DEAR JERRY: A co-worker who delights in music trivia recently pulled this one on me:
He asked if I knew which pop singing star once lived in the Brentwood (Calif.) house owned by O.J. Simpson, and seen so often on TV during the investigation and his trial.
Having never heard any reference made during the trial to a previous resident, I gave up. He then said Carly Simon lived there before O.J.
If true, I am surprised this never got mentioned by the media back when this was the country's top news story.
What do you think about this?
Nancy Tillman, Huntsville, Ala.
DEAR NANCY: Though the question could have been phrased a bit better, I think your trivia-loving friend knows what he's talking about.
To be precise, it should have been which pop singing “stars” lived at 360 N. Rockingham, as James Taylor, Carly's husband then, qualifies as a star, as does Tony Orlando.
In the mid-'70s, Carly, James, and newly-born Sarah “Sally” Maria, rented there 20 years before the Simpson case made it one of the most talked-about addresses of the decade.
In a statement posted at Carly's web site, she recalls having this reaction to seeing the TV coverage of the end of the Bronco chase:
“It was eerie to watch his Bronco pull into my driveway that day, those many years later.”
After Carly and clan left California for New York, Tony Orlando became the new tenant at 360. He stayed until 1977 when Simpson bought the property.
By not keeping up with the payments, O.J. lost the home in a 1997 foreclosure proceeding.
After such infamy, it is perhaps fitting that the next owner razed all the structures and announced plans to build a new home on the site.
We jump now from real-life to a fictitious tragedy:
DEAR JERRY: I am searching for information about a 45 rpm record I bought in the mid-to-late '50s, or maybe even the early '60s. It is titled “Goodbye Baby.”
In my searching, I have found many other songs from that era with that same title, but none are the one I seek.
This song has a guy arguing with his wife or girl friend. It ends with him shooting her, then turning the gun on himself.
I used to think it was so weird and yet funny at the time. Do you know this song?
Tony, via e-mail
DEAR TONY: Not only do I know it but I chose it as one of the tracks for a concept CD put out four years ago.
Issued in late 1952, “Goodbye Baby” became a Top 5 R&B hit for Little Caesar (Recorded in Hollywood 235). You could have acquired your copy at any time after '52, thus the uncertainty about its release date.
Titled “Last Kiss - Songs of Teen Tragedy” (Varese Sarabande 302 066 150 2), Little Caesar's murder-suicide fiasco is one of 14 such tracks on the CD I mentioned.
Another very similar homicide-set-to-music recording is “There is Something on Your Mind, Parts 1 and 2,” by Bobby Marchan (1960), which is also found in this collection. The file on this case reports that both the unfaithful girl friend and her lover ended up DOA.
Probably against his attorney's advice, and in the pre-Miranda era, Marchan then records his confession for all the world to hear.
You're absolutely right. Weird and funny stuff.
IZ ZAT SO? Little Caesar, who is not connected to groups like Little Caesar and the Romans (“Those Oldies But Goodies”) and Little Caesar and the Consuls (“[My Girl] Sloopy”), may seem like a stage name, but is not. His name is Harry Caesar (1928-1994).
Portraying the killer in the recorded melodrama, “Goodbye Baby,” may have inspired Caesar to pursue an acting career, for he later appeared in 34 feature films and about a dozen TV shows.
Among his film credits are some titles you will surely recognize: “A Few Good Men; Lady Sings the Blues; Casey's Shadow; Emperor of the North; The Longest Yard;” and “Bird on a Wire.”
Further connecting these two topics is that Harry Caesar died in the greater Los Angeles area on June 12, 1994 the same day as did Nicole Brown Simpson.