We answer as many questions as possible through this column. Submit questions directly by e-
Jerry Osborne. Be sure to include your city and state.
DEAR JERRY: A question I have always wondered is that some songs have a lot of repeating. Three
that come to
mind are "I Know," by Barbara George; the Zombies with the word "no" in "Tell Her No," and
Sunmertime" by the Jamies are just a few examples. So what might be the word or phrase that is the
in a song?
Thank you, I have been reading your column for years. So keep up the great work.
Arthur Levine, Stewartstown, Penn (8-26-22)
DEAR ARTHUR: I am not aware of a repeating champion, so lacking that, I will share with readers
the first hit record that
came to my mind.
Coincidentally, the tune I picked reached No. 1, and is also as short as an artist's name could be. He performed simply as "M" (Born: Robin Scott) and his chart-topper in 1979 is "Pop Muzik" (Sire 49033). Counting the number of times "Pop" is heard, is approximately 65 times.
Of course we welcome a typical 7-inch single that surpasses the pops in "Pop Muzik."
DEAR JERRY: Help! I am wracking my brain trying to recall the title and artist of a novelty 45
released sometime between 1958-1962.
I'm thinking 1961, but I don't know that for sure.
It was by a vocal group, doing a satiric rip on the musical fads of the time. It had comedic bits about the bossa nova, the cha cha cha and doo-wop ["one chord, two chords, three chords, oh baby"]. The repeating refrain being "come back, good music."
I can't find any reference to this anywhere. But I know it exists. I also know it is NOT the Four Preps. Their parody hit song, "More Money for You and Me" is very similar, but it's not the same thing. If you can tell me what group this is and where they came from, you will have saved me from having a complete mental breakdown.
Seriously, no one, and I mean NO ONE believes me about this record. Most think that I am misrenembering the Four Preps.
Mark Frazer, Phoenix, Ariz. (8-21-22)
DEAR MARK: Seeing that you avoid a mental breakdown is my mission today, and yes, I believe you.
The mysterious, humorous, singing group you seek is The Eligibles, and their 1962 single was
indeed "Come Back, Music." Just on
the flip side was "That Carmen Twist." Neither side, (Mercury 72000) was on any of the numbered
charts I know of, but a few
stations had one or both sides on their uncharted lists.
Surprisingly, even without any chart success for the Eligibles in 1962, Mercury still issued an LP titled "Mike Fright! At Vegas New Frontier" (Mercury mono 20710) and (Mercury stereo 60710). Of course the LP contains both sides of their only single.
The Eligibles had just finished at the University of Washington. The four boys were: Stan Farber; Ron Hicklin; Bob Zwirn; and "Big Ron" Rolla.
If you would like their only Mercury LP, "Mike Fright" three or four can easily be found on eBay for $10 or less.
HI THERE, JERRY: On May 19, 1963 a nearly forgotten song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach,
"Saturday Sunshine" was released on the Kapp label, and only reached No. 93 on the Billboard
charts. I remember
WBZ radio in Boston playing this song a lot in June and early July of 1963.
I always wondered who the child singer in that song was. This question has been posed on a number of Burt Bacharach boards and forums, but no one seems to have come up with a definitive answer. Whoever sang prominently on this recording seem to be shrowded in secrecy. First it was just a curiosity in 1963, but as the decades passed and I have never found the answer, now I'm dying to know. Through your numerous sources, can you discover the answer of just who this mystery child singer is?
Sam Ward, Mississauga Ontario, Canada. (7-29-22)
DEAR SAM: For those who have never seen this single (Kapp 532), the artist is credited "Burt Bacharach and His Orchestra And Chorus." Most people realize that Bacharach is not the singer. It is safe to say that the young soloist was one of the chorus, meaning I have no information about the boy.
You are correct about "Saturday Sunshine" only peaking No. 93 on Billboard, but you might like to know that it did much better on the regional charts. In fact, "Saturday Sunshine" was more successful in my area, Seattle, than anywhere else we know of.
Thought you might like to see the radio stations where "Saturday Sunshine" ranked from No. 2 to 33:
Peaked at No. 2; KJR, Seattle
Peaked at No. 5; WLIP, Kenosha
Peaked at No. 10; KPAY, Chico
Peaked at No. 24; KEWB, San Francisco
Peaked at No. 25; KLIV, San Jose
Peaked at No. 29; WHK, Cleveland
Peaked at No. 29; WGR, Buffalo
Peaked at No. 32; WHLO, Akron
Peaked at No. 33; WEBC, Duluth
DEAR JERRY: Just today (July 10th), I heard (but not watched) a TV commercial for some sort of
hotel or lodging, I think.
That part doesn't matter, it was the lengthy recording they played. I instantly recognized the voice of Dean Martin, though it was a recording I had never heard by Dino. It was mostly about relaxing, and I would like to know the source of that record, but the biggest mystery is that there was a female duet. She is not a singer of any of the women known to ever duet with Dino. If it's any clue, she had a French accent, who might have even been a Canadian.
Debi Clarke, Clinton, Conn. (7-10-22)
DEAR DEBI: I have not heard that commercial, but just your mention of "relaxing," and the French
lady dueting with Dean Martin,
tells me immediately everything about this recording.
Issued in the fall of 1955, the song is "Relax-Ay-Voo" and it was a Capitol single (F3196). The lovely French madame who duets with Dino is Line Renaud.
Here is one excellent video where you can literally relax, as well as get acquainted with Line Renaud:
Don't overlook the flip side of this record, which is "Two Sleepy People." With this track you get a great deal more of Dean and Line singing together, whereas on "Relax-Ay-Voo" they have mostly solo parts.
Here's the "Two Sleepy People" link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93Zj8dUWs60
DEAR JERRY: I heard a song on our local radio station, and I could have sworn it was Johnny
Mathis. The DJ stated it was Adam
Wade. I came home and googled Mr. Wade. I listened to his early albums, and I was incredulous at
how much he distinctively sounded
exactly like Johnny Mathis on several of his ballad songs. Orchestration, piano, background
singers, and his voice. Just stunning to me,
as I had never heard of Adam Wade.
I read that Wade released his songs a few years after Mr. Mathis began his monumental climb in the recording business. What is of curiosity to me is the wondering if, around 1960-'61, when Wade’s songs began to be played on the radio, was it perceived by the radio and fans that Wade was just a guy trying to impersonate and/or capitalize off of the Johnny Mathis sound.
Or, was Adam Wade perceived as a bright new artist that was hitting the airwaves with a great new sound, and just let the audience decide for themselves if they wanted to further his music.
I could see my Dad saying, why buy Wade’s music, when we already have Johnny Mathis albums at home.
Mike Levand, Wichita, Kansas (6-24-22)
DEAR MIKE: Since all I can contribute to this topic, is to say I knew all of Johnny Mathis' pop
singles beginning in 1957, and when
Adam Wade had several singles on the charts I never thought there was any connection to Mathis.
Unlike you, who listened to some of Adam's album tracks, I never heard any of his LPs. Wade had only three Top 10 hits, all in 1961: "Take Good Care of Her"; "The Writing on the Wall"; and "As If I lDidn't Know," and none of those caused me to associate anything to Johnny Mathis. As 1961 was my first dee-jay gig, I know I never made any mention of Johnny when playing those three hits of Adam's.
In those days we Top 40 dee-jays mostly lived on singles, and didn't really start playing LP tracks, first by Elvis and then the Beatles. Interestingly, during Wades brief hit streak (1961), Johnny Mathis had four singles that were true flops: "You Set My Heart to Music" (#107); "Jenny" (#118); "Wasn't the Summer Short" (#89); and "Maria" (#88).
DEAR JERRY: Recently on Facebook you noted that your Vinyl Village radio show (KPTZ-FM), that a
future program will be completely made up of singing duets.
What got me thinking was how many different duets, related or not. I'm sure there are numerous
combinations making up a team.
Would you mind mentioning what kind of combinations interested you?
Morgan Tyler, Jackson, Calif. (4-19-22)
DEAR MORGAN: Now get ready for an hour of great duets, including all of the common possible singers
on records (note: three of our choices are electronic duets). There will be one or more in each of
the following catagories:
Brothers (The Everly Brothers)
Sisters (Patience & Prudence McIntyre)
Brother & Sister (Nino Tempo & April Stevens)
Married Traditional Couples (Sonny & Cher)
Father & Daughter (Dean Martin & Deana Martin)
Father & Daughter (Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra)
Father & Son (Hank Williams Sr. & Hank Williams Jr.)
Mother & Daughter (The Judds)
Mother & Son (Barbra Streisand & Josh Gould)
Unrelated male & female (Wynn Stewart & Jan Howard)
Unrelated male & female (Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes)
Unrelated male & female (Paul & Paula)
Unrelated two women (Patsy Cline & Mila Mason)
Unrelated two men (Elvis Presley & Michael Buble)
Unrelated two men (Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney)
Unrelated two men (George Jones & Gene Pitney)
Unrelated two men (Sammy Davis Jr. & Dean Martin
Unrelated two men (Sammy Davis Jr. & Frank Sinatra)
This nifty Vinyl Village one hour program is scheduled for 7 pm on June 22nd. Listen via KPTZ.org anywhere worldwide.
DEAR JERRY: While listening recently to a big city C&W radio station, they said that Dolly Parton
was the first female singer to have a number one album on the Billboard Top 100 C&W survey, while
at the very same time
she had that same LP at number one on Billboard's Pop & Rock album chart.
Sherry Miller, Cleveland, Tenn. (4-15-22)
DEAR SHERRY: As a solo artist, Dolly Parton did have five number one albums. They are:
"New Harvest ... First Gathering" (1977)
"Here You Come Again" (1977)
"9 to 5 and Odd Jobs" (1981)
"Eagle When She Flies" (1991)
Just for information, Dolly sang with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, and their "Trio" was also number one (1987)
Since none of these five solo LPs were not even close to being No. 1 on the Pop chart, either the people you heard on the radio were mistaken or perhaps you just misunderstood.
Now comes the truth: the first woman singing star to have an album top both Billboard's Country
AND Pop & Rock LP surveys.
She is Jeannie C. Riley, and her monster hit was "Harper Valley P.T.A." This Plantation LP was No. 1 in 1968 for the week of September 15th to 21st on BOTH album charts.
Just one year later, the legendary Johnny Cash also topped both the C&W and the Pop album surveys. "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" (Columbia) were both No. 1 during August of 1969.
In case you're wondering if Elvis had both No. 1 Pop and Country LPs, he probably would have if it
were not that Billboard didn't publish a C&W album until January 1964.
Presley did have 11 No. 1s on the Pop charts, but just six reached No. 1s on the Country charts, from 1973 to 1977.
DEAR JERRY: For about 40 years I've heard Sam the Sham's "Wooly Bully." Yet, I still haven't a
clue as to what they are saying that it is that they don't want to be: "Let's not be???
Though this tune has gained rock classic status, I still can't find anyone who understands this mysterious line. What say you Mr. Music?
Mandy Guidry, Lowell, Mass. (8-1-21)
DEAR MANDY: I say "Let's not be L7" means "Let's not be square."
Interestingly, there was an all-female punk rock band named L7 who became popular in 1985. I once spoke with one of their founding members who indicated that they choose the name L7 for its "square" significance.
For any who fail to make the connection between L7 and square, if, using a sans-serif typeface, the leg of the "7" is joined with the "L," and a square is formed.
DEAR JERRY: With the thousands of great and not-so-great oldies resurrected for release on CD, why
is it that there is nothing available by Jerry Fuller. Surely he was more popular than hundreds of
folks who are now
available on CDs.
The song I most want is "Betty My Angel," but I can't find it, nor any of Jerry's tunes, anywhere on CD.
If, like me, you may also not know of any Jerry Fuller CDs; however, if there is any I would be grateful for the info.
Betty Crabtree, Portsmouth, Ohio (7-16-21)
DEAR BETTY: There are two Jerry Fuller CDs, though one is commercially available, so I'll start
with that one.
This 1996 CD is titled "Teenage Love - Jerry Fuller" (Collectables COL-5729). This disc has 14 tracks, four of which appeared on all three of the Top 100 charts (Billboard, Cash Box, and Music Vendor).
Those four are: "Betty My Angel"; "Tennessee Waltz"; "Shy Away"; and "Guilty of Loving You."
Here are three more that didn't appear on any of the Top 100 charts, nor are they on the CD, but each appeared on some regional surveys: "Lipstick and Rouge"; "Hollywood Star"; and "I Only Came to Dance With You."
"Teenage Love - Jerry Fuller" seems to be available online for under $10.
The other one is a promotional CD titled "Jerry Fuller Songs - 30 Years of Hits." Although there are 20 tracks spread over 30 years from 1959 to 1989 the only tune Jerry sings is "Betty My Angel." All of the other songs were written by Jerry Fuller.
Here are the other artists singing Fuller's music: Ricky Nelson; Tom Jones; Al Wilson; Reba McEntire; Gary Puckett & the Union Gap; Jacky Ward; John Conlee; Dobie Gray; John Anderson; Peabo Bryson; Freddie Hart; and Kimberly Springs.
I spotted copies of this promo disc in the $15 to $25 range.
DEAR JERRY: Hoping you made it thru the whole pandemic craziness unscathed ... slowly back to
normal again now.
Got one for you that I'm SURE has come up before ... but hoping you can shed some light on this for our "Forgotten Hits" readers.
In 1967, Peter Knight released instrumental versions of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album. And on the front cover of the U.S. Mercury LPs he ran a montage of photos of many well known dee-jays from across the country.
Has anyone you know ever been able to figure out who all these people are, and how this album came together? And what the heck was the thought process behind assembling such a cover? Obviously, another tribute to "Sgt. Pepper," but it almost seems like a promotional thing to try and get these jocks to play Knight's orchestral versions of Beatles tunes on their radio programs. Any light you can shed on this would be appreciated.
And if you happen to know how one would help to identify each face on the cover, I would love to run THAT in "Forgotten Hits."
Kent Kotal, www.forgottenhits.com (7-14-21)
DEAR KENT: I thought it would be fairly easy to find the LP online, and I was right about that
part. What was a disappointment is that none of the LP images I found were in decent condition
Even if there was someone I knew on the cover, they would not be clear enough to recognize.
Also, it did not seem that there were any listing among the liner notes on the back cover, identifying the images on the front cover. Hopefully, someone will have access to this unusual album: "Instrumental Beatles Themes From Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" by Peter Knight & His Orchestra (Mercury MG-21132/SR-61132).
DEAR JERRY: Hi, Jerry! Glad you are still functioning online!
Regarding "There was a Fungus Among Us," I have a 45 of that song by Hugh Barrett and the Victors that was given to me by my Chicago cousin back in the early '70s, she said it was a big hit in Chicago in the late '50s and since I was crazy about it, she gave it to me.
I am on vacation now so I cannot recall the label, but it was not a well known one. I recall it was cream and brownish red. I never heard of the Terry Noland version you referenced.
Keep up the good vibes!
Jim Chandler, Fraser, Mich. (7-11-21)
DEAR JIM: "There Was a Fungus Among Us" by Hugh Barrett and the Victors that came out in June 1961,
about three years after Terry Noland's
original 1958 release.
Reportedly, Terry Noland says that he wrote "There Was A Fungus Among Us" for Bobby Darin, hoping he would use it as his follow-up to "Splish-Splash." Instead, Darin chose "Early in the Morning," which was a Top 25 hit. Also noteworthy is that "Early in the Morning" was credited to "The Ding Dongs."
Your description of the Hugh Barrett and the Victors' "Fungus" is 100% accurate. Their record was Madison 164.
Your cousin was a bit off with the time (1961 not "late '50s), but she was right about it being a hit in Chicagoland, and elsewhere.
Barrett's "There Was A Fungus Among Us" made the Top 15 on WLS (Chicago); along with surveys by WJJD (Chicago); KYA (San Francisco); WGRD (Grand Rapids, Mich.); KSTT Davenport, Iowa); and WABB (Mobile, Ala.)
DEAR JERRY: Circa 1958, when I played high school football, our locker room rang out for a time
with the singing of "There Was a Fungus Among Us." It got played regularly then on the Top 40 radio
stations in central Kansas, where I was reared.
I don't believe that that song ever charted, as least I've not be able to find it. Can you help me discern correct title, artist, etc.?
Gary L. Stucky, via the Internet (6-24-21)
DEAR GARY: Terry Noland is the singer who provided your locker room with the zany "There Was a
Fungus Among Us" (Brunswick 55092). Must have been around the beginning of the '58 season when you
were suiting up, since this tune came out in August/September that year.
In the summer of 1961, the exact same record was reissued, the only change being on Coral (62274) instead of Brunswick (same company).
Both Brunswick and Coral singles can still be found, but expect to part with $50 to $75 for a near-mint copy.
Neither release of "There Was a Fungus Among Us" made either of the three national top 100 charts; however, it did appear on a few regional surveys. For example, in June 1961 "There Was a Fungus Among Us" held the number 20 position on KSTT 1140 AM, Davenport, Iowa.
It had nothing to do with fungus, but Terry Noland did have one tune that appeared on Music Vendor's Top 100. In January 1958, Noland's "Patty Baby" reached No. 81.
I should point out that there is no similarity to Freddie Cannon's 1963 "Patty Baby."
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 188.8.131.52's, a Tokyo female rockin’ 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 184.108.40.206'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:
Thank you, Stephen!
DEAR JERRY: I heard a song on KAAY AM-1090 in Little Rock, Arkansas sometime in the mid-to-late '60’s 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.”
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 didn’t 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)
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.
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