Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: When Andy Williams died (Sept. 25), the obituaries mostly focused on his version of "Moon River."

My memories of Andy Williams begin years before "Moon River, " with "Butterfly," "Are You Sincere," "Lonely Street," and many others.

There were only two hit singles of "Moon River," by Jerry Butler and Henry Mancini, and it was not issued as a single by Andy until a couple of years later.

I know this because I bought mine circa-1964, backed with "Days of Wine and Roses," on Columbia's Hall of Fame label (13-33049). I first assumed this, like others in the Hall of Fame series, to be a reissue of earlier singles, but it was not.

Regardless, I was familiar with Andy's "Moon River," because he sang it at the Academy Awards show, and it is the title track of his "Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes" LP. In later became the theme of the Andy Williams TV Show.

Was this enough to connect him so greatly to a song that never was a hit for him?
—Mike Tiefenbacher, Menomonie, Wis.

DEAR MIKE: For most big-name recording artists with a signature song, it is one of their best-selling singles.

Some familiar examples are: Tony Bennett ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco"); Dean Martin ("Everybody Loves Somebody"); Judy Garland ("Over the Rainbow"); Bobby Darin ("Mack the Knife"); Loretta Lynn ("Coal Miner's Daughter"); Bob Hope ("Thanks for the Memory"); Barbra Streisand ("People"); Glenn Miller ("Moonlight Serenade"); and the Rolling Stones ("Satisfaction").

For "Moon River," to become Andy's signature song required some unpredictable events to fall into place, beginning before he even recorded it.

Henry Mancini (music) and Johnny Mercer (words) teamed to create "Moon River" in 1961 for the film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

In March, 1962, when the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced "Moon River" as a nominee in the Best Music, Original Song category, Andy Williams was picked to sing it live on the Academy Awards show.

The track used for the original single, by Henry Mancini, His Orchestra and Chorus, was handed over from Paramount Pictures to RCA in the fall of 1960. Nearly a year later (early Sept. 1961), their record came out (RCA Victor 47-7916).

Meanwhile, Chicago's Vee-Jay label quickly covered the tune with their top artist at the time, Jerry Butler, whose waxing (VJ-390) followed Mancini's by about three weeks.

For five months, Oct. 1961 through Feb. 1962, one or both of these two hit versions were on the charts. Both peaked at No. 11 on Billboard, but not at the same time.

Still, Andy Williams, with no established "Moon River" connection, sang it at the Awards show to a nationally televised (ABC-TV) audience, a performance that changed his life forever — especially since "Moon River" won, and Mancini and Mercer took home Oscars.

That same week, Columbia tied-in with an ad in the trades announcing Andy's next album, due out the last week of April. It reads:

Thanks Mr. Mancini! Thanks Mr. Mercer!
For your great song "Moon River"
Now hear it sung in "Award Winning" style by Andy Williams in his great new album "Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes"

Thanks to the Awards show, Columbia had pre-release sales in excess of 40,000 units.

Andy's first collection of motion picture music hit the charts May 12, remained there for over 14 years, and earned him the first of 17 Gold Records for album sales.

In Sept. 1962, NBC-TV added The Andy Williams Show to their prime-time schedule, and it ran until July 1971.

Though the nights and broadcast times changed, the show's theme did not. It was always "Moon River."

As for the Columbia's Hall of Fame single, it came out in either late 1963 or early '64.

Last summer, in what would be his last studio recording, Andy joined Deana Martin for a 2011 version of "White Christmas."

Deana was so pleased with their duet, she even titled the album "White Christmas," then issued it on vinyl (Big Fish 1007) as well as CD.

IZ ZAT SO? When Andy Williams, and four other stars, took the stage April 9, 1962, at the 34th annual Academy Awards presentation, it marked the first time the nominated songs were sung live. In years past, the tunes were lip-synched to recorded music tracks by the performers.

Sharing the spotlight on this momentous occasion were Ann-Margret ("Bachelor in Paradise"); Gene Pitney ("Town Without Pity"); Johnny Mathis ("Love Theme from El Cid"); and Gogi Grant ("Pocket Full of Miracles").

Had Henry Mancini not won for "Moon River," he had a backup nominee in "Bachelor in Paradise," co-written by he and Mack David.

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 2012 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Exclusive Permission

Vinyl Record News & Music Notes Mumford and Sons Vinyl Contest  is now over, the winner will be announced shortly!   Thank you to all that entered!

for those who have missed my posts, well that's because I haven't made any.  These computers are wonderful tools, but  it's impossible to work when the computer freezes up.  That said, I am crossing my fingers that the problems have been resolved.   I put in a call to and would highly recommend their services!


KOWLOON WALLED CITY Announce New Album Details

San Francisco's KOWLOON WALLED CITY are set to release their much anticipated sophomore album, Container Ships, on December 4th via Brutal Panda Records. Their first record in three years was recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, CA, this past August with guitarist/vocalist Scott Evans handling the production duties. Led by poignant guitar melodies soaked in malaise and a powerful rhythm section, Container Ships flawlessly combines elements of sludge, post-rock and indie rock to create a truly unforgettable, heavy as an oil tanker, listening experience.

Leading up to the recording of the new album, the band kept busy by releasing splits with THOU, FIGHT AMP and LADDER DEVILS, culminating with a run of west coast shows supporting stoner metal legends SLEEP. KOWLOON WALLED CITY's catalog can be streamed for free via their official site, The album is limited to 500 copies and comes in a gatefold jacket featuring the stunning photography of Roy Zipstein. 10 super limited test press packages are available while supplies last. Vinyl pre-orders available HERE

1. The Pressure Keeps Me Alive
2. 50s Dad
3. Beef Cattle
4. Container Ships
5. Cornerstone
6. Wrong Side of History
7. You Don't Have Cancer


GRIMEY'S BEST SELLERS 10/08 - 10/14, 2012

Vinyl Top 25:

1. Tame Impala - Lonerism
2. Wanda Jackson - Unfinished Business
3. Mumford & Sons - Babel
4. Ty Segall - Twins
5. King Tuff - Screaming Skull 7"
6. The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter
7. Weezer - Weezer (The Blue Album: Mo-Fi 1/2 speed master)
8. Grizzly Bear - Shields
9. Jamey Johnson - Living For A Song: Tribute To Hank Cochran
10. Ranch Ghost - Nahla 7"
11. Total Control - Scene From A Marriage 7"
12. Damien Rice - Live At Fingerprints
13. Coheed & Cambria - Afterman: Ascension
14. Father John Misty - Fear Fun
15. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
16. Chromatics - Kill For Love
17. Chromatics - Night Drive
18. Jeff Lynne - Long Wave
19. Old 97's - Too Far To Care
20. Patterson Hood - Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance
21. LCD Soundsystem - London Sessions
22. The Lumineers - The Lumineers
23. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
24. The Black Keys - Rubber Factory
25. The Sonics - Psycho 7"


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