DEAR JERRY: You have Pizzazzzzzzzz, and we all love your column!
Recently, you ran a piece about Dante and the Evergreens along with a letter from Tony Moon, one of the group. Well, I am that Dante, and I'd like to thank you for the story.
We loved the music (“Alley Oop,” etc.) and tours back then, but since those days I have mostly been working to spread a little love.
For the last 47 years I have been trying to improve education in poverty zones as well as on Indian reservations.
Our humanitarian outreach, which crosses America, is backed by A&M Records, Galpin Motors, Yamaha Music Inc., along with thousands of volunteers.
All of our 35 programs for challenged youth, military personnel and their families, and seniors, are offered free of charge.
I am proud to have received two Jefferson Awards (U.S. Presidential medals) for founding both Project TOUCH and the American Music Project.
We've gotten great support from Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, Jerry Moss, Sting, Amy Grant, Paul Williams, Captain & Tennille, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Richard & Karen Carpenter, Mel Blanc, Ron Howard, and dozens more movie and recording stars a few of whom are no longer with us.
Often we take major music stars such as these with us to do concerts for the children.
We also deliver goods to hospitals, orphanages, schools (public and private), reservations, and elsewhere.
Your readers are invited to join hands with us and help some needy kids.
Our address is PO Box 878, Paradise, CA. 95967. The phone number is (530) 877-2700.
Don Drowty, Paradise, Calif.
DEAR DON: Thanks for the nice letter, and it is a pleasure to help spread the word of your worthwhile projects. Alley Oop would be proud of you.
In anticipation of letters I know we'll get from music lovers having trouble finding your original releases, they can take comfort knowing a CD of those wonderful tracks is available from that same address.
DEAR JERRY: In the 1960s, Wynton Marsalis won an Academy Award for classical music.
I thought these recordings were excellent, and even my teenage son, who doesn't normally listed to that style, agreed.
Since I have forgotten nearly everything about this music, do you have that information?
Bess D. Gruning, Menomonee Falls, Wisc.
DEAR BESS: Every detail.
First, you should know that Wynton, born in 1961, didn't have an album out until 1981.
And though he has nine Grammy Awards on the mantle, he does not yet own an Oscar (Academy Award).
However, you are absolutely right about his award-winning digression into the classical field not once but twice.
The trumpeter known primarily for his jazz albums claimed his first Best Classical Performance (Instrumental Soloist) Grammy in 1983 for “Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E Flat - Mozart: Trumpet Concerto in D - Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E Flat.”
The following year he and soprano Edita Gruberova shared the Grammy in the same category for “Handel, Purcell, Torelli, Fasch, and Molter.”
One of these is bound to be the album prompting your letter.
DEAR JERRY: I listen to a morning team of dee jays on a rock station and the two of them often engage in music trivia talk.
Their latest claim is that in the entire Rock Era, no vinyl record ever made its debut at No. 1.
Could this be true? Did I hear right? What about the Beatles? I could swear “I Want to Hold Your Hand” came from out of nowhere to No. 1.
Buddy Wainwright, Seattle, Wash.
DEAR BUDDY: You heard right and they told the truth.
Yes, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” did debut at No. 1 in several regional markets, including Los Angeles where I lived at the time.
However, this tune debuted nationally January 11, 1964 at No. 80 on Cash Box.
You'll be amused to know “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was not even the highest newcomer that week, an honor went to “Talking About My Baby,” by the Impressions (No. 45).
One week later (January 18), the Beatles made their Billboard debut at No. 45.
By January 25 they were No. 1 on Cash Box, and likewise on Billboard February 1.
IZ ZAT SO? From 1950 through 1994 the Rock Era plus the highest debut position ever for a single is No. 2, and it happened only once:
On October 20, 1956 Elvis Presley's “Love Me Tender” made its Billboard debut at No. 2, topped only by the two-sided smash
“Don't Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog.”
I suppose if you're going to be blocked at the top, you'd want it to be by another of your own records.