DEAR JERRY: For nearly 50 years, I've wondered who is behind the male voice accompanying Aretha Franklin on "Mockingbird."
Their version is similar to duet hits by Inez & Charlie Foxx, and Carly Simon & James Taylor, except on those records both singers are appropriately credited. The label on Aretha Franklin's single lists only her.
Even the album, "Runnin' Out of Fools," with "Mockingbird" as the lead track, makes no mention of her partner.
Record surveys at the time also do not acknowledge this mysterious fellow.
Perhaps you'll have better luck naming him than I've had.
Dottie Waterford, Mt. Prospect, Ill.
DEAR DOTTIE: Okay, let's first get our ducks, er, birds in order.
Inez Foxx, and her older brother Charlie Foxx, wrote and recorded "Mockingbird" in 1963, and it became a Top 10 hit on all the national charts (Symbol 919).
Meanwhile, Aretha Franklin was mired in the middle of seven-plus dreadful years, from 1960 into '67, with Columbia Records.
During this stretch, Columbia released 25 singles, only one of which made the Top 40, and just barely. Peaking at No. 37 was "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" (1961).
The average peak position of the other 24 songs is No. 98! And that's not a typo.
As for "Mockingbird" (Columbia 4-44381), issued in 1967 after Aretha signed with Atlantic, it at least beat the average by reaching No. 94.
This disc didn't have much of a chance, since Aretha's "Chain of Fools" (Atlantic 2464) was hovering near the top of the charts, eventually reaching No. 2, while "Mockingbird" lingered near the bottom for two weeks, then vanished.
Franklin's unnamed singing partner is Ray Johnson, a singer and pianist who made a couple dozen records in the 1950s and '60s, but none that you would likely recognize.
Besides the Top 5 tune by Carly Simon and James Taylor (1974), two more male-female duos found a place on the country charts for a "Mockingbird" to perch: Terri Lane & Jimmy Nall (1974), and Toby Keith with his daughter Krystal (2005).
DEAR JERRY: A benefit of the digital era is the ability to more accurately track music sales.
With countless countries doing so and publishing their own sales charts, wouldn't it be possible for that data to be lumped together to create one worldwide chart?
Floyd Morton, New York City
DEAR FLOYD: No doubt that was a question the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) asked themselves when, in 2013, they introduced an annual Top 10 Global Recording Artist award.
This is the only chart that determines the global popularity of an artist, from streaming channels and downloads, to digital media (CDs and DVDs) and, of course, vinyl albums and singles.
Rankings reflect total sales from dozens of countries, including every conceivable format where music is purchased legally. The Top 10 Global Recording Artists of the past three years are:
2. Ed Sheeran
3. Taylor Swift
4. Justin Bieber
5. One Direction
7. Maroon 5
8. Sam Smith
10. The Weeknd
1. Taylor Swift
2. One Direction
3. Ed Sheeran
6. Michael Jackson
7. Pink Floyd
8. Sam Smith
9. Katy Perry
1. One Direction
3. Justin Timberlake
4. Bruno Mars
5. Katy Perry
7. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
9. Michael Bublé
10. Daft Punk
IFPI provides the recording industry with many services other than the Global Recording Artists awards.
They act as a voice of the recording industry worldwide, and currently represent the interests of 1,300 record companies from across the globe. Their annual "Recording Industry in Numbers" is a statistical analysis of the recorded music market worldwide, with in-depth statistics and analysis covering 49 territories.
IFPI is a non-profit organization with offices in Miami, London, Brussels, and Hong Kong.
IZ ZAT SO? The Weeknd, act No. 10 on the IFPI 2015 list, recently became the first artist in the history of the Billboard R&B Songs chart to hold the top three positions.
1. "Can't Feel My Face"
2. "The Hills"
3. "Earned It"