Ask "Mr. Music" —Jerry Osborne

Your Music Questions Answered Since 1987

DEAR JERRY: In just the months of May and June I heard a brief piece of music playing during a TV commercial for a new PlayStation Plus. I'd like to know if you can you identify the music.
What makes this so difficult is that there are female voices, but they do not sing any words, just similar to catchy, uptempo humming. I know this sounds crazy, but you just might know it from the PlayStation clue.
— Manny Cisneros, Fresno, Calif. (6-20-21)

DEAR MANNY: I would not have paid any attention to any PlayStation Plus ads, but to answer your question all I had to do was locate Sony's current PlayStation Plus spots.

From that research, I now know why most Generation Xs, or older, would be unlikely to recognize the source of this piece of music.

The original version of this tune was the Rock-A-Teen's "Woo-Hoo," a Top 20 hit in 1959 (Roulette 4192) on both national pop charts: Billboard (#16) and Cash Box (#18). This recording is a rock-and-roll instrumental, with approximately half of it being sung "woo-hoo, woo, hoo, hoo" etc.

The version heard in the PlayStation Plus, and some other products, is by 5.6.7.8's, a Tokyo female rockiní garage trio. Their "Woo-Hoo" first appeared on "Kill Bill Vol. 1 (Original Soundtrack)," first issued in 2003. "Woo- Hoo" has since appeared on other releases by the 5.6.7.8's.

For the record, there is NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER to Christina Aguilera's "WooHoo," from 2010.

DEAR JERRY: I have been a fan for years and now I need help with two 45s I got recently.

1: The Chordettes, Cadence Advance Pressing #1402, white labels, with "Faraway Star" on both sides. Cadence #1402 was released as "Never on Sunday" in 1961. Record is in mint condition. Does the advance release of a song on a number used later enhance its value? Does a song recorded and released to radio stations but never released to the public enhance its value?

2: Johnny Desmond, Carlton red label, Disc Jockey Record #559, marked "Not for Sale." Songs are "(I'll Love You") Until Niagara Falls" backed with "So Long, Au Revoir. Arrivederci." Record is mint. In both these instances, they are records released to radio stations but not to the public.
—Linda Howard, Hernando, Miss. (6-12-21)

DEAR LINDA: The Cadence Advance Pressing with "Faraway Star" on both sides, was sent to selected radio stations in hopes that "Faraway Star" would catch on, but it didn't, at least not right away.

At the same time, they issued another Cadence Advance Pressing (#1402) with "Never on Sunday" backed with "Faraway Star."

"Never on Sunday" entered all three of the nationwide Top 100 weekly charts in June 1961 — Billboard, Cash Box, and Music Vendor — and peaked at No. 10.

"Faraway Star" didn't appear on the charts until the last few days in September, and then only peaked at No. 80.

Either of the various Cadence promo records in mint condition would likely sell in the $15 to $25.

Johnny Desmond's only Carlton single was issued in August 1961: "(I'll Love You") Until Niagara Falls" backed with "So Long, Au Revoir, Arrivederci" (Carlton 559), and Desmond was backed with Charlie Grean's Orchestra and Chorus.

This disc seems to be available for $3.00 to $5.00.

DEAR JERRY: As a specialist whose record collection is strictly limited to 45 pm singles, I have a long time mystery.

It all began when my love for the Platters, as well as others on Mercury. When the Platters' second single, "The Great Pretender," came out I was thrilled to see Mercury printed "Rel. Nov. 3, 1955" on both sides of the labels.

Since their first Mercury single, "Only You (And You Alone)" made no indication of a release date, when I saw it on "The Great Pretender" I had high hopes they would continue the trend. As far as I knew, Mercury was the only major company dating their singles in this way. Not just for the Platters, but for all of their artists, for about three years.

After 10 consecutive Platters hits, "Twilight Time" (Rel. April 4, 1958) was the last Platters single with an issue date. Their follow-ups with no dates began in June 1958 with "You're Making a Mistake."

Here then are my two questions:

Somewhere between "Only You (And You Alone)" and "The Great Pretender," what was the first Mercury single with a release date, assuming "The Great Pretender" was not the first one?

Second, let's go to the other extreme. What Mercury single was selected as their last one made with the release date?
— Eddie Hendricks, Jackson, Tenn. (5-23-21).

DEAR EDDIE: Amazingly, in my seven decades emersed in countless aspects of the record world, no one has ever brought up the subject of Mercury's labels with release dates.

Narrowing their exact genesis and exodus was a fun project, and here are the results:

The dating trend began in November 3, 1955 with "Growin' Up"/"Stars Tell My Story," by Burt Taylor (Mercury 70749).

Note that the Platters "The Great Pretender" (Mercury 70753) was only four singles after the Burt Taylor disc. Both are Nov. 3, 1955.

Following the Burt Taylor disc (Mercury 70749), the company issued 570 consecutive singles with release dates.

So we have 70749 plus 570 equals Mercury 71319, and that notable record is "Sweet Hunk of Junk"/"Wish I Could Make Some Money," by Louis Jordan. This label shows the release date as June 6, 1958

Ironically, the next Mercury issue once again involves the Platters. "You're Making a Mistake," backed with "My Old Flame," has no release date (Mercury 71320).

DEAR JERRY: I am a retired country music disc jockey, and I have a question about Johnny Western, who I have read many great things about.

I am familiar with the process of co-writing and heard that the recording singer may just add one word to a song, or make a slight change, and still get a third of the writing credit.

In the case of "The Ballad of Paladin," we've been told that Johnny wrote the song, though the Columbia single (4-41260) credits "Western-Boone-Rolfe" (Johnny Western, Richard Boone, and Sam Rolfe) listed as co-writers.

At different times either Boone or Rolfe are listed first.

According to Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn, the person who brings the idea to the table likely gets the most credit.
—Rob Cosar, Kelowna, B.C. Canada (5-22-21)

DEAR ROB: Having only written one song ever, and that one, "City of Dreams" (2016), was co-written with my singing sister, Devon Dawson, and we shared the credit equally.

Therefore, I have no personal experience even similar to "The Ballad of Paladin." My hope would be that someone will share their knowledge of writing credits, etc.

Our first offer to help comes from Stephen Jaye, who suggests that lots of good info can be found at this site:
"https://blog.reverbnation.com/2018/05/09/music-law-101-owns-copyright-song"

Thank you, Stephen!

DEAR JERRY: I heard a song on KAAY AM-1090 in Little Rock, Arkansas sometime in the mid-to-late '60ís that corresponded to "Graduation Day," which would put it around May.

It went as follows: "Two by two dressed in blue cap and gown." And also: "There will be tears, tears, throughout the years, as we recall our high school days.Ē

I have tried to find this song, but to no avail with my limited knowledge of how to search for obscure songs.

Your column has been an eye-opener to the many songs that were released, but this song probably didnít hang around very long.

Please help me if you can. Thank you.
—Johnny McMahan, Benton, Arkansas (5-11-21)

DEAR JOHNNY: I am familiar with many versions of "Graduation Day," including a bunch of others with similar storylines, but I can't come up with any having the other clues you provide.

I also reviewed many of the KAAY "Official Sound Surveys," especially those in the late '60s, but none seemed likely.

We welcome any possible tunes that seem to match up with the clues Johnny provided.

DEAR JERRY: I read your explanation of what constitutes a cover or a remake, and want to see if my reasoning as to why there were more in the '50's than later makes sense.

It seems to me, having been a teen in the '50's, that before Alan Freed popularized the term "rock & roll," the music of that genre was known as "race music" or rhythm and blues, and had its origins among blacks.

A lot of their tunes were covered by the popular white artists of the day and were released to a much broader audience.

It wasn't until after rock became mainstream that the black artists got the acceptance and the play on Top 40 stations making covers less viable than before.
—Myron Havis via e-mail (3-11-21)

DEAR MYRON: Independent of the history of cover records, portions of your theory are factual.

However, the stratagem of covering someone else's recording began long before anyone thought of rock and roll music.

Beginning with songs of the 1800s and early 1900s, as issued on Edison cylinders then later on 78 rpms, virtually every popular song inspired covers.

In the '30s, there were five charted recordings of "Stardust" (1931) and of "Stormy Weather" (1933), plus dozens of other versions that failed to chart.

In the late '40s and early '50s, nearly every hit written and recorded on MGM by Hank Williams got covered immediately by someone on each of the other majors. Labels covering Hank's "Your Cheatin' Heart" for example, included: Capitol (Jan Garber), Columbia (Frankie Laine), Decca (Louis Armstrong), and RCA Victor (Betty Brewer).

There were others. MGM even covered itself — not an uncommon event given radio's narrow programming philosophies — having their pop star Joni James record the song. Hank got played by the country stations, while Joni James and Frankie Laine dominated on the pop stations.

As rhythm and blues and rock and roll became prevalent formats, two more sources for fresh originals were added to the mix. And though originals by black artists being covered by white artists received the most publicity (read: criticism), covering knew no direction. Yes, white artists covered blacks but blacks also covered white. C&W covered pop. Pop covered C&W, etc., etc. Race, as in a group of persons connected by common origin, was not as much a factor as race, as in a contest of speed. In a dash for the cash, the labels raced to make their version the hit version.

DEAR JERRY: Around 1966 I picked up a copy of "Deserie," by the Charts (Wand 1112) thinking that it was the original, but just on a weird label. But much to my pleasure it was, lyrically, the same song, by a group with the same name. It is very upbeat with heavy background music and not a ballad like the original.

I have never been able to find any mention of it in record reference books. Nor have I ever met anyone in the business who recalls it.

The flip side is "Fell in Love with You Baby." What is the release date? Is it the same group? Why didn't it get any air play? Can you tell me anything?
— Bill "Stuck in the '50s and '60s" Peterson, Olympia, Wash. (3/4/21)

DEAR BILL: The Charts, who first issued "Deserie" in mid-1957 (Everlast 5001), reworked and updated their doo-wop classic in 1966. This drastically different version is the one you have. As you will see below, both the Everlast (1957) AND Wand records were played on the radio and were on regional charts.

FYI: As a follow-up single, the Wand Charts followed "Deserie" with "Livin' the Nightlife" (Wand 1124), also in 1966.

You may be surprised to know, though long-considered an R&B classic, neither the 1957 original release, nor the '66 version of "Deserie," failed to make any position on Billboard's R&B Best Sellers. However, "Deserie" fared quite well in various regional markets, and even the flip side, "Zoop," and the Charts follow-up "Dance Girl" (Everlast 5002) charted in some scattered areas.

I pulled out some of my radio station surveys that listed the Charts, and you will see that both versions of "Deserie" by the Charts did very well on some regional charts. I'll list only the peak position for each:
"Deserie" (1957 Everlast) KYA #1 (San Francisco); KOL #3 (Seattle); KWBR #3 (Oakland); KOBY #5 (San Francisco); KPHO #12 (Phoenix); KEED #17 (Eugene).
"Deserie" (1966 Wand) WJLB #7 (Detroit); WJMO #12 (Cleveland); WDAO #22 (Dayton); KYOK #25 (Houston); WMCA #46 (New York); WAMO #48 (Pittsburgh).

DEAR JERRY: While recently listening to some of my 1960s records with a friend, when "You're the One," by the Vogues played, he asked if I ever heard the original version. And that it was by a British pop singer named Kathy Kirby.

I said I never knew there was a version before the Vogues, and I'd never heard of Kathy Kirby.

I never pursued the subject, but it seemed like something you could chime in on. So, was there an earlier release of "You're the One" by Kathy Kirby?
— Roy Eversole, Middletown, Ohio (2-21-21)

DEAR ROY: Your music loving friend is partly accurate about Kathy Kirby, who did indeed record "You're the One," and even had a Top 20 hit in the UK in May-June of 1964.

However, her single (Decca F-11892) is a completely different song, written by Ramirez-Stellman.

The Vogues' hit "You're the One" credits the writers as Petula Clark & Tony Hatch, and Petula had their version in the UK Top 25 in November, 1965.

Meanwhile, the Vogues "You're the One" single first appeared on Blue Star (B-229) in July 1965, then Co and Ce (also B-229) took over in August ... eventually peaking on Billboard at No. 4.

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)

Osborne Enterprises
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