DEAR JERRY: It's funny how things happen in life. Three days after reading your recent column about Cadence Records and Julius LaRosa, I happened to come across an old video that I taped in the mid-'80s.
The show is PBS's “Sentimental Journeys,” and features, among others, Kay Starr, Georgia Gibbs, Tony Martin, and Julius LaRosa.
Here I hadn't thought of LaRosa in years, and then twice in three days he came to my attention.
On that show, Julius tells of the start of Cadence Records, and his explanation pretty much matches your account.
Here it is, verbatim:
“When I started on The Arthur Godfrey Show, one of the songs I used to sing was a song we must have had literally 20,000 letters for, asking where they could buy this particular song. And I wasn't recording. So Archie Bleyer then the musical conductor for the Godfrey show started a new record company called Cadence Records.
“The first record for the company was number 1-2-3-0. I remember it very well because it is my birth date: 1-2-30.
“It was a beautiful song, written by Frank Loesser, called “Anywhere I Wander.”
In a related matter, I have recently spoken with Teresa Brewer. When I told her about my letter to you, she mentioned that she got a very sweet note from Mr. LaRosa when her husband, Bob Thiele, died in 1996.
Ironically, it was Bob Thiele who, many years ago, gave me my very first Jerry Osborne record guide.
Bill Munroe, New Haven, Conn.
DEAR BILL: I really appreciate the nice letter, and especially for providing the interesting transcription.
It's a pleasant surprise to learn that we first connected long ago, thanks to Teresa Brewer's husband, Bob.
As if all of that doesn't prove it's a small world, read on:
Archie has since passed away [3-20-89]. He was a gentleman, a friend, and truly a credit to the entertainment industry.
Regarding the number of “Anywhere I Wander,” it was Archie's suggestion. He said (more or less): “Since it marks the birth of Cadence Records, why don't we use YOUR birth date to number the first record?”
A felicitous suggestion! Hence January 2, 1930 became 1230.
And this very-soon-to-be 72-year-old delights in his four-year-old grandson, who calls me “Papa Joolie,” and loves Cadence record number 1230.
Happy Holidays to all!
Julius “Papa Julie” LaRosa, Irvington, N.Y.
DEAR JULIUS: This final column of the feature's 15th year has turned out to be a real treat. Readers love it when the stars we so often write about pitch in with such delightful memories.
Thanks to you, future generations of music historians will know the true story of Cadence 1230.
As I write this, I am playing “Anywhere I Wander,” one of 14 great tracks on “The History Of Cadence Records, Volume 1” (Varese Vintage 5578), a recently issued CD.
Of course I'm counting on your family in Wisconsin to send Papa Joolie a copy of this column.
DEAR JERRY: One of the hit songs during World War II is “Remember Pearl Harbor.” Unfortunately, I do not recall the name of the band that recorded it. Do you?
Has it ever been put onto a CD?
By the way, I am a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc., Suncoast Chapter No. 1.
Charles Aslanian, Port Richey, Fla.
DEAR CHARLES: Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra had a Top 5 hit with “Remember Pearl Harbor” (Victor 27738), recorded immediately after the December 7, 1941 attack. In January of '42, the tune made its chart debut.
I know of at least one CD containing this track, simply titled “Sammy Kaye” (Novus 3017-2-N).
The motto printed at the bottom your letterhead could not be more timely. It reads “Remember Pearl Harbor Keep America Alert.”
It could just as easily be “Remember September 11th Keep America Alert.”
IZ ZAT SO? Taking into account all fields of music, for all of time, only about two dozen performers have managed to chart 100 or more songs.
One of this select group, with 103 hits, is Sammy Kaye.