DEAR JERRY: I just recently purchased a copy of Buchanan & Goodman's “Back to Earth (Parts 1 & 2).” (Luniverse 101X). When I put it on my turntable I found it is the same recording as “The Flying Saucer (Parts 1 & 2).”
Was “Back to Earth” an original working title? A first pressing perhaps? Or did I just get one with a misprinted label?
DEAR CONFUSED: “Back to Earth” is indeed the original title of the novelty break-in recording commonly known as “The Flying Saucer.”
After first pressings came out, the Luniverse gang wisely decided the record would get more attention with “The Flying Saucer” for a title. The change fit perfectly with the early '50s flood of science-fiction stories and movies (“The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “Invaders from Mars,” etc.) and “The Flying Saucer” zoomed into the Top 3 nationally. Delta Quadrant sales are said to have been even greater.
Great news, you have the rare one. “Back to Earth” commands prices near $200 whereas the second pressing, titled “The Flying Saucer,” fetch $30 to $50.
DEAR JERRY: For most single records, there is the “hit” side and a “flip” side. But I often see the term “B/W” printed on many 45 rpm sleeves. What does B/W stand for?
Brian Parent, Pittsfield, N.H.
DEAR BRIAN: Day in and day out “B/W” stands for “black and white; however, when found on a record sleeve its meaning is “backed with.”
Virtually every single record made has an A-side and a B-side, most plainly marked, others merely intended. Usually “backed with” refers to the B-side. For example, “A Hard Day's Night” B/W “I Should Have Known Better.”
Though far less frequently used, some sleeves exist with “C/W,” which stands for “coupled with.” This short-lived term was dropped because too many people confused it with “C&W” (Country & Western)
DEAR JERRY: I work for a Wal-Mart in Hunstville, and during a lunch break about eight of us began talking about what we feel is the greatest Christmas album ever. It is a collection of different singers mostly female but the only ones we recall are Darlene Love, the Ronettes, and Bobby Soxx and the Blue Jeans.
Please tell us the other groups that are on this record, as well as whether or not it is still available.
Kathy Patton, Huntsville, Ala
DEAR KATHY: Titled “A Christmas Gift for You,” and first issued in 1963 (Philles 4005), this Phil Spector-produced LP contains songs by the three acts you mentioned, plus the Crystals.
There is also one track narrated by Spector, though it seems terribly out of place in this otherwise sumptuous collection.
Widely regarded as one of the best rock and roll Christmas collections ever made, “A Christmas Gift for You” has been reissued several times and will likely remain available year after year.
DEAR JERRY: Someone wrote recently who was searching for “Sweet Lorraine,” and you failed to mention that this is a very famous song by Nat King Cole. How could you have missed this one?
Clair Papas, Lancaster, Pa.
DEAR CLAIR: Believe me, I missed nothing. How one could confuse these two drastically different songs is baffling, but you are not the only one who did. Several other folks also wrote about “Sweet Lorraine.”
The song in question, “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine” the 1967 hit by Country Joe and the Fish, is as far removed from Cole's “Sweet Lorraine” as is possible.
IZ ZAT SO? The success of Buchanan and Goodman with “The Flying Saucer” paved the way for many other zany novelty break-ins with a alien or monster theme.
Among them: “Flying Saucer the 2nd,” “Flying Saucer the 3rd,” “Flying Saucer Goes West,” “Santa and the Satellite,” “The Creature,” “Hey E.T.,” “The Invasion,” “Frankenstein '59,” “The Thing,” “Star Warts,” “The Purple People Eater” (not the Sheb Wooley vocal), “Attack of the Z Monster” and “Luna Trip.”
All of these involve either Bill Buchanan, Dickie Goodman, or both.