Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note, we have a winner in the SpaceLab9 Breaking Bad Picture Disc Contest  

Congratulations to Jeff R. from Los Angeles, CA - your prize is on its way.  A special thank you to SpaceLab9 for the awesome picture discs and thank you to all you entered.  Look for more contest coming in 2014!

Remember, if you drink tonight - DO NOT DRIVE!

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Just finished listening to the Friday night (Dec. 13) celebrity guest interview on Sirius XM's Channel 19.

The special guest of the week was Deana Martin and she and the hosts were talking about the mutual admiration between her dad (Dean Martin) and Elvis Presley.

In that vein, Deana mentioned that Dean and Elvis had 22 songs in common. Wow! That's many more than I could name. What are those titles?

The following day on the same channel, the dee jay was talking about "Blueberry Hill," and he said "it was written and originally recorded by Fats Domino."

I believe he was wrong on both counts, but what say you?
—Loretta Wingfield, Phoenix

DEAR LORETTA: Deana was right and so are you.

One thing that jumped out at me about the 22 songs that Dean and Elvis both sang is that none of them are originals by either man, even though they may be far more associated with them than singers of earlier versions.

"Blue Christmas" is a perfect example. No one is more connected to this holiday classic than Presley, and his 1957 release. Yet the first chart hit was in 1949 by Ernest Tubb (Decca 46186). The very first recording, however, was one year earlier, by Doye O'Dell (Exclusive 65).

Alphabetically, here are the titles Deana referenced, but did not have time to individually identify during the interview:

"Blue Christmas"; "Blue Moon"; "Crying Time"; "For the Good Times"; "Gentle on My Mind"; "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine"; "I'll Be Home for Christmas"; "It Keeps Right on A-Hurtin'"; "Make the World Go Away"; "My Heart Cries for You"; "Release Me"; "Santa Lucia" (Elvis sings this completely in Italian but Dean does the first half in English); "Silent Night" "Silver Bells"; "Take Good Care of Her"; "Take Me in Your Arms (Torna a Surriento)" (a.k.a. "Surrender"); "There's No Tomorrow (O Solo Mio)" (a.k.a. "It's Now Or Never"); "True Love"; "Welcome to My World"; "White Christmas"; "Winter Wonderland"; and "Write to Me from Naples."

Regarding "Blueberry Hill," it is possible the dee jay, knowing that most of Fats Domino's hits were written by him, or in collaboration with Dave Bartholomew, merely assumed Fats wrote or at least co-wrote "Blueberry Hill."

It would be an easy mistake. Of his first 20 chart hits (1950-1956), all but one was written or co-written by Antoine "Fats" Domino. The lone exception is "Thinking of You" (1955), penned by R. Hall.

As for "Blueberry Hill," Al Lewis, Larry Stock, and Vincent Rose authored it in 1940, a little over 16 years before Domino's recording.

By the end of the '40s, several renowned artists had recorded the tune, including Glenn Miller; Kay Kyser; Russ Morgan; Gene Autry; Steve Gibson and His Red Caps; and Louis Armstrong.

On the outside chance the Fats Domino labels mistakenly credited the writers, I checked my 1956 singles, both 45 and 78 (Imperial 5407), and they properly attribute the words and music to "Lewis, Stock & Rose."

DEAR JERRY: Hope you can stand another regional hit inquiry, 'cause that's what I have.

When the English began to dominate the airwaves in early 1964, KSO, our Top 40 station, also played a record by an American singer, one inspired by the old tongue twister, "she sells seashells by the sea shore."

Do you know the one I mean?
—Larry Curtis, Des Moines, Iowa
Jerry Keller

DEAR LARRY: Yes, thanks to your more than adequate clues.

I began flipping through my radio surveys, starting with Jan. 1, 1964, but not a lot of time traveling was required before spotting "Sea Shell Sherry," by Jerry Keller (Coral 62378).

That a song that didn't make the Top 100 on either Billboard or Cash Box still got regional play is not unusual. What is amazing is finding "Sea Shell Sherry" at No. 4 in Des Moines.

The Top 3 that week (Jan. 31) were: 1. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (Beatles); 2. "Hey Little Cobra" (Rip Chords); 3. "Forget Him" (Bobby Rydell).

Keller, whose "Here Comes Summer" was a smash hit in 1959, begins this novelty with the familiar "she sells sea shells down by the sea shore." But with each verse, the pace picks up and another alliterative word is added. He finally works his way up to "swingin', surfin', silly, Sherry sells sea shells down by the sea shore."

Since I did not see this tune on any other surveys, it is possible Des Moines was the only market playing "Sea Shell Sherry," not what you might expect in a location about as far away as possible be from either sea shore, Atlantic or Pacific.

IZ ZAT SO? If seeing "Sea Shell Sherry" in the KSO Top 4 is surprising, add this detail to the mystification:

Of the entire Top 40 that week, only one other record was not what you would call a nationwide hit, and it was nowhere the Top 4. At No. 35 is "My Home Town," by Steve Lawrence.

Maybe Jerry Keller had relatives in Des Moines.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.  Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368  E-mail: jpo@olympus.net   Visit his Web site: www.jerryosborne.com

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition. 

Copyright 2013 Osborne Enterprises - Reprinted By Exclusive Permission