DEAR JERRY: For many years I have been looking for a little-known song titled “Altar Boy,” or maybe “Little Altar Boy.”
I know nothing about the singer of this beautiful song, but I'm hoping you do.
Is this tune on a single, or perhaps just an album?
Tom Andrews, Evansville, Ind.
DEAR TOM: You are right the second time. It is “Little Altar Boy,” and the singer is Vic Dana.
This single (Dolton 48) rode the charts for a couple of months, beginning in late November 1961. “Little Altar Boy,” and to a lesser extent “Hello Roommate,” the flip side, got lots of play through the holidays.
Fortunately for Dana, “Little Altar Boy” inexplicably landed on the annual Christmas play lists of radio stations nationwide.
The mysterious slant to the story is there may not be a more unlikely holiday standard.
Not one thing, lyrically, musically, or otherwise, in “Little Altar Boy” has anything whatsoever to do with any holiday or related event.
While the same can be said about some seasonal classics (e.g., “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!), “Little Altar Boy” has no winter or weather connection at all.
Regardless, it is the lead track on the 1967 LP, “Little Altar Boy” and Other Christmas Favorites” (Dolton 8049).
By the end of 1967, the tune could also be found on two other Vic Dana albums: “This Is Vic Dana” (Dolton 8013) and “Golden Greats” (Dolton 8048).
DEAR JERRY: You have previously shed much light on the identity of song clips included in the “Flying Saucer” type records, by Buchanan and Goodman and others.
Still, three of us old radio guys are attempting to unlock a few mysterious clips of “Buchanan and Goodman on Trial” (Luniverse 102).
Some are easy (i.e., Fats Domino, Elvis, Little Richard, etc.), but several that have us on the ropes.
We have working on this puzzle for over 10 years and have run out of fresh ideas.
In our opinion, this record has the fastest and best editing of any of the Buchanan and Goodman releases.
Thank you for coming to our rescue, which we know you will.
Warren (KOMO), Tom (KING), and Duane (KING) of Seattle.
DEAR OLD RADIO GUYS: If you'd written sooner, this long-standing puzzle would not have endured 10 years.
By listing each break-in clip, in order of appearance, all of your questions will be answered:
“Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots” (Cheers); “Dragnet” (Ray Anthony); “Open Up That Door” (Nappy Brown); “Church Bells May Ring” (Willows); “Ready Teddy” (Little Richard); “Speedo” (Cadillacs); “Stranded in the Jungle” (Cadets); “Tutti-Frutti” (Little Richard); “I'm in Love Again” (Fats Domino); “Hound Dog” (Elvis Presley); “I Promise to Remember” (Frankie Lymon & Teenagers); “Little Girl of Mine” (Cleftones); “Rip It Up” (Little Richard); and “That's All There Is to That” (Nat King Cole).
And, that's all there is to that!
IZ ZAT SO? Vic Dana is one of very few artists with twice as many albums as Top 50 singles.
Those seven hits are: “Little Altar Boy” (1961); “I Will” (1962); “More” (1963); “Shangri-La” (1964); “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” (1965); “I Love You Drops” (1966); and “If I Never Knew Your Name” (1970).
During the same nine years, Dolton/Liberty issued 14 Vic Dana albums.
More amazingly, of their complete 59-LP catalog (1959-1969), all but two are by either the Fleetwoods (10); the Ventures (33); or Vic Dana (14).
The two strays in the herd are “Roy Lanham - The Most Exciting Guitar” (Dolton 8009) and “The Wanderers Three - We Sing Folk Songs” (Dolton 8021).