DEAR JERRY: While reading the latest news coverage of the divorce of Paul and Heather McCartney, I came upon one line that got my attention:
This story referred to Paul as “the Academy Award winning singer-songwriter,” but makes absolutely no mention of what earned him this honor.
I'm sure Paul has a mantle full of Grammys, but I know he is not an actor. So how did he win an Oscar?
Jill Poole, Madison, Wisc.
DEAR JILL: The old-fashioned way he earned it.
Besides honoring those in front of the cameras, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pays tribute to folks in many other categories, some of which are for musical achievements.
At the 43rd Annual Academy Awards event (1970), the Oscar for Original Song Score went to the Beatles for “Let It Be.”
Regardless of who composed the music, or who sang lead, the band's records almost always credit just the Beatles. So even though Paul wrote and sings “Let It Be,” the entire group is the official winner with each member taking home a gold statuette.
As for the Original Song Score competition in 1970, here are the other nominees:
“The Baby Maker” (Fred Karlin and Tylwyth Kymry); “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” (Rod McKuen, John Scott Trotter, Bill Melendez, Al Shean, and Vince Guaraldi); “Darling Lili” (Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer); and “Scrooge” (Leslie Bricusse, Ian Fraser, and Herbert W. Spencer).
After the Beatles disbanded, the Academy nominated two more of Paul McCartney's songs: “Live and Let Die” (1973) and “Vanilla Sky” (2001). Both are from films of the same titles.
“The Way We Were” won in '73, and “If I Didn't Have You” from “Monsters, Inc.,” claimed the gold in 2001.
DEAR JERRY: I spent the Summer of Love (1967) in the San Francisco area, and it was a time when it seemed everything fun revolved around the music.
Several Bay Area groups became stars nationwide, or even worldwide. But for every Jefferson Airplane, Doors, or Grateful Dead success story, there is a Serpent Power, Charlatans, or Teddy and the Pandas that virtually no one remembers.
It is a song by the latter group that prompts my letter.
The title is “Susie Creamcheese,” and though not a national hit it got tons of play in northern California that summer.
If it's any help, two other top hits at the same time were “Somebody to Love” (Jefferson Airplane) and “Happy Together” (Turtles).
Brent Givens, North Hollywood, Calif.
DEAR BRENT: Let's begin with a couple of corrections:
The fictional character, created in 1966 by Frank Zappa, is Suzy (not Susie) Creamcheese. Look at the back cover of “Freak Out!,” by Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, and read the make-believe fan letter from Suzy.
The Teddy group whose 1967 hit of “Suzy Creamcheese” you recall is Teddy and His Patches.
Adding to the confusion is the existence of a completely different group named Teddy and the Pandas, who also recorded in the mid-'60s.
However, these Pandas hailed from the opposite coast, Massachusetts to be exact.
Their best-known recording is “We Can't Go on This Way” (Musicor 1190), a New England hit (1966) the summer before the Summer of Love.
As for Teddy, his Patches, and “Suzy Creamcheese” (Chance 668), it may have been ignored by most of the country but this tune reached No. 1 in some northern and central California markets in April and May 1967.
I have a KMBY (Monterey) Top 40 survey for April 28, 1967 which shows “Suzy Creamcheese” in its second week at No. 1.
Inspired by the country's most famous intersection that summer, Teddy's follow-up is “Haight-Ashbury” (Chance 669).
Either of these uncommon singles can now sell for $200 to $250.
IZ ZAT SO? Some Beatles fans believe Paul McCartney wrote “Let It Be” as a “let's put our differences aside” message to the other Beatles.
Regardless of the message, we do know that the Mother Mary mentioned in the lyrics who comforts him with words of wisdom, is his own mother, Mary.
Mary McCartney died of breast cancer October 31, 1956, four months after James Paul turned 14.