Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Day The Music Died

Written By Robert Benson

The day is immortalized in the legendary Don McLean song “American Pie.” It was a day that saddened music lovers all over the world and shocked the music industry. It was the day the music died.

We are of course referring to the plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa, that claimed the lives of rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The crash, which occurred on February 3, 1959, is now fifty years old. Let’s explore some of the details of “the day the music died.”

The Winter Dance Party began at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 23, 1959. It featured the aforementioned stars, Dion Dimucci as well as an aspiring teen idol named Frankie Sardou. The tour was set to cover twenty-four Midwestern cities in a span of three weeks. The tour was a logistical nightmare with the amount of travel that was required. Adding to this problem was a tour bus that was ill-equipped to deal with the weather conditions in that part of the country; its heating system broke down shortly after the tour began. In fact, one musician, drummer Carl Bunch, developed a severe case of frostbite to his feet that required hospitalization (Holly and Valens took turns on the drums). It got so cold on the bus that the musicians started burning newspapers in the aisle in a desperate attempt to keep warm.

What’s interesting is that the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake was not intended to be a stop on the tour, but the promoters, hoping to fill an open date, contacted the manager of the establishment and offered him the show. He accepted and the date was set for February 2nd.

However, Holly was so frustrated and tired of the malfunctioning tour bus that he told his fellow musicians that, once the show was over, they should attempt to charter a plane to get to the next stop on the tour; which was Moorhead, Minnesota. So flight arrangements were made with Roger Peterson, who was a local pilot employed at Dwyer Flying Service, based in Mason City, Iowa. The fee was $36 per passenger and the single-engine plane could seat three musicians in addition to the pilot.

But there was a dilemma, who would fly and who would get to the next destination via the tour bus?

Obviously, Holly and the pilot were aboard which left two seats open. Dion was approached to buy a seat, but he thought that the price of $36 was way too much. He recalled his parents arguing about the rent, which coincidently was $36 per month and he could not bring himself to pay an entire month’s rent for a short plane ride.

J.P. Richardson had come down with a bout of the flu and asked one of Holly’s band mates, Waylon Jennings, for his seat on the plane and Jennings gave up his seat. Ritchie Valens, who was also feeling the effects of the freezing tour bus, asked Holly’s other band mate Tommy All sup for his seat. Allsup replied that he would flip a coin, with the winner getting the last seat on the plane. Now, contrary to what has been depicted in the biographical movies, the coin toss was not done by Holly; nor did it occur at the airport. The coin toss occurred at the Ballroom shortly before they departed for the airport and was actually done by a DJ who was working the concert that night.

The plane took off at 1 a.m. on February 3, 1959 from Mason City Municipal Airport. Approximately 1:05 a.m., Jerry Dwyer, owner of Dwyer Flying Service could see the lights of the plane start to descend from the sky to the ground. The pilot was supposed to file his flight plan once airborne, but he never contacted the tower. By 3:30 a.m., after multiple attempts to contact his pilot and the fact that the airport in Fargo, Minnesota had not heard from Peterson, Dwyer contacted the authorities to report the plane missing.

The doomed aircraft had just made it a few miles from the airport. The pilot (who was not certified to fly at night) may have been confused by the darkness and the light snow that was falling. The plane hit the ground nose first at an estimated 150mph killing all four men instantly.

Crash Site Photo

Let's Learn More:

In 1976, when the first Buddy Holly Week was held, Paul McCartney was presented with the cuff links Buddy Holly wore the night of the crash. McCartney purchased the rights to Holly’s song publishing and began organizing the annual celebration five years later.

On February 29, 1980, an old police file containing Buddy Holly’s horn rimmed glasses and a watch owned by J. P. Richardson were located by the Mason City Sheriff. The items were recovered at the crash site.

In the 2000 film Almost Famous, the band's plane is caught in bad weather, at which point one of the band members begins to sing the Buddy Holly song "Peggy Sue.”

Deciding that the show must go on at the next stop, Moorhead, MN, they looked for local talent to fill in. Just across the state line from Moorhead, in Fargo ND, they found a 15 year old talent named Bobby Vee.

The crash that ended the lives of Holly, Valens, and Richardson was the break that began the career of Vee.

Tommy Allsup would one day open a club named "The Head's Up Saloon," a tribute to the coin toss that saved his life.

Waylon Jennings would become a hugely popular Country singer.

Dion DiMucci would enjoy a long lived solo career.

Inscribed on Ritchie Valens' grave are the words, "Come On, Let's Go."

Ritchie Valens:

Valens was a pioneer of Chicano rock, Latin rock and was an inspiration to many musicians of Latino heritage. He influenced the likes of Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Carlos Santana among countless others at a time when there were very few Latinos in American rock and pop music. He is considered the first Latino to ever successfully cross over into Rock mainstream.

"La Bamba" would prove to be his most influential recording; not only by becoming a pop chart hit sung entirely in Spanish but also because of its successful blending of traditional Latin American music with rock. He was a pioneer and was an inspiration for many after his tragic death. Valens was the first to capitalize on this formula which would later be adopted by such varied artists as Selena, Caifanes, Cafe Tacuba, Circo, El Gran Silencio, Aterciopelados, Gustavo Santaolalla, and many others in the Latin Alternative scene.

Ironically, the Valenzuela family spoke only English at home, and Ritchie knew very little Spanish. Ritchie learned the lyrics of "La Bamba" phonetically in order to record the song in Spanish.

"Come on Let's Go" has been covered by Los Lobos, The Ramones and "The Paley Brothers”; (jointly, The Ramones on guitar, bass, and drums and The Paley Brothers on vocals), Tommy Steele, The Huntingtons and The McCoys.

"Donna" has been covered by artists as diverse as MxPx, Cliff Richard, The Youngbloods, Clem Snide, Cappadonna, and The Misfits among many others.

Robert Quine has cited Valens' guitar playing as an early influence on his style.

Donna Ludwig, Ritchie's girlfriend, is today still recognized as "Ritchie's Donna.” Her personalized license plate reads "ODONNA.”

Ritchie's nephew, Ernie Valens, has toured worldwide playing his uncle's songs, including a new version of the "Winter Dance Party" tour with Buddy Holly impersonator John Mueller. This tour has taken place at many of the original 1959 venues in the Midwest.

Valens also appeared in biopic films. Valens was depicted in the 1987 biopic film La Bamba, which was about his life. The film's time period was from 1957 to 1959, in which his age was 16 to 17. It introduced Lou Diamond Phillips as Valens and co-starred Esai Morales as his older half-brother, Bob Morales. Los Lobos performed most of the music in the film.

Valens was portrayed by Gilbert Melgar in the final scene of The Buddy Holly Story and Valens will also be depicted in the upcoming 2009 film The Day the Music Died. Valens will be portrayed by Joseph Thornhillas in the 2009 film Lives and Deaths of the Poet.

Big Bopper:

Richardson's son, Jay Richardson, took up a musical career and is known professionally as "The Big Bopper, Jr." He has performed all around the world. Notably, he has toured on the "Winter Dance Party" tour with Buddy Holly impersonator John Mueller on some of the same stages as his father performed.

In January 2007, Richardson's son Jay requested that his father's body be exhumed and an autopsy be performed to settle the rumors that a gun was fired or that Richardson initially survived the crash. The autopsy was performed by Dr. Bill Bass, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Jay was present with Dr. Bass throughout the entire autopsy and observed as the casket was opened; both men were surprised to find the remains well enough preserved to be recognizable as those of the late rock star. "Dad still amazes me 48 years after his death, that he was in remarkable shape," Richardson told the Associated Press. "I surprised myself. I handled it better than I thought I would."

Dr. Bass' findings indicated there were no signs of foul play. He was quoted as saying "There are fractures from head to toe. Massive fractures. ... (Richardson) died immediately. He didn't crawl away. He didn't walk away from the plane."

After the autopsy, Richardson's body was placed in a new casket made by the same company as the original, then was reburied next to his wife in Beaumont's Forest Lawn Cemetery. Jay then allowed the old casket to be put on display at the Texas Musician's Museum.

In December 2008, Jay Richardson announced that he would be placing the old casket up for auction on eBay. The Texas Musician's Museum will receive a share of the profits.

Buddy Holly:

Contrary to popular belief, teenagers John Lennon and Paul McCartney did not attend a Holly concert, although they watched his TV appearance on "Sunday Night at the London Palladium"; Tony Bramwell, a school friend of McCartney and George Harrison, did. Keith Richards attended one of the gigs, where he heard "Not Fade Away" for the first time. Bramwell met Holly, and freely shared his records with all three.

Lennon and McCartney later cited Holly as a primary influence. (Their band's name, The Beatles, was chosen partly in homage to Holly's Crickets.) The Beatles did a cover version of "Words of Love" that was a close reproduction of Holly's version. McCartney owns the publishing rights to Holly's song catalogue.

A young Bob Dylan attended the January 31, 1959 show, two nights before Holly's death. Dylan referred to this in his 1998 Grammy acceptance speech for his 1997 Time out of Mind winning Album of the Year.

Various rock and roll histories have asserted that the singing group The Hollies were named in homage to Buddy Holly. According to the band's website, although the group admired Holly (and years later produced an album covering some of his songs), their name was inspired primarily by the sprigs of holly in evidence around Christmas of 1962.

After the death of Buddy he would leave a trail of followers from Bob Dylan, to Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, and The Beatles. Also, one of The Rolling Stones early hits was a cover of "Not Fade Away.”

Eddie Cochran, good friend and fellow rock 'n' roll pioneer was so distraught by the deaths of Holly, Valens, and The Big Bopper that he recorded the song "Three Stars" as a tribute. The song was not released until after Cochran's own premature death, because he was too upset to allow it to be issued in his lifetime.

The Smithereens' song "Maria Elena" is a Buddy Holly tribute as sung to his widow.

Blink-182 has a song named "Peggy Sue" which is a tribute to Holly.

Phil Ochs famously sang a long tribute to Buddy Holly on the infamous Gunfight at Carnegie Hall album.

Mike Berry released a 1961 single called "Tribute to Buddy Holly.” It was written by Geoff Goddard and produced by Joe Meek, who was a great Buddy Holly fan. In the USA, it was released on Coral, Buddy Holly's label.

Weezer's self-titled debut album features the band's popular single "Buddy Holly.”

Musician Albert Hammond, Jr. has a cover of "Well... Alright" on his 2007 album Yours To Keep.

Run-DMC's music video for the song "King of Rock" has an extended video on Buddy Holly performing on The Ed Sullivan Show

Don McLean's popular 1971 ballad "American Pie" is inspired by the day of the plane crash. He has also covered "Everyday.”


(What the song is talkin' about!)
By Rich Kulawiec

The entire song is a tribute to Buddy Holly and a commentary on how rock and roll changed in the years since his death. McLean seems to be lamenting the lack of "danceable" music in rock and roll and (in part) attributing that lack to the absence of Buddy Holly et. al. (Verse 1)

A long, long time ago...

"American Pie" reached #1 in the US in 1972, but the album containing it was released in 1971. Buddy Holly died in 1959.

I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance,
That I could make those people dance,
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

One of early rock and roll's functions was to provide dance music for various social events. McLean recalls his desire to become a musician playing that sort of music.

But February made me shiver,

Buddy Holly died on February 3, 1959 in a plane crash in Iowa during a snowstorm. The news came to most of the world on the morning of February 3, which is why it's known as The Day The Music Died.

With every paper I'd deliver,

Don McLean's only job besides being a full-time singer-songwriter was being a paperboy.

Bad news on the doorstep...
I couldn't take one more step.
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride

Holly's recent bride, Maria Elena, was pregnant when the crash took place; she had a miscarriage shortly afterward.

But something touched me deep inside,
The day the music died.

The same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly also took the lives of Richie Valens ("La Bamba") and The Big Bopper ("Chantilly Lace"). Since all three were so prominent at the time, February 3, 1959 became known as "The Day The Music dies”.

So... (Refrain)
Bye bye Miss American Pie,

Miss American Pie *is* rock and roll music. Don McLean dated a Miss America candidate during the pageant. (unconfirmed)

Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singing "This'll be the day that I die,
This'll be the day that I die."

One of Holly's hits was "That'll be the Day"; the chorus contains the line "That'll be the day that I die"


Here are a few record prices for these three legends. As always, the prices are obtained from Jerry Osborne’s “Rockin Records” Price Guide (for your own record price guide, visit Jerry at

Buddy Holly

Singles: 78 rpm

CORAL (61852 "Words of Love") $400-500 1957

CORAL (61885 "Peggy Sue") $400-600 1957

CORAL (62006 "Early in the Morning") $600-800 1958

CORAL (62051 "Heartbeat") $600-800 1958

DECCA (30166 "Modern Don Juan") $500-600 1956

DECCA (30434 "That'll Be theDay") $500-600 1957

DECCA (30543 "Love Me") $500-600 1958

DECCA (30650 "Ting-A-Ling") $500-600 1958

Promotional LPs

DECCA (8707 "That'll Be the Day") $1000-1500 1958

(Pink label.)

LPs: 10/12–inch

BRUNSWICK (54038 "The Chirping Crickets") $800-1200 1957

Ritchie Valens

Singles: 78 rpm

APEX (76402 "Donna") $100-200 1958


APEX (76472 "That's My Little Susie") $200-300 1959


LPs: 10/12–inch

DEL-FI (1206 "Ritchie") $300-400 1959

DEL-FI (1214 "Ritchie Valens in Concert at Pacoima Jr. High") $300-400 1961

Big Bopper

Singles: 7–inch

D (1008 "Chantilly Lace") $150-200 1958

LPs: 10/12–inch

MERCURY (20402 "Chantilly Lace") $250-300 1959

(Black label.)

MERCURY (20402 "Chantilly Lace") $550-650 1959

(White or pink label. Promotional issue only.)

MERCURY (20402 "Chantilly Lace") $75-100 1964

(Red label.)





Music News & Vinyl Record Notes

Eagles Announce West Coast Tour

The Eagles have mapped a few additional West Coast dates that will follow their upcoming three-night engagement at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles this spring.

After tackling the April 16, April 17 and April 20 LA shows - the band's first-ever performances in the legendary venue - the group heads to Phoenix for an April 21 appearances, then back to California for concerts in Anaheim (4/25), Sacramento (4/27) and San Jose (4/30), before closing out the run May 9 in Vancouver. Dates are shown below:

04/16 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
04/17 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
04/20 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
04/21 - Phoenix, AZ - US Airways Arena
04/25 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
04/27 - Sacramento, CA - ARCO Arena
04/30 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
05/09 - Vancouver, British Columbia - GM Place

The new shows all go on sale to the public February 8, with the exception of the Vancouver date, which becomes available beginning next Monday (2/1). Tickets will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone (800.745.3000) or online at

During the run, the band will continue to support 2007's "Long Road Out Of Eden," which was the group's first new studio album since 1979's "The Long Run."


Mark Ronson recruits Santigold, Scissor Sisters for new album

Singer/producer to release 'The Business' later this year

Mark Ronson has revealed that he has collaborated with Santigold, Scissor Sisters, Cathy Dennis, rapper Pill and Miike Snow for his forthcoming new album, 'The Business'.

The singer/producer told NME.COM that he hoped to release the album, the follow-up to his 2007 hit 'Version', this spring or summer. He also said that unlike 'Version', which featured covers of songs by Kaiser Chiefs and Coldplay among others, all the songs will be original. Despite having a no cover version policy this time, Ronson explained that he had been writing new material with some of his previous collaborators.

"There's no covers, and no horns," he explained. "It's written with some of the people that actually wrote the songs I covered on the last album and that I didn't actually even know at the time.

"It's quite interesting to write songs from scratch with those people, like Dave [McCabe of The Zutons] who wrote 'Valerie', and Nick [Hodgson, of Kaiser Chiefs].

He said the album would be released "probably May, June depends how quick I can get it done."


BOSTON's TOM SCHOLZ Says 'Impostor' Tried To Impersonate Him For A Solo Show

According to The Pulse of Radio, BOSTON guitarist Tom Scholz is up in arms over an "impostor" who tried to impersonate him for a planned solo show for $5,000. Scholz said in a statement that make no mistake — neither he nor BOSTON will be playing any dates in 2010.

"The most upsetting part of this is knowing your name has been used to swindle people out of their hard-earned money," he said. "Over the last few years, I've seen countless examples of con artists trying to make deals, pass themselves off, or sell tickets to unsuspecting fans by using the name BOSTON but this is the first time I've seen someone actually use my personal name as a come-on."

He went on to say: "If anyone has doubts about an advertised appearance by BOSTON, or anyone claiming to be performing as a part of BOSTON, they should check our website,, or contact Agency For The Performing Arts, or our publicist, Gail Parenteau."


THE OCEAN: New Album Details Revealed

THE OCEAN's upcoming albums are going to be entitled "Heliocentric" and "Anthropocentric". They are due for April and October 2010 releases.

The concept at the base of both albums is a critique of Christianity from different philosophical and personal angles.

While the songs, art and lyrics of "Heliocentric" tell the story of the rise of the heliocentric world view and its effects on Christian belief from medieval times to Darwin and Dawkins, "Anthropocentric" challenges the views of creationists and other modern fundamentalists who still believe that the earth is at the center of the universe.

Musically, "Heliocentric" covers the largest range of dynamics and styles to date: "There are a few really calm songs with mainly piano and vocals, as well as some crushing heavy tunes. There is a very special atmosphere to it that pervades the album," comments guitarist Jonathan Nido.

"Our new vocalist, Loic Rossetti, has immensely widenened the musical spectrum of this band and there are some songs on the album that even those people who have conceived of this band as being unpredictable and daring would have never imagined," adds Robin Staps. "But this is exactly what makes it a 150% THE OCEAN album".

"Heliocentric" continues where the Proterozoic half of the "Precambrian" album left off, with dense, epic songs and big orchestrations. "Anthropocentric" is going to be a bit more straightforward rocking and technical, whilst tapping the full dynamic range from acoustic pieces to eclectic heaviness as well.

The albums were mainly recorded in the mountainous isolation of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the highest city of Europe. The band decided to record and mix the album with the band's house sound engineer Julien Fehlmann. "We wanted to be in control of every single detail, and we have an amazing studio at hand here." the group explains. "Soundwise this is by far the best-sounding album we have done to date".

The lyrics and snippets of every song of the album can be previewed at:


Shirley Manson hints at new Garbage album

Manson hints that band have been in the studio recently

Shirley Manson has hinted that her band Garbage are to release new material soon, with the singer implying that the band have been in the studio together recently.

Manson dropped the hint in a message to fans posted on her Facebook page after the Grammy awards yesterday (February 1).

Although she didn't explicitly say they band were recording together again, she did allude to bandmates Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig, the last of whom was celebrating Green Day's '21st Century Breakdown' (which he co-produced) picking up the Grammy for Best Rock Album.

"Guess who I just spent a week in the studio with?" Manson wrote, before adding, "Would you be pleased if I said one of them was called Steve and one of them was called Duke and another was a Grammy-winning producer?"

Garbage's last studio album, 'Bleed Like Me', was released in 2005.


SLAYER, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT Announce New Dates For 'American Carnage' Tour

SLAYER and MEGADETH are thrilled to announce the new, confirmed routing for the "American Carnage" North American Tour, which will commence with the rescheduled "Canadian Carnage East" dates in Quebec City on Friday, July 23. SLAYER will then head to Europe for a run of festival dates, returning to kick off the "American Carnage" leg in Albany, NY on August 11.

"American Carnage" will play 26 dates across the United States and Eastern Canada up to the Labor Day weekend, ending in Portland, Oregon on September 4. TESTAMENT will be special guest on all shows. Tickets purchased for the "American Carnage" shows when they first went on sale late last year will be honored for these rescheduled dates.

Due to venue availability and other conflicts, the shows originally scheduled in El Paso, Houston, Nashville, Duluth, and Louisville cannot be rescheduled at this time, and ticket holders may obtain refunds at point of purchase. However, new cities have been added to the "American Carnage" itinerary, with dates now scheduled in Cleveland, Kansas City, San Diego, and Sacramento. The confirmed, complete itinerary is below.

The "American Carnage" tour, originally scheduled to take place in January and February, had to be put on hold due to SLAYER's vocalist/bassist Tom Araya's ongoing, minimally-invasive treatments for what was diagnosed as a cervical radiculopathy, an occupational hazard for the rocker who is known for aggressively swinging his long mane of hair while performing. Right after the first of the year, Araya made the difficult decision to undergo a surgical procedure, called an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion, a relatively routine practice with an excellent recovery rate. That surgery took place early last week.

"The doctors said that Tom's surgery went very smoothly and was a resounding success," said Rick Sales, longtime SLAYER manager. "He's home now, doing really well, and he said the numbness in his fingers had already diminished considerably."

Shortly after the surgery, SLAYER's Kerry King received a text from Tom: "Awake and feeling good, actually whatever he did, it feels better."

The "American Carnage" tour will mark the first time that SLAYER, MEGADETH and TESTAMENT will have toured the U.S. together since 1991's epic "Clash of the Titans" tour, making this truly a "must-see" event.

SLAYER recently announced the rescheduling of its headline tour in Europe, and MEGADETH and TESTAMENT are currently on tour together playing U.S. cities that will not be on the "American Carnage" itinerary.

"American Carnage" North American tour dates:

Jul. 23 - Pavillon de la Jeunesse, Quebec City, QC CANADA
Jul. 24 - Heavy MTL, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, QC CANADA
Jul. 26 - Metro Centre, Halifax, NS CANADA
Jul. 27 - Moncton Coliseum, Moncton, NB CANADA
Jul. 29 - Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, ONT CANADA
Jul. 30 - John Labatt Centre Center, London, ONT CANADA
Aug. 11 - Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY
Aug. 12 - Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ
Aug. 14 - Tsongas Arena, Boston, MA
Aug. 15 - Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
Aug. 16 - Chevrolet Theatre, Wallingford, CT
Aug. 18 - Tower City Amphitheatre, Cleveland, OH
Aug. 19 - Joe Louis Arena, Detroit,MI
Aug. 20 - UIC Pavillon, Chicago, IL
Aug. 21 - Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Minneapolis, MN
Aug. 23 - Cap Fed Park @Sandstone, Kansas City, KS
Aug. 25 - Magness Arena, Denver, CO
Aug. 26 - Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, NM
Aug. 27 - Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
Aug. 29 - Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, San Diego, CA
Aug. 30 - Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA
Aug. 31 - Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA
Sep. 01 - Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
Sep. 03 - Wamu Theatre, Seattle, WA
Sep. 04 - Washington County Fairgrounds, Portland, OR


Classic 'Afro-Rock' Compilation to be Re-Released

If ever something should be called crate digging, it's the first 'Afro-Rock' compilation on Kona Records.

The release that helped spark the last decade's fascination with Afrobeat will be reissued by Strut this month. The compilation, originally released in 2001, showcased lesser players in the continent-wide interest in Western styles of music and the great fusion of styles that followed.

Indeed, before Duncan Booker (Kona Records) began his search for rare and out of print vinyl, the liner notes assert that most of the tracks hadn't "been heard outside of Africa," and that they weren't necessarily heard on that continent much either, having been recovered from dusty, "remote" corners of the continent off of utterly worn and heavily-used vinyl and master copies.

With tracks from Sierra Leone's Geraldo Pino, Kenya's Steele Beautttah, and rarities from Zaire (including a 12-minute groove called "Yuda" by Dackin Dakino), there's a clear effort to present the volume as a pan-continental representation of the great African funk/rock fusion experiments of the 1970s.

Lookout for three extra tracks on this release previously not available on the Japanese release, including an untitled piece by Ishmael Jingo.

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne

I am continuing our feature: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 24th year of syndication (1986-2010), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on. Be sure to stop by Jerry's site ( for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


DEAR JERRY: When I hear Tchaikovsky's beautiful “6th Symphony,” also known as “Pathetique,” the melody gets me wracking my brain trying to come up with the lyrics that have been added to this music.

A friend told me you often resolve these type mysteries, so now I'm hopeful Tchaikovsky will stop tormenting me.
—Claudia Gruber, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR CLAUDIA: Stopping the torment by NOT listening to Tchaikovsky's “Pathetique” may be the only other option, so take comfort knowing you made the right choice.

Peter Tchaikovsky completed “Pathetique,” his sixth, final, and most famous symphony, just nine days before his death (November 6, 1893).

“Pathetique” is an hour-long symphony in four movements: 1) Adagio - Allegro non Troppo; 2) Allegro con Grazia; 3) Allegro Molto Vivace; and 4) Finale - Adagio Lamentoso.

The first theme of the first movement runs about four minutes and, after a brief pause, the second theme begins and also runs about four minutes. It is this second theme providing the music for three hit songs, all of which are lyrically very different.

First came “The Story of a Starry Night,” a 1942 hit for Glenn Miller and His Orchestra with vocal by Ray Eberly. This Top 15 single (Bluebird 11462) is the only charted version of “The Story of a Starry Night,” though many other recordings of it followed.

A few among those are versions by Ronnie Aldrich; Ray Anthony; Jackie Gleason; Robert Goulet; Hal McIntyre's Orchestra (Featuring Carl Denny); Jim Nabors; Della Reese; Jerry Vale; the Vibrations, and Danny Williams. There's even a 2007 recording, true to the original and beautifully performed by Filipino superstar, Amapola.

Another marvelous adaptation of the same “6th Symphony” segment, titled simply “Where,” became a summer 1959 hit by Tony Williams and the Platters.

“The Story of a Starry Night,” a 1966 single by the Vibrations, is most unusual in that its title places it with the “Starry Night” group, yet its lyrics do not. It is instead very similar to “Where.”

Next on the scene came “In Time,” one side of a double-sided hit in 1961 for Steve Lawrence. The flip, “My Claire De Lune,” is also based on the classic “Suite Bergamesque,” composed by Claude Debussy.

DEAR JERRY: In the 1950s movie “The Racers,” starring Kirk Douglas, the theme song is by Peggy Lee, titled “I Belong to You.”

Did Peggy Lee ever release this song on a record?
—Dan Goris, Erieville, N.Y.

DEAR DAN: Written especially for “The Racers,” with lyrics by Jack Brooks and music by Alex North, Peggy recorded “I Belong to You” January 19, 1955 for Decca Records.

About a month later (February 21) a single came out (Decca 29429) on both 45 and 78 rpm.

This single came at the same time as Peggy's legendary film-song connection, providing the voices of the Siamese cats in the Disney classic, “The Lady and the Tramp.” Peggy's single release immediately preceding “I Belong to You,” is “The Siamese Cat Song” (Decca 29427) from that film.

Peggy, along with Sonny Burke, wrote this and the five other songs in “The Lady and the Tramp,” including the beautiful “Bella Notte.”

Until 2003, “I Belong to You” could not be found on CD. That year, “Peggy Lee - Love Songs” came out (Universal, 0881131002) with that selection among its 14 tracks.

IZ ZAT SO? When it comes to composing, writing the lyrics of “The Lady and the Tramp” soundtrack is but a drop in the bucket for Peggy Lee — easily the most popular singer-songwriter of the pre-Rock Era.

Of all that period's top pop singers, no one wrote more of their own hits, as well as ones for numerous other performers. Peggy is also the first woman to write her own Top 10 hit, “I Don't Know Enough About You” (1946), and first to write and sing her own No. 1 hit, “MaƱana (Is Soon Enough for Me) (1948).”

Between 1941 and 1986, Peggy composed and published nearly 200 songs.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368, e-mail:, or visit his Web site: All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2010 Osbourne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Vinyl Record Talk Premieres February 9th 4pm PT / 7pm ET

This from my friends over at


It's still Norm, Jane and Randy, and its still nostalgic, and accidents will be forthcoming.

Join us for Vinyl Record Talk where we'll still be turning you on to rare pieces of vinyl, bringing you the weekly eBay Top Five rare records, and music news.

This February 9th our guest will be rock critic Gail Worley (, writer for Modern Drummer magazine. Gail is currently working on a book with founding member of Alice Cooper, Neil Smith.