DEAR JERRY: You once wrote about “Peanuts,” a great 1960s instrumental by the Sunglows.
You reported it held the No. 1 spot in El Paso for several weeks, yet did not even make the Top 50 on the national charts.
After reading that, I went out and bought “Peanuts,” which is a fantastic Mexican-style polka.
Now I'm wondering how common it was, specifically in the pre-Beatles rock era, for huge hits in some areas to be ignored by the rest of the country.
How about some examples of national flops that still became regional Top 10 hits?
Donald Romar, Des Moines, Wash.
DEAR DONALD: Whew! To my knowledge, no such listing exists. So I guess it's up to us to start one, which means examining every pre-'64 radio station survey in my archives.
From those, I will include at least one entry for every year from 1955 through '63, but will only use each radio station once. Otherwise, our word count this week would at least double.
Coast-to-coast and border-to-border, off we go. All of these records made some station's Top 10:
WCOP, Boston (November 1956): “The Train Kept A-Rollin'” (Johnny Burnette Trio).
KWBR, Oakland (September 1957): “Take the Key” (Richard Berry). It is strange finding this record in the Bay Area's Top 10 at this time, since it actually came out about one year earlier (November 1956)!
WHBQ, Memphis (December 1957): “Where the Rio De Rosa Flows” (Jimmy Lloyd); WTLB, Utica-Rome N.Y. (November 1957): “Hey Little Darling” (Tony Bellus); WBZ, Boston (April 1958): “My Pledge to You” (Johnny Nash).
KNUZ, Houston (July 1959): “One More Time” (Traits). This is the group that, in 1965 as Roy Head and the Traits, sold a million of “Treat Her Right.”
WPOP, Hartford (October, 1959): “Every Day” (Rocky Hart) and “Diary of a High School Bride” (Tony Casanova); KDWB, Minneapolis (November 1959): “Too Old to Cry” (Gary Hodge); WAMS, Wilmington, Del. (January 1960): “If I Knew” (Cruisers); KRLA, Los Angeles (August 1960); “Lonely Guy” (Gallahads); KPOI, Honolulu (December 1960): “The Angry Sea” (Jane Morgan) and “Billy Billy Went A-Walking” (Beau-Marks).
WLS, Chicago (October 1960): “Shortnin' Bread” (Paul Chaplain and His Emeralds).
KLIF, Dallas (January 1961): “I Can't Stop Loving You” (Roy Orbison). The flip side, “I'm Hurtin',” charted nationally but is nowhere to be found on the KLIF Top 40. They made another switcharoo a few months later with Floyd Cramer's “San Antonio Rose.” Instead of that tune, a Top 10 hit nationwide, KLIF's survey lists only the B-side, “I Can Just Imagine.” As to why, I just can't imagine.
KFWB, Los Angeles (June 1961): “Little Ole Me” (Cornbread and Jerry); WJMO, Cleveland (October 1961): “The Roach” (Gene and Wendel) and “Mr. D.J.” (Van McCoy). 14 years later Van McCoy made the national charts in a big way, with the No. 1 hit, “The Hustle.”
KDAY, Los Angeles (November 1961): “Trade Winds, Trade Winds” (Aki Aleong); WKDA, Nashville (December 1961): “I'm a Little Mixed Up” (Betty James) and “Sweethearts in Heaven” (Chase Webster); WGES, Chicago (January 1962): “So Good” (Jon Thomas); WABB, Mobile (March 1962): “I'm Going to Put Some Hurt on You” (Raymond Lewis); KOL, Seattle (April 1962): “J.A.J.” (Dynamics); WHK, Cleveland (December 1962): “Over the Weekend” (Billy and the Essentials); KMEN, San Bernardino-Riverside, Calif. (May 1963): “Soul Surfer” (Johnny Fortune); KCBQ, San Diego (August 1963): “Tip Toes” (Boots Faye); KGB, San Diego (November 1963): “The High Life” (Phil Bodner Sextet); KJR, Seattle (December 1963): “Charlie Browning” (Young Men).
DEAR JERRY: Got a question for you to gnaw on, one I don't think has been previously submitted.
What was the first hit to be taken from a movie soundtrack?
Carla Kingsley, Fayettville, Tenn.
DEAR CARLA: I will not chew on this one for very long.
The answer must be the first hit from the first talking picture, the 1927 release of “The Jazz Singer.”
Making its chart debut in January 1928 is Al Jolson's “Mother of Mine, I Still Have You” (Brunswick 3719),
Several months later, Jolson hit the charts again with two more songs featured in “The Jazz Singer.” Issued back-to-back are “My Mammy” and “Dirty Hands! Dirty Face!” (Brunswick 3912).
IZ ZAT SO? There are no mammy or dirty face songs in Neil Diamond's 1980 remake of “The Jazz Singer,” but that soundtrack did provide Neil with three consecutive Top 10 hits: “Love on the Rocks;” Hello Again;” and “America.”
For a man with over 55 charted hits, it is surprising that Neil Diamond has just two No. 1 hits as a solo: “Cracklin Rosie” (1970) and “Song Sung Blue” (1972).
His only other chart-topper, “You Don't Bring Me Flowers” (1978), is a duet with Barbra Streisand.