Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A couple of years ago, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

I was so surprised that Connie Francis and Neil Diamond were not inducted that I wrote them a letter, which they never answered.

How do you feel about this situation? Maybe you can put something in your column about it.
—Fred C. Nelson, Milwaukee

DEAR FRED: You have no idea how many times this topic has been thrashed about in this feature.

We have gotten countless letters over the years, expressing pretty much the same frustration as you, though most with a great deal more rage.

You can bet your unanswered letter to them is but one among many. It's hard to imagine what answer they could possibly come up with to justify inducting dozens of lesser qualified artists while ignoring some true superstars, such as the two you ask about.

Percy Sledge (five Top 40 hits) and Patti Smith (one Top 40 hit) inducted ahead of Connie Francis (35 Top 40 hits) and Neil Diamond (37 Top 40 hits)? Are you kidding me?

Pick any criteria: number of hit singles; albums; total sales; worldwide impact;, years performing; idol factor; etc., etc, there is still no comparison. No contest.

Since this goes far beyond ignorance it must be political, but I have given up trying to make any sense of it. Many in the industry feel the R&R Hall's credibility is nil because of such lunacy. I even hear from people who root against Cleveland's sports teams because of this issue, a tactic that strangely enough seems to be working quite well.

You will be pleased to know both Connie Francis and Neil Diamond are among the charter batch of 2007 inductees in the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, where the choices are made by votes from general public, who, in this case, are infinitely more informed than the RRHOF.

Finally, here is a note I received to one of my columns in 2004 on this touchy topic, sent by an equally mystified and frustrated Floridian:

DEAR JERRY: Thanks so much for the kind words and support in your column. I trust you got the cassette I sent of some songs for a new album.

As for the R&R Hall of Fame, I'm as much in the dark as you are.

—Connie Francis, Parkland, Fla.

DEAR CONNIE: Grrrrrrrrrrrr! Just thinking about this again makes me growl. (I did get the tape, and love it. Thanks!)

We best move on to something else ... like a nice pre-Bread story:

DEAR JERRY: Readers in general, and especially the person who wrote about the early David Gates record, “Jo-Baby,” may enjoy knowing it also came out on a small Baltimore label, Rescue Records. Oddly though, it was released under the names “Jennie & Jay.”

I found it on a record hunt while working for a Washington D.C. radio station.
—Bob O'Brien, WYUU-FM, Tampa Bay, Fla.

DEAR BOB: This hyphenless “Jo Baby” (Rescue 102) came out in 1962, five years after the original Gates issue.

Made for a tiny label in Tulsa (Perspective 500), this 1957 single credits “The Accents (Vocal By David Gates).”

One year later, the same “Jo-Baby” resurfaced on a Nashville label (Robbins 1008), this time by “Dave Gates & the Accents.”

Both the Perspective and Robbins singles have “Lovin' At Night” as the flip side. David was just 16 when he recorded these two songs.

By just looking at the Rescue label, which reads “Jo Baby (David Gates), Jennie and Jay, (Arranged & Conducted by Jack Gale),” one might assume Gates is either “Jay,” or is somehow involved with this track. However, his name on the label is merely an indication that he wrote the song — for Jo Rita, his high school sweetheart whom he later married.

Also of interest, the Rescue single is not even the first recording of “Jo Baby” by Jennie and Jay. Their first single of David's beautiful ballad came out in 1959 (Town 1963), a follow-up to “Ruthie” (Jay Wing 5803). Jennie and Jay is a pseudonym for Patricia and Joe Ritter, a sister-brother duo from the Baltimore area.

As for Jack Gale, while working as a dee jay at WITH-AM, he discovered the Ritters and got them into the studio in 1958 to record “Ruthie,” then again to make “Jo Baby.”

IZ ZAT SO? Between 1957 and '60, David Gates made five records, all of which are now in the $150 to $350 range.

Except the two issues of “Jo-Baby” mentioned above, they are credited to David Gates: “Jo-Baby” (Perspective 500); “Jo-Baby” (Robbins 1008); “Walkin' and Talkin'” (East West 123); “Kiss and Tell” (Jads 301); and “You'll Be My Baby” (Mala 413).

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.  Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368  E-mail:

Visit his Web site: 

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.
Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

This Date In Music History - May 26


Ray Ennis - Swinging Blue Jeans (1942)

Levon Helm - The Band (1943)

Verden Allen - Mott The Hoople (1945)

Gary Peterson - Guess Who (1945)

Stevie Nicks - Fleetwood Mac (1948)

Hank Williams Jr. (1949)

Dave Robbins - Blackhawk (1959)

Wayne Hussey - Mission (1959)

Lenny Kravitz (1964)

Phillip Rhodes - Gin Blossoms (1968)

Joey Kibble - Take 6 (1971)

Alan White - Oasis (1972)

Jaheim Hoagland (aka Jaheim) (1978)

Isaac Slade - Fray (1981)

They Are Missed:

Born on this day in 1904, George Formby, UK singing comedian and ukulele player. He made over 20 films and his best-known song is "Leaning On A Lamp Post." He was made an OBE in 1946, and died on March 6, 1961. Formby also influenced George Harrison, among others.

In 1968, blues artist Little Willie John died in prison after being convicted of manslaughter. Co-wrote and was the first to record the song "Fever" (covered by Peggy Lee in 1958). James Brown recorded a tribute album 'Thinking Of Little Willie John... And A Few Other Nice Things.'

Billy Powell, singer with The O'Jays, died of cancer in 1977. Originally known as The Triumphs, and then The Mascots, they took the name 'The O'Jays,' in tribute to radio disc jockey Eddie O'Jay.

Born today in 1949, Mick Ronson, guitarist, producer, member of The Rats, then worked with David Bowie. Also worked with Mott The Hoople, Bob Dylan, Ian Hunter. Ronson died on April 28, 1993.

Peggy Lee (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002)


In 1953, Elvis Presley hitchhiked to Meridian, Mississippi to perform in the first Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Talent Show (he took second place).

Acker Bilk went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1962 with "Stranger On The Shore."

Elvis Presley recorded the classic cut "(You're) The Devil In Disguise" in 1963.

In 1964, Marianne Faithful recorded the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards song "As Tears Go By," accompanied by future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page on guitar and John Paul Jones on bass.

The Beatles recorded ‘Yellow Submarine’ at Abbey Road studios in London in 1966. Recovering from a case of food poisoning, producer George Martin missed this recording, EMI engineer Geoff Emerick worked on the session.

In 1969, John and Yoko began an eight-day 'bed in', in room 1742 of The Hotel La Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Canada, to promote world peace. They recorded "Give Peace a Chance" in the hotel room (Petula Clark can be heard on the chorus). The song was credited to Lennon & McCartney, even though Paul had nothing to do with the record.

In 1970, George Harrison began work on what will become the album “All Things Must Pass.” Phil Spector produced the triple album set.

Don McLean recorded "American Pie" in 1971.

In 1972, at the point of the band splitting up David Bowie offered Mott The Hoople two of his new songs, "Suffragette City," which they turned down and "All The Young Dudes," which they recorded.

The Beatles '1967-1970' album went to #1 on the US chart in 1973.

The Edgar Winter Group went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1973 with "Frankenstein," the bands only US #1. The group featured ex-McCoys guitarist Rick Derringer.

Deep Purple's single "Smoke On The Water" was released in 1973.

Tragedy struck at a 1974 David Cassidy concert at London's White City when over 1,000 fans had to be treated by first aid workers due to the frenzied excitement. One fan, Bernadette Whelan, died from heart failure four days later.

Former backing singer with Stevie Wonder, Deniece Williams started a 2 week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1984 with "Let's Hear It For The Boy," taken from the film 'Footlose.'

In 1990, for the first time ever the Top five positions on the US singles chart were held by female artists: Madonna was at #1 with "Vogue," Heart were at #2, Sinead O'Connor #3, Wilson Phillips at #4 and Janet Jackson was at #5

Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley in 1994. The couple divorced in 1995.

In 1996, a fire at the home of Eric Clapton caused over one-milliondollars worth of damage. Firemen arrived on the scene to find Clapton braving the blaze to save his collection of guitars.

The Manic Street Preachers refused to play a concert in 1999 because Queen Elizabeth II was present. The group had vowed to never perform for the monarchy because they considered it an outdated institution.

In 1999, it was announced that the Backstreet Boys album 'Millennium' had sold 1.13 million units in its first week of release.

In 2000, Drummer Tommy Lee was jailed for five days for drinking alcohol. Lee appeared in front of a LA court charged with violating his probation by consuming alcohol, an act that directly contravenes the terms of his parole. Smart.....

Cam'ron, was at #1 on the US album chart in 2002 with ‘Come Home With Me.’

Rush kick off their 30th anniversary tour in Nashville in 2004.

Nine Inch Nails mastermind, Trent Reznor, pulled his band from the MTV Movie Awards in 2005 over the stage's design. "We were set to perform 'The Hand That Feeds' with an unmolested straightforward image of George W. Bush as the backdrop," says Reznor. Not wanting to get political MTV vetoes the idea. "Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me," concludes Reznor.

In 2009, a US judge ended a bitter two-year battle over the late soul singer James Brown's estate. Judge Jack Early ruled half of his assets will go to a charitable trust, a quarter to his wife and young son, and the rest to his six adult children. Brown's family and wife Tomi Rae Hynie Brown had fought over his fortune since he died of heart failure in 2006.