DEAR JERRY: I enjoyed the recent TV mini-series about the Temptations, which I assume you also watched.
From the show we learned that Paul Williams shot himself to death; that Eddie Kendricks was a smoker and died of lung cancer, tobacco use being tantamount to suicide; and that David Ruffin died from a drug overdose, yet another form of suicide. Essentially, each of these three stars took his own life!
However, Melvin Franklin (my favorite character in the movie) dies without any explanation or cause of death given.
While not the most talented members, Franklin and Otis Williams come across as the clear thinkers and least self-destructive of the Temps, leading me to believe Franklin's death was due to an illness of some kind.
Can you please tell us what the producers did not? What caused the death of Melvin Franklin?
Rodger Tilly Tillman, Tacoma, Wash.
DEAR TILLY: For you, for Scott H. Waltermeyer (Etters, Pa.), and others who found it odd that Franklin's death went unexplained in the movie, the Temptations' likable bass singer died of heart failure, February 23, 1995. He was 52.
You'll recall that the film did deal with Franklin's arthritis and his reliance on cortisone, which is no friend to the heart.
Only Otis Williams remains of the original group that first recorded 37 years ago. He, along with the current crop of Temptations, recently released the group's 54th album.
DEAR JERRY: When I was growing up in the 1950's, I have fond memories of getting up in the morning and hearing a song on the radio titled Wake Up to Music. As I recall, it's by a group with a male lead singer.
If you know anything about this recording, please let me know.
George Jenkins, Winter Haven, FL 33880 (email@example.com)
DEAR GEORGE: I know of two releases of Wake Up to Music, both of which came out in late 1956.
The version you recall is probably one by the Blenders (RCA 47-6712), though Al & Dick (MGM 12385) also had a recording of this tune. Both of these feature a male lead.
DEAR JERRY: In the mid-'60s the Gentrys followed-up their hit Keep on Dancing with one titled A Woman of the World. This is the tune I seek.
I have managed to purchase two of their old albums and this song is not on either. Could it be a flip-side of one of their hit singles?
J. Michael Henley, Meridianville, Alabama
DEAR J. Michael: Not a flip, or B-side, A Woman of the World came out as the A-side of a single (MGM 13561) one year after the Gentrys' Top 5 hit, Keep On Dancing.
Though it didn't crack the Top 100, A Woman of the World did spend one week as No. 112 which categorizes it as a Bubbling Under chart item.
The back side of A Woman of the World is There Are Two Sides to Every Story.
DEAR JERRY: In Manfred Mann's Blinded by the light is a verse that I simply cannot understand. And I can't find anyone who knows what they are singing. Alas, every interpretation I've heard is ridiculous.
The mystery line follows blinded by the light, and it's revved up like a something or other. Please tell me.
Angi Reinitz, Evansville, Ind.
DEAR ANGI: We dealt with this perplexing line about three years ago in this column. We then reported the most widely accepted interpretation of this fuzzy line, which is: Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.
The writer of Blinded By the Light, Bruce Springsteen, varies the line slightly in his original version: Cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night.
IZ ZAT SO? A year before deciding to call themselves the Temptations (1960), Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin formed the Distants. And the first Distants' single, Come On (Northern 3732), now fetches $300 to $500.