DEAR JERRY: I just noticed something odd in the Captain & Tennille's “Love Will Keep Us Together” that I never noticed in over 30 years of hearing the song.
Near the end, as the music begins fading, Toni Tennille kind of half-sings and half-speaks something that sounds to me like “my daddy is bad,” or my daddy is back.”
She seems to be off-mike, which, coupled with the relative volume of the music, makes it difficult to decipher.
What is she saying? Could this just be an inside joke between Toni and the Captain?
—Darcy Garza, Hampton Roads, Va.
DEAR DARCY: It could be, but it isn't.
Toni's mysterious line, in the coda about 15 seconds before the audio ends, is an acknowledgment to the writer of “Love Will Keep Us Together,” the legendary Neil Sedaka.
After 11 years without a Top 40 hit, Neil stormed back in late 1974 and '75 with the No. 1 hits, “Laughter in the Rain” and “Bad Blood,” along with writing “Love Will Keep Us Together,” also a No. 1.
That is why, near the end of the track, Toni proudly declares “Sedaka is back!”
Coincidentally, Neil is set to make yet another return. Read on:
DEAR JERRY: Years ago, you wrote about what a surprise it was that Neil Sedaka's “Same Old Fool,” a traditional country song, came out in 1960 right in the midst of all those huge teener hits: “Oh Carol”; “Calendar Girl”; “Little Devil”; “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,” “Stairway to Heaven;” etc.
When I finally found this single, oddly enough on the flip side of “Calendar Girl,” I couldn't believe how very country it is, complete with Nashville twang and a steel guitar.
Is there another hit song that surprised you more, in terms of being something you would never imagine being recording by that particular artist? For me, “The Same Old Fool” is the biggest shocker?
—Ronnie Whitcomb, Dallas, Texas
DEAR RONNIE: Only because I have yet to hear a Led Zeppelin remake of “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” my most memorable surprise in this category came when I first heard the Mills Brothers cover record of “Get a Job” (Dot 15695).
Issued in mid-January 1958, with the Silhouettes' waxing already in the Top 10 and headed for No. 1, the Mills Brothers stood no chance of overtaking the original.
This unanticipated song choice, their first release for Dot after 26 years with Brunswick and Decca, still managed to spend a couple of weeks in the Top 25 tunes, according to disc jockeys.
For those who haven't heard the short-lived doo-wop side of the Mills Brothers — likely about 99% of readers — their version is nearly identical to the Silhouettes, right down to all the yip-yip-yips and mum-mum-mums.
IZ ZAT SO? From “Tiger Rag” (1931) to “The Jimtown Road” (1969) the Mills Brothers chalked up over 70 hit records — an impressive output made even more so by the 38-year span covered, the most ever by any Pre-Rock Era vocal group. No other groups are even close.
One novelty part of their act was surprising listeners who thought the boys were accompanied by a guitar, trumpet, saxophone, and string bass. Those folks would later discover the only real instrument to be a single acoustic guitar, with all those other sounds convincingly produced vocally by the brothers.
Not many singers were so well-equipped to subsist during a musician's strike.
For the non believers, each of the Mills Brothers 78s on Brunswick prominently displayed this statement on the label: “No musical instruments or mechanical devices used on this recording other than one guitar.”
Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.
Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Visit his Web site: www.jerryosborne.com
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Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission