DEAR JERRY: Just noticed a recent mention on Facebook about the death of John D. Loudermilk (Sept. 21).
The post said he wrote many hits, but no specific titles were given.
I would like to know what some of his more popular tunes are.
Stella Lawson, Mt. Prospect, Ill.
DEAR STELLA: The best way to cover "his more popular tunes" is to list the 32 written by Loudermilk that charted, from 1956 to 2002.
Most were popularized by other artists, though John D. did record six of these:
"A Rose and a Baby Ruth" (1956): George Hamilton IV
"Abilene" (1963): George Hamilton IV
"Angela Jones" (1960): Johnny Ferguson
"Bad News" (1963): John D. Loudermilk; (1964) Johnny Cash
"Big Daddy" (1964): Sue Thompson; (1968) Boots Randolph
"Blue Train (Of the Heartbreak Line)" (1964): John D. Loudermilk; (1973) George Hamilton IV
"Break My Mind" (1967): George Hamilton IV; (1978) Vern Gosdin
"Ebony Eyes" (1961): Everly Brothers; (1989) Orion [Jimmy Ellis]
"Everything's Alright" (1964): Newbeats
"Google Eye" (1964): Nashville Teens
"I Wanna Live" (1968): Glen Campbell
"Indian Reservation (Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)" (1968): Don Fardon; (1970) Paul Revere and the Raiders
"Language of Love" (1961): John D. Loudermilk
"Norman" (1962): Sue Thompson
"Paper Tiger" (1965): Sue Thompson
"Road Hog" (1962): John D. Loudermilk
"Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" (1961): Sue Thompson; Lennon Sisters
"Sittin' in the Balcony" (1957): Johnny Dee [John D. Loudermilk]; Eddie Cochran
"Sun Glasses" (1965): Skeeter Davis
"Talk Back Trembling Lips" (1963): Ernest Ashworth; (1964) Johnny Tillotson
"The Great Snow Man" (1961): Bob Luman
"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" (1964): Johnny Nash; (1967) Casinos; (1968) Eddy Arnold; (1976) Glen Campbell; (1979) Toby Beau; (1996) Neal McCoy
"This Little Bird"/"The Little Bird" (1965): Marianne Faithfull; Nashville Teens
"Thou Shalt Not Steal" (1962): John D. Loudermilk; (1965) Dick and DeeDee; (1969) Newbeats
"Tobacco Road" (1964): Nashville Teens; (1966) Blues Magoos; Lou Rawls; (1970) Jamul; (1972) Edgar Winter's White Trash; (1986) Roy Clark
"Top 40, News, Weather and Sports" (1961) Mark Dinning
"Torture" (1962) Kris Jensen
"Turn Me On" (2002) Norah Jones
"Waterloo" (1959) Stonewall Jackson
"Weep No More My Baby" (1960) Brenda Lee
"What A Woman in Love Won't Do" (1967) Sandy Posey
"Windy and Warm" (1963) Boots Randolph Sings and Plays
DEAR JERRY: Your recent coverage of Les Paul and Mary Ford's "Magic Melody" undertaking was interesting, but what I am now curious about is the hit side, "Amukiriki."
Some lyrics are:
"In Mexico, amukiriki is as old as Mexico, and it means the Lord be willing if the Lord shall will it so ... beyond the mountain, across the river amukiriki, then you'll hold me as I always want you to."
The issue I have is that there is no such word in the Spanish language, and no Amukiriki River in Mexico.
As for amukiriki meaning "The Lord Willing," which is also the sub-title, that would be "Si Dios quiere" in Spanish.
So where did they come up with amukiriki?
Gilbert Espinoza, Las Cruces, N.M.
DEAR GILBERT: Of course you are correct, amukiriki does not bear a resemblance to Spanish, or any of the Latin-based languages.
I am not an etymologist, but my limited research points to the origin of amukiriki being Chichewan, sometimes known as Nyanjan.
This is the official language of Malawi and Zimbabwe, but is also spoken in Zambia and Mozambique.
Regardless, there is no available definition for amukiriki in any language, leaving the possibility that it may be a proper noun.
It is unfortunate that we've lost the song's co-writers, Jerry Livingston (1909-1987) and Bob Russell (1914-1970).
I would love to hear their explanation behind the Mexican definition in the "Amukiriki" lyrics.
IZ ZAT SO? I thought I might find even a shred of background info on "Amukiriki" among Billboard's Popular Record Reviews, but no mention is made of this very unusual title.
What they did print in the Sept. 17, 1955 issue is this glowing review:
"Amukiriki (Capitol 3248) is a soft, smooth ballad with a dreamy melodic line similar to that of the husband and wife team's big hit, 'Vaya Con Dios.' The thrush sings with warm sincerity and Paul's brilliant guitar backing is, as always, a standout contribution."