DEAR JERRY: Someone on Facebook recently posted this interesting piece of music trivia:
“Alan O'Day, earned the RIAA Gold Record award for his No. 1 hit “Undercover Angel.” He is the only artist from the '50s, '60s, or '70s with a certified million-seller who had no other Top 60 hits on any of the national charts.”
I can think of several others with only one big hit, but they may not meet the other criteria in the claim.
Can you explain and perhaps verify this?
Lynn Pulsipher, Indianapolis
DEAR LYNN: Assuming your memory of the Facebook post is accurate, their trivia tidbit stops just a tad short of providing the complete story.
They could have sealed the deal by having the first sentence read: “Alan O'Day, earned one RIAA Gold Record award for his No. 1 hit “Undercover Angel,” and another for writing Helen Reddy's “Angie Baby.”
That modification would have definitely set him apart from the other one-hit wonders, each with a Recording Industry Association of America Gold Record, yet no other Top 60 hits, etc.
Of which there are only two from that 30 year period:
Laurie London, who earned Gold from the RIAA in 1958 for “He's Got the Whole World in His Hands,” is one, and Robin Scott (recording as “M”) is the other. His golden disc is for “Pop Musik,” a New Wave sensation in 1979.
Alan O'Day is still active. He wrote and sings the title song for the 2012 movie “You Don't Say,” produced by Robert Alaniz. In one of Alan's recorded chats with Robert, he shares some background on “Angie Baby,” and how it found its way to Helen Reddy:
“Angie Baby” was my attempt to write a song, one like Paul McCartney might do about a contemporary woman. The normal woman that was the original heroine of my song had to get changed in order to be more interesting. So I started screwing her up.
“At the time, I was a staff songwriter at Warner Bros. Music, a publishing company, and when I brought “Angie” in everyone was excited about her.
“Warner knew Cher was looking for new material then, so they took the song to her first, but she wasn't interested. Next, they sent it to Jeff Wald, Helen Reddy's husband at the time. Jeff and Helen both loved it.
“One morning while I was driving, “Angie Baby” came on the radio. It took me a couple of minutes to realize it was mine.
“Helen did a great job on it, and it went to No. 1 and sold about two million copies.”
Besides writing for Helen Reddy and himself, Alan penned some significant hits for other artists, including: Bobby Sherman (“The Drum,” 1971); Righteous Brothers (“Rock and Roll Heaven,” 1974); and Cher (“Train of Thought,” 1974). This time, Cher did not let get a good song slip away.
DEAR JERRY: Country Music News lists this week's (March 23) two top songs as “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” by Blake Shelton, followed by “Mama's Broken Heart,” by his wife, Miranda Lambert.
They indicate it's the first time ever for a married couple to separately rank No. 1 and No. 2.
If George Jones and Tammy Wynette didn't manage to do that during their prime, they must have come darn close.
Am I right or wrong?
Steve Gipson, Hendersonville, Tenn.
DEAR STEVE: You are oh so right, and now you'll have the proof.
For two weeks in July of 1972, Billboard's top three country tunes were:
1. “It's Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer” (Charley Pride)
2. “Reach Out Your Hand” (Tammy Wynette)
3. “Loving You Could Never Be Better” (George Jones)
Obviously, you can't get much closer to having the top two than that, and George and Tammy were indeed married at the time.
That same summer, “The Ceremony,” one of many duets by “the Jones and Wynette set,” was headed toward a spot in the Top 10.
Their household was represented in every configuration possible.
From 1967 through '77, just Tammy's first 10 years on the scene, the number of hit records for her and George, individually and in assorted duets, is staggering.
Tammy Wynette: 40 Hot Country Single hits, including 13 duets, two with David Houston and 11 with George Jones. Of those 40 titles, 33 were Top 10 and 20 reached No. 1.
George Jones: 48 Hot Country Single hits, including 14 duets, 11 with Tammy Wynette, and one each with Melba Montgomery, Brenda Carter, and his stepdaughter, Tina Byrd. Of those 48 titles, 30 were Top 10 and six reached No. 1.
IZ ZAT SO? In October 1973, “We're Gonna Hold On” became the first No. 1 hit for George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
That marked only the third time ever that a husband-wife duo topped the country survey.
First came “Don't Let Me Cross Over,” by Carl and Pearl Butler (1962), then “Tennessee Bird Walk,” by Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan (1970).
Married or not, here are all of the No. 1 duet country hits (1953-1981):
1953: “A Dear John Letter” Jean Shepard & Ferlin Huskey
1954: “One By One” Kitty Wells & Red Foley
1956: “Why Baby Why” Red Sovine & Webb Pierce
1962: “Don't Let Me Cross Over” Carl Butler & Pearl
1965: “Yes, Mr. Peters” Roy Drusky & Priscilla Mitchell
1967: “My Elusive Dreams” David Houston & Tammy Wynette; “For Loving You” Bill Anderson & Jan Howard
1970: “Tennessee Bird Walk” Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
1971: “After the Fire Is Gone” Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn; “Lead Me On ” Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
1973: “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn; *“We're Gonna Hold On” George Jones & Tammy Wynette
1974: “As Soon As I Hang Up the Phone” Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn; “Please Don't Stop Loving Me” Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton
1975: “Feelins” Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
1976: “Sometimes” Bill Anderson & Mary Lou Turner; “Good Hearted Woman” Waylon & Willie; “Golden Ring” George Jones & Tammy Wynette; “I Don't Want to Have to Marry You” Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius
1977: “Near You” George Jones & Tammy Wynette
1978: “Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” Waylon & Willie; “Every Time Two Fools Collide” Kenny Rogers & Dottie West; “On My Knees” Charlie Rich & Janie Fricke
1979: “All I Every Need Is You” Kenny Rogers & Dottie West; “Heartbreak Hotel” Willie Nelson & Leon Russell; “Just Good Ol' Boys” Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley.
1980: “Bar Room Buddies” Merle Haggard & Clint Eastwood
1981: “You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma” David Frizzell & Shelly West; “What Are We Doin' in Love” Dottie West & Kenny Rogers