Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

In syndication since 1986, and now in our 30th year — Over 3,000 questions answered
Most recent column here — 18 years of archived ones are linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

DEAR JERRY: The "hit" (A-side) of Les Paul and Mary Ford's "Amukiriki" is backed with "Magic Melody" (Capitol 3248), an instrumental with a peculiar ending.

It seems "Magic Melody" was intended to end with the seven guitar notes to the jingle, "shave and a hair-cut, two bits." But the two "two bits" notes are missing.

Any idea why?
—Johanna Schmidt, Tulsa, Okla.

DEAR JOHANNA: I cannot imagine Les Paul, a guitar virtuoso, making a mistake, so I believe "Magic Melody" intentionally ends two notes short.

If getting the listener's attention was the goal, you have proven their gimmick to be successful.

What Capitol may not have anticipated was the number of dee jays who complained about the nonconforming ending.

The company's solution was to press single-sided 45 rpms (Capitol PRO-234), with just the final two notes ("two bits") that are missing from the commercial singles.

Titled "Magic Melody - Part II (Time: One Second)," radio stations could easily record both parts on tape and splice them together.

In the process, this special promotional disc has the honor of containing the shortest piece of music ever on a record.

DEAR JERRY: From past columns, I know there were upbeat songs titled "Rock and Roll" made in the 1940s, but none of those became popular.

The earliest significant hit I know with those three words is Kay Starr's "Rock and Roll Waltz," from 1956. But are there others earlier in the decade that made the year-end Top 100?

How about taking it from 1956 through 1989?
—Ronny Einziger, Staten Island, N.Y.

DEAR RONNY: My answer is in two parts, the first specifically regarding songs from each year's Top Pop 100, with "rock and roll," or an acceptable variation ("rock & roll," "rock 'n' roll," etc.) in the title.

And you are right about "The Rock and Roll Waltz"; there are none before it, and only 11 more through 1989. Or, make it just 12 in 40 years!

1956
"The Rock and Roll Waltz" (Kay Starr)

1957
"Rock & Roll Music" (Chuck Berry)

1967
"I Dig Rock and Roll Music" (Peter, Paul & Mary)

1972
"Rock and Roll Part 2" (Gary Glitter)
"Rock and Roll Lullaby" (B.J. Thomas)

1974
"Rock and Roll Heaven" (Righteous Brothers)

1976
"Rock and Roll Music" (Beach Boys)

1977
"That's Rock 'N Roll" (Shaun Cassidy)

1979
"Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy" (Bad Company)

1980
"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" (Billy Joel)

1982
"I Love Rock 'N Roll" (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts)

1984
"The Heart of Rock & Roll" (Huey Lewis & the News)

For part two, we expand the parameters to include rock; rock-a-billy; rockin'; rock-in; and rocking.

Still, only 10 of the entire 40 years (1950-1990) have multiple entries, and 15 years have none:

1951
"Castle Rock" (Frank Sinatra & Harry James)

1955
"Rock Around the Clock" (Bill Haley & His Comets)
"Rock Love" (Fontane Sisters)

1956
"Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" (Jerry Lewis) (1956)

1957
"Jailhouse Rock" (Elvis Presley)
"Jingle Bell Rock" (Bobby Helms)
"Rock-a-Billy" (Guy Mitchell)

1958
"Rock-in Robin" (Bobby Day)

1959
"Red River Rock" (Johnny and the Hurricanes)

1960
"A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love)" (Dinah Washington & Brook Benton)

1962
"Limbo Rock" (Chubby Checker)

1969
"Rock Me" (Steppenwolf)

1971
"Rock Steady" (Aretha Franklin)

1972
"Rockin' Robin" (Michael Jackson)

1973
"Crocodile Rock" (Elton John)

1974
"Rock Your Baby" (George McCrae)
"Rock Me Gently" (Andy Kim)
"Rock the Boat" (Hues Corporation)
"Rock On" (David Essex)
"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" (Reunion)

1976
"Rock'n Me" (Steve Miller)

1980
"Rock With You" (Michael Jackson)

1982
"Rock This Town" (Stray Cats)

1983
"Rock the Casbah" (Clash)

1986
"Rock Me Amadeus" (Falco)
"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (A Salute to '60s Rock)" (John Cougar Mellencamp)

1987
"Rock Steady" (Whispers)

1989
"Rock On" (Michael Damian)
"Rock Wit'cha" (Bobby Brown)

IZ ZAT SO? In case you think of a "rock" selection that is not listed above, it may be in one of these two groups.

These have a qualifying title, but did not make the year-end Top 100:

"Castle Rock" (Fontane Sisters) (1951)
"Castle Rock" (Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra) (1951)
"Chinese Rock and Egg Roll" (Buddy Hackett) (1956)
"It's Only Rock 'N Roll (But I Like It)" Rolling Stones (1974)
"Mambo Rock" (Bill Haley & His Comets) (1955)
"Rock and Roll Wedding" (Sunny Gale) (1956)
"Rock Around Mother Goose" (Barry Gordon) (1956)
"Rock Right" (Georgia Gibbs) (1956)
"R-O-C-K" (Bill Haley & His Comets) (1956)
"Rockin' Through the Rye" (Bill Haley & His Comets) (1956)
"Rudy's Rock" (Bill Haley & His Comets) (1956)
"The Rockin' Ghost" (Archie Bleyer) (1956)
"The Saints Rock 'N Roll" (Bill Haley & His Comets) (1956)

These five hard rock tunes must wait until we list titles inspired by mineral matter and cradlesongs:
"I Am a Rock" (Simon & Garfunkel) (1966)
"Love on the Rocks" (Neil Diamond) (1981)
"Loves Me Like a Rock" (Paul Simon & the Dixie Hummingbirds) (1973)
"Rock Island Line" (Lonnie Donegan) (1956)
"Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" (Jerry Lewis) (1956)

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