with nearly identical titles.

I think that both were hits in the '50s.

The titles are either "Goodnight Sweetheart," or "Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight."
— Matt Turzy, York, Pa. (12-3-20)

DEAR MATT: This one is a mess alright, but let's try to sort things out.

First came "Good Night, Sweetheart," one of the bigger hits of 1931. This tune begins: "Good night sweetheart, 'til we meet tomorrow. Good night sweetheart, sleep will banish sorrow."

Those with hit versions of this drowzy ballad include Wayne King, Bing Crosby, Russ Colombo, and Ruth Etting. All came out in 1931. There are no hits of "Good Night, Sweetheart," after the '30s.

Though not a single release, there is at least one '50s waxing of "Good Night, Sweetheart" in my collection. It is one of a dozen snooze-related tracks on "Sleep Warm," a 1959 LP by Dean Martin (Capitol T-1150). For these sessions, the orchestra is directed by fellow Rat-Packer, Frank Sinatra.

"Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite," a Top 5 R&B hit in mid-1954, is by the Spaniels (Vee Jay 107). A cover version, "Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight" (note slightly more precise spelling) by the McGuire Sisters went Top 10 on the pop charts at the same time. This number goes: "Goodnight sweetheart, well it's time to go, (repeat), I hate to leave you but I really can't stay, goodnight sweetheart goodnight."

While the Spaniels' doo-wop original didn't make the pop charts, it finally, and deservedly, became the mainstream standard.

Also worth noting is the Untouchables' fine 1960 remake of "Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight" (Madison 134). The Untouchables has long been the most-played version in some markets (radio markets that is, not supermarkets.)

DEAR JERRY: Surprisingly, my question is somewhat similar to the one sent by Curtis (below).

I have fallen in love with a foreign language song that plays during Allstate Insurance TV commercials. Other than that, all I can add is it is by a woman.

Can you identify this recording, and how I can obtain it?
— Sharon Holmes, Livermore, Calif. (10-01-20)

DEAR SHARON: I couldn't miss this sensational tune, since this spot runs quite frequently.

The singer is the legendary Edith Paif (1915-1963), a French superstar (nicknamed "The Little Sparrow"), and the song behind the Allstate commercial is "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," a 1960 No. 1 hit in much of Europe.

One of Piaf's best CD collections is "Edith Paif 30th Anniversaire," a two-disc, 44-track box that includes "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." This set also includes a 24-page booklet, in both French and English.

DEAR JERRY: I enjoyed our time on the phone, especially learning that you cooked up a way for you to continue answering our questions.

No doubt you have noticed so many Golden Age tunes this summer, but there is one with an authentic early R&R sound, one I'd never heard until a few months ago. Best as I recall, the advertising is about finding a job, etc.

One of the lines is "open up that door." If you don't already have it, I think this is one you would like.
— Curtis Griffen, Clarksville, Miss. (8-23-20)

DEAR CURTIS: The song described is "Open Up That Door (And Walk Right In My Heart)," a spring 1956 single (Savoy 1187) by Nappy Brown. I do like it, and of course I do have it, along with at least a half-dozen more.

Here are some other top singles by Nappy Brown: 1955: "Don't Be Angry" (Savoy 1155)
1955: "Pitter Patter" (Savoy 1162)
1956: "Little By Little" (Savoy 1506)
1957: "Bye Bye Baby" (Savoy (Savoy 1514)
1958: "It Don't Hurt No More" (Savoy 1551)
1959: "I Cried Like A Baby" (Savoy 1575)
1960: "Apple of My Eye" (Savoy 1588)

DEAR MUSIC LOVING FRIENDS: Due to my lifelong passion of researching the history of endless forms of popular entertainment, especially recorded music.

Along the trail, I was frequently asked music trivia. Based on that, in 1986, I created the "Mr. Music" Q&A column syndicated for newspapers. In the summer of 2020, my radio shows and book publishing increased, but that alone might not have caused me to step away from the "Mr. Music" feature.

What really put the brakes on me was when some weasel attacked my PC. Little by little (to borrow a title from Nappy Brown) we will keep a variation of the Mr. Music column.

We have come up with a way where we can still answer questions from readers, but with no day or date requirements. All previous date-related items, over the years, will remain as is. All new topics will always be added to the top of the list on this page, and all previous topics will move down, but they will still remain on this site.

Osborne Enterprises
(360) 385-1200

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