DEAR JERRY: I agree with your comments on what a mismatch it is to have a beautiful song like “Look for a Star” (Garry Mills) used as the theme for a shock flick like “Circus of Horrors.”
Not as extreme a variance, but still another example of a film and song that seem mismatched is “More,” also known as the theme from “Mondo Cane.”
Such a gorgeous song doesn't fit that weird documentary that depicts, among other bizarre situations, humans eating dog meat.
Dozens of versions exist of “More,” but there are two you always hear: the instrumental by Kai Winding, and the vocal by Vic Dana. Both are kind of up-tempo.
But another recording that got played a lot is very slow and beautiful. I specifically recall how the singer had a laugh and then a cry in his voice when he sang “laughing, weeping.”
Is this enough information for you to identify this song?
Jackie Lynn Olson, Cincinnati, Ohio.
DEAR JACKIE LYNN: “More” than enough, thank you!
This touching rendition is by Danny Williams (United Artists 601).
It came out in June 1963, about the same time as Kai Winding's version (Verve 10295), the first “More” to be a hit. About a month later, Vic Dana's single (Dolton 81) began climbing the charts.
The original version, as featured in “Mondo Cane” (translation-subtitle: “A Dog's Life”), is by Riz Ortolini and His Orchestra. His single is one of six that came out about the same time.
Among the five cover records in that batch are two other instrumentals Kai Winding and Martin Denny plus three vocals. Two of those are by established stars Steve Lawrence and Della Reese and the third is newcomer Danny Williams.
Though his “More” got lost in the pack, Danny's very next single, “White on White” (United Artists 685), went Top 10.
By the end of '63, consumers wanting “More” had no less than a dozen different singles and albums from which to choose.
“More,” and also the “Mondo Cane” documentary, received Oscar, Grammy, Golden Laurel, and David di Donatello Award nominations.
Written by Riz Ortolani, Nino Oliviero, and Norman Newell, “More” was nominated for the 1963 Song of the Year Oscar and “Mondo Cane” claimed the David Italy's top film industry award for Best Production.
The 1963 Song of the Year wound up being “Call Me Irresponsible,” from “Papa's Delicate Condition” ( Music by James Van Heusen; Lyrics by Sammy Cahn).
DEAR JERRY: You once referred to Sir Cliff Richard as being, in 1958, a “soon-to-be-superstar.” I'm wondering if you meant in the US.
Though his career in the UK and many other countries has been phenomenal, we generally understand that he has never achieved any significant success in the US.
Was “Devil Woman” his biggest hit there, as I once read?
What other hits did he have there, if any?
Tex Waite, Stockport, Manchester, UK
DEAR TEX: Not at all a prophesy, since we already know the outcome, the comment referred to Cliff's global accomplishments.
As for his worldwide success, phenomenal may even be an understatement.
If measured against his unparalleled sales in Europe, his 19 hits here may seem insignificant. Still, he did well enough here to rank as one of the Top 400 artists of the Rock era.
You are right about “Devil Woman” being his top-seller in America, but not by a wide margin over runner-up, “We Don't Talk Anymore.”
Besides these two, his third of three Top 10 hits is “Dreaming.”
Another five of Cliff 's tunes peaked between 11 and 30: “Living Doll;” “It's All in the Game;” “Suddenly” (with Olivia Newton-John); “A Little in Love;” and “Daddy's Home.”
This gives Cliff eight Top 30 hits in the states, a very acceptable total but a drop in the bucket compared to the action on your side of the Atlantic. Read on:
IZ ZAT SO? Between 1958 and 2003, Cliff placed an astounding 111 hits in the New Musical Express Top 30!
This feat is unmatched by anyone on the US charts. Even Elvis Presley, who leads the pack with 86 Top 30 US hits to his credit, is far behind Richard.
Interestingly, Elvis and Cliff are the only acts to make the UK charts in six consecutive decades: the 1950s to the 2000s.
Knighted in 1995, Sir Cliff then became the first English rock star so honored. Not long after, Sir Paul McCartney (1997) and Sir