DEAR JERRY: In the 1950s and '60s, I frequently listened to KWBR and KDIA. Both served the San Francisco-Oakland area with an R&B/Soul format.
I recall they played the records of many white artists in the '50s, but aired far fewer in the '60s, even during the British Invasion.
Was this also the trend nationally?
Alan McCrary, Livermore, Calif.
DEAR ALAN: Very much so, as evidenced by reviewing America's No. 1 R&B/Soul hits for those two decades.
In the pre-rock years, of 94 No. 1 tunes, only "Cry," by Johnnie Ray and the Four Lads, was by white folks.
Then came the R&R stars, led by Elvis, and they accounted for 30 of the next 128 chart-toppers.
They even had more R&B No. 1s in 1958 than the black artists:
1952: "Cry" (Johnnie Ray and the Four Lads)
1956: "Hound Dog" (Elvis Presley)
1956: "Don't Be Cruel" (Elvis Presley)
1957: "All Shook Up" (Elvis Presley)
1957: "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (Elvis Presley)
1957: "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On" (Jerry Lee Lewis)
1957: "Diana" (Paul Anka)
1957: "Honeycomb" (Jimmie Rodgers)
1957: "Jailhouse Rock" (Elvis Presley)
1957: "Wake Up Little Susie" (Everly Brothers)
1958: "At the Hop" (Danny and the Juniors)
1958: "Raunchy" (Bill Justis and His Orchestra)
1958: "Tequila" (Champs)
1958: "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" (Elvis Presley)
1958: "All I Have to Do is Dream" (Everly Brothers)
1958: "Witch Doctor" (David Seville)
1958: "Splish Splash" (Bobby Darin)
1958: "Patricia" (Perez Prado and His Orchestra)
1958: "Just a Dream" (Jimmy Clanton and His Rockets)
1958: "Little Star" (Elegants)
1958: "When" (Kalin Twins)
1960: "Smokie - Part 2" (Bill Black's Combo)
1960: "White Silver Sands" (Bill Black's Combo)
1960: "Cathy's Clown" (Everly Brothers)
1962: "Sherry" (4 Seasons)
1962: "Big Girls Don't Cry" (4 Seasons)
1963: "Hey Paula" (Paul & Paula)
1963: "I Will Follow Him" (Little Peggy March)
1963: "It's My Party" (Lesley Gore)
1963: "Sugar Shack" (Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs)
1963: "Louie Louie" (Kingsmen)
Here's where the tide really turns. It would be over 18 years, or 374 different No. 1 R&B hits, before Daryl Hall & John Oates topped the charts with "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" in 1982.
DEAR JERRY: I just noticed the writers credited on my 45 of "I Gotta Know" are Paul Evans and Matt Williams.
Another record I bought around the same time was "Happy-Go-Lucky Me," written and sung by Paul Evans.
Even though it's a common name, might they be the same Paul Evans?
Chelsea Hanley, Evansville, Ind.
DEAR CHELSEA: Yes, in fact the Paul Evans who sang three consecutive Top 20 hits in 1959 and '60 "Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat"; "Midnite Special"; and "Happy-Go-Lucky Me" made most of his fortune writing hit tunes for other artists.
Paul's songs, including those with co-writers, have been recorded in several countries, but I'm listing only U.S. releases here (alphabetically):
"Blue River" (B-side of "Tell Me Why") Gold Record Award (Elvis Presley)
"Dix-A-Billy" (B-side of "I Cried a Tear") Gold Record Award (LaVern Baker)
"I Gotta Know" (B-side of "Are You Lonesome To-Night") Double Platinum Award (Elvis Presley)
"New Breed" (B-side of "Baby Get It (And Don't Quit It)" (Jackie Wilson)
"Our World" (Johnny Tillotson)
"Roses Are Red (My Love)" Gold Record Award (Bobby Vinton)
"Something Blue" on "Pot Luck" LP (Elvis Presley)
"The Next Step Is Love" (B-side of "I've Lost You") Gold Record Award (Elvis Presley)
"There's a Fool Born Every Minute" (Skeeter Davis)
"When" Gold Record Award (Kalin Twins)
"Worried Guy" (Johnny Tillotson)
(Gold equals one million units sold, Platinum is for two million.)
IZ ZAT SO? The reason record companies designated A and B sides was to suggest to media programmers and reviewers which side they felt had the greatest potential.
Promotional copies, pressed specifically for the media, usually indicated the company's A-side with "Plug Side," "This Side Please," or sometimes just a big "X," on the label.
Because there is no way to accurately determine if the customer is buying the record for one side or the other, or both, the writing royalties are paid equally.
When the same writer(s) baked both songs, they get twice as much bread.
To eliminate the possibility of programmers playing the B-side, the labels sometimes pressed promotional copies with the A-side track on both sides of the disc.
More often than not, the suggested A-side was the correct choice, though occasionally a B-side became the bigger hit.
One great example is Gloria Gaynor's No. 1 hit, "I Will Survive" (Polydor PD-14508).
Polydor issued the single in October 1978, with "Substitute" as the A-side.
How many times have you heard "Substitute" on the radio?
Fortunately, "I Will Survive" survived the factory faux pas.