DEAR JERRY: Please help me clear up something I think I remember.
In 1956 when Buchanan & Goodman released “The Flying Saucer,” I heard it on the Phoenix radio stations for several days. The response from the station listeners was nothing short of delirium with the phones ringing off the hook requesting the dee jays play the song as often as the station would permit.
For a time, though, I remember the stations refusing to play the record because it had been banned. However, none of my friends remember this.
Was there a time when this record was in hot water or am I remembering something that didn't happen?
Jerry Brown (email@example.com)
DEAR JERRY: It's not that it was banned, though it sure did stir up some controversy. When first issued, “The Flying Saucer” turned the music trade on its ear. The industry had not heard anything quite like it and the reaction of the labels whose material is sampled on the disc was to call in their attorneys.
Nearly a dozen companies and another dozen publishers joined in a copyright infringement suit asking for a preliminary injunction. Bordering on the absurd, radio stations and disc jockeys who played “The Flying Saucer” were threatened with charges of contributory infringement.
Much ado about nothing you say? Eventually, yes, but at the time (July 1956) this may have caused some stations to lay off the record until the dust cleared. Fortunately, the court found that these “break-in” records constituted no infringement and the wacky career of Buchanan & Goodman zoomed ahead.
During one of the “Pickin' 'n' Grinnin'” portions of the show (Buck Owens and Roy Clark) Roy Clark sang “Thank God and Greyhound,” an entertaining piece of fun.
Now, I would like your help in directing me where I can find “Thank God and Greyhound.” I need this song for my son, who wants to play it in honor of his “dear” wife, who left him for another man. He goes around the house singing the parts that he can remember of the song.
Though he really puts his heart into it, we feel that he would do better if he could sing it along with Roy Clark.
P.S. It's difficult to type when I'm laughing so hard.
Eleanor Schwartz, York, Pa.
DEAR ELEANOR: I honestly sympathize with your dilemma. I too find it hard to type while laughing.
“Thank God and Greyhound” (Dot 17355), a Top 10 C&W hit in 1970, is now easily available on the 14-track CD, “Roy Clark Greatest Hits“ (Varese Sarabande VSD-5608).
Environmental issues notwithstanding, the spirit of “Thank God and Greyhound” is encapsulated by this one verse:
“Thank God and Greyhound” you're gone
That load on my mind got lighter when you got on
That shiny old bus is a beautiful sight
With the black smoke a rollin' up around the tail lights
It may sound kinda cruel, but I been silent too long
Thank God and Greyhound you're gone”
DEAR JERRY: A controversy has risen and it's ugly.
We all agree that Tanya Tucker had the biggest hit with “Delta Dawn,” but there is disagreement as to who is the artist who made the original hit version.
Please settle this question for us. A great big banana split is riding on the outcome.
DEAR BOB: Tanya had the Top 10 C&W hit of “Delta Dawn” in the spring of 1972 her very first chart hit.
Though Tucker had the only hit in 1972 of this tune, others with releases then include: Clifford Curry, Deanne Davidson, and Alex Harvey.
One year later, Helen Reddy's pop rendition of “Delta Dawn” came out and went to No. 1, thus making her's the best-selling version overall.
Regardless, Tanya owns the original hit version. Now it's time now to let harmony and understanding (an appropriate line borrowed from “Aquarius-Let the Sunshine In”) rule as you dive into that banana split.
IZ ZAT SO? Roy Clark became the first of the big name entertainers to build their own theaters in Branson, with the opening of the Roy Clark Celebrity Theater in 1983.
For years afterwards, the line commonly heard around Music City was “Will the last person leaving Nashville for Branson please turn out the lights.”