DEAR JERRY: Around 1972, someone predicted a big earthquake on the Pacific coast, saying most or all of California could then break off into the ocean.
A short time later, while driving through Arizona, I heard a song on the radio that asked “Where can you go when there's no San Francisco? Better get ready to tie up the boat in Idaho.”
I can't remember the rest of the lyrics, but I later realized the tune of it was the same as, or very similar to, “Tuesday's Dead,” by Cat Stevens.
Have you ever heard of this earthquake song? I've been wondering about it for over 30 years, and all previous inquiries to radio stations have been useless and made me think I just imagined the whole thing.
Holly Smelt, Tacoma, Wash.
DEAR HOLLY: Fortunately the event forecasted did not occur, as California is still attached to Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico.
However, that song you recall is quite real.
By a group named Shango, the title of this spring 1969 release is “Day After Day (It's Slippin' Away)” (A&M 1014), and it did surprisingly well throughout California, making the Top 30 in most of the Golden State markets.
The creative trio behind this reggae track is actor Stuart Margolin, renowned musician-producer Jerry Riopelle, and Thomas Reynolds.
The first verse seems to express more concern about the weight caused by the ever-increasing population than an earthquake:
“Day after day, more people come to L.A. Don't'cha tell anybody, the whole place slippin' away.”
The next mention of the title provides the quake reference:
“Day after day, more people come to L.A. Don't'cha tell anybody, the whole place shakin' away.”
Musically, Cat Stevens' “Tuesday's Dead” has a slightly similar Jamaican feel. Still, his song didn't come out until late 1971, on the “Teaser and the Firecat” LP (A&M 4313) more than two years too late to influence “Day After Day.”
Could it be the other way around?
Since both artists recorded for A&M at the time, perhaps Shango did inspire the Cat just a smidgen. His “where do you go when you don't want no one to know” certainly reminds me of “where can you go when there's no San Francisco.”
As for connecting any clairvoyance with Shango's hit, it would be about three years later before the next southern California earthquake: February 9, 1971 in the San Gabriel Mountains, near San Fernando.
Lasting for roughly one minute, 65 lives were lost and over 2,000 injured. Property damage in that 60 seconds was estimated at $505 million.
The San Fernando quake was felt throughout southern California as well as in western Arizona and southern Nevada.
DEAR JERRY: From several different British dealers, I have seen recent pressings of recordings that were originally hits in the 1950s.
Since this involves major artists (i.e., Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Bill Haley and the Comets, etc.), it's surprising to see these records prominently advertised.
How can these folks get away with it? Do the copyright holders not know what's going on over there?
Lawrence T. Hope, Bristol, Conn.
DEAR LAWRENCE: They know. Believe me, they know.
Unlike in the U.S., where copyright protection exists for 95 years an more than adequate term for most lives the coverage for sound recordings in Europe is for just 50 years.
Thus copyright protection for recordings made in 1956, or before, are now in the European Union's public domain. This applies to releasing those tracks on records and compact discs, as well as in digital formats.
Calendar-watching UK entrepreneurs have been especially keen to this situation, as you have noticed.
Unless the term of copyright protection for singers and record labels is extended, you will likely see mass repackaging of early Beatles tracks hitting the marketplace in 2013 50 years after 1963.
IZ ZAT SO? If the name Stuart Margolin, “Day After Day (It's Slippin' Away)” co-writer, rings a bell, it is likely from the years (1974-1979) he endeared himself to viewers of “The Rockford Files.”
For his portrayal of Angel Martin, Jim Rockford's (James Garner) exasperating crony, Margolin won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series not once but twice, in 1979 and 1980.
He also wrote, directed, or acted in another 150 films, and either won or received a nomination for 11 top industry awards in various categories.
Composing music is another love of Stuart's, and over 100 of his songs have been recorded.
In 1980, as the last episodes of “The Rockford Files” aired, Margolin's first album came out (Warner Bros. K-3439), appropriately titled “And the Angel Sings.”