DEAR JERRY: During the most recent season of American Idol, one of the girls sang Crystal Gayle's hit, “When I Dream.”
I don't recall which one chose this tune, but one of the judges said he'd never heard the song before.
I do have Crystal's recording; however, I once heard a beautiful rendition of it by Vic Damone.
I asked relatives and friends, including my brother who owns about 300 Vic Damone recordings. Still, none had ever heard “When I Dream.”
My brother checked each one of his records and came up empty-handed. I think he is beginning to view me with suspicion.
Please tell me I wasn't dreaming, and that Vic Damone did record this beautiful song.
Margaret Tellekamp Burke, Sewell, N.J.
DEAR MARGARET: You did not dream-up Vic Damone's “When I Dream.”
Though not nearly as well known as his 1940s and '50s Mercury and Columbia albums, Vic made a few LPs and CDs in the '80s for Vianda, an RCA Victor subsidiary label. One of these, “Love Letters” (Vianda 1112), includes Damone's waxing of “When I Dream.”
Now your no-longer-suspicious brother has one more album to add to his vast Vic collection.
Oh yes, Nadia Turner is the contestant who performed Crystal Gayle's hit on American Idol, and Randy Jackson is the judge who did not know the song.
No one knows every song ever recorded, but the judges surely have a list of each night's tunes and enough time to be properly prepared.
A blank look and an admission of not knowing a bona fide 1979 hit does nothing to boost credibility.
So much for Crystal's music. Now what about the Crystals?
DEAR JERRY: Add me to the list of people with earworms those snippets of mysterious songs that play over and over in the mind and preoccupy our thoughts.
Because I dearly loved the Phil Spector productions, and especially his Wall of Sound, I try to get all of those records I can.
But one has eluded me for four decades, and no one has ever been able to identify. Then you appeared, and hope renewed.
A often-played hit in the mid-'60s, the title may be “Standing in the Rain.” If not that, perhaps it's “Never Leave Your Sweetheart.”
If Spector didn't produce this one, it is an excellent copy of his Crystals-Ronettes styling. It may even be the Crystals under another name.
Bradley Joe Palmer, Huntsville, Ala.
DEAR BRADLEY: I didn't just appear. I've been here 20 years waiting to treat your earworm.
Your second choice is just one synonym shy from perfection. This tune is “Never Leave Your Sugar” (Zen 104), and the group is Buttons and the Beaus.
Though Phil did not produce “Never Leave Your Sugar,” it is a very Spectorish track. It came out in early 1963, not long after Phil's Wall of Sound fashioned “He's a Rebel” (Crystals), “He's Sure the Boy I Love” (Crystals), and “Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah” (Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans). Spector had yet to release his first Ronettes single, “Be My Baby.”
As for the “Standing in the Rain” portion of your earworm, those words merely follow the title: “Never leave your sugar standing in the rain.”
Armed with this information, and around $25, you should be able to add some Buttons and Beaus to your Wall of Soundalikes collection.
DEAR JERRY: You can settle this bet, I'll bet.
Did Barbra Streisand have any hits, on any charts, before “People”?
Joni Webber, Lakeland, Fla.
DEAR JONI: “People,” from the spring of 1964, is the first chart hit for Babs, but there are three earlier singles worth mentioning. “Happy Days Are Here Again” (Columbia 42631) and “My Coloring Book” (Columbia 42648) both came out in 1962, and “Make Believe” (Columbia 42937) in '63.
IZ ZAT SO? “When I Dream” became a Top 3 C&W hit for Crystal Gayle in the summer of '79, but the tune was not new to her that year.
Crystal originally recorded “When I Dream” strictly as an album track for her self-titled debut collection (United Artists UA-LA364) issued in February 1975.
She merely remade it in a more contemporary style.