DEAR JERRY: I have both the Original 1964 Buena Vista Soundtrack LP for “Mary Poppins” (BVS-4026) and a 45 rpm single (F-434), both featuring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, and the Pearlies.
“Super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious” is on the LP and the single, and is hyphenated on both. I have also seen it on other records without hyphens.
I bring this up because “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” with its 34 letters, is widely regarded as the longest word in a song title. But, even with one hyphen, let alone six, I don't think it qualifies as just one word.
If it doesn't count, then what would be the new longest word used in a title?
Jackie Woodside, Eugene, Ore.
DEAR JACKIE: For this purpose, any concern over hyphenation is moot.
Even the records from Disney's Buena Vista show this title both ways.
FYI: This music and film subsidiary gets it name from the street in Burbank that is home to the Disney studios (500 S. Buena Vista St.).
Interestingly, the single you mention does read “Super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious,” but the picture sleeve for that same record has “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” in huge letters on the front.
The clincher is seeing songwriter and music publisher representative, Broadcast Music, Incorporated (BMI), giving the legal title as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (BMI Work #1433285).
It clearly qualifies as one word.
Now comes my Perry Mason moment.
There is a co-champion in this event, another one-word, hyphenless, 34-letter title. One of just four tracks on Isaac Hayes' first LP, the Gold Record award-winning “Hot Buttered Soul” (Enterprise 1001), is “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic.”
When issued in 1969, the mainstream music industry was stunned seeing a pop (not jazz or classical) album with over 45 minutes comprised by just four selections. Those contents and running times are: (Side 1) “Walk on By” (12:02); “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic” (9:36); (Side 2) “One Woman” (5:08); and the protracted “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (18:42), the first 8:38 being an introductory narrative.
To get the radio play that generates lucrative singles sales, edited versions of “Walk on By” (4:33) and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (6:46) were coupled as Enterprise 9003. Both sides became Top 30 hits.
DEAR JERRY: From one of your January columns I learned that Conqueror was a discount line of records made for sale at Sears & Roebuck stores. I think I have one of those.
We no longer have a phonograph, but packed away amongst a bunch of records is a Conqueror 78, with red labels, titled “M & O Blues.” I have never understood what “M & O” stands for, though one blues collector thinks it is means Mine & Oil.
Do you know?
Sonny Sherman, Detroit
DEAR SONNY: Yes, and if it's been awhile since you last laid eyes on “M & O Blues” (Champion 50023), it is understandable how Conqueror could be confused with Champion.
Both names begin with C, both have red labels with a similar layout and design, and both were of lower quality materials made for sale at a reduced cost.
“M&O Blues,” by Willie Brown, refers specifically to the Mobile & Ohio Railroad (1848-1940), which originally ran between Mobile, Ala. and the Ohio River, near Cairo, Ill. It did not serve the state of Ohio.
The first verse makes it clear: “I'm gonna catch that M 'n' O, I'm goin' way down south … gonna build me a mansion out on Decatur Hill.” No mention is made of a mine or refinery.
The Champion single, issued in 1935, is actually a budget line reissue of Paramount 13090, made in 1930. Both have “Future Blues” for the B-side.
Does “packed away” mean stored in an attic or basement, or perhaps a safe deposit box? I hope it's the latter.
That's because the current value of Champion 50023 is $8,000 to $12,000. And you can double that for the Paramount original!
IZ ZAT SO? If a $20,000” price tag on Paramount 13090 is an eye-opener, even more might be paid for either of the other two Paramount singles by Willie Brown.
One came before and one after “M & O Blues”: “Grandma Blues”/“Sorry Blues” (13001) and “Kickin' in My Sleep Blues”/“Window Blues” (13099). All are from the class of 1930.
By all accounts these two should exist; however, we have yet to confirm a copy of either.
In an appropriate auction, a hammer price of $30,000 to $50,000 would not be surprising.
Got one lying around that you don't need?