DEAR JERRY: This is a follow-up to your mid-August column, wherein you indicated you would like to hear Jack songwriter Jack Lawrence's side of the “Linda” story. Well, here it is, as excerpted from an old issue of “Sheet Music Magazine” as well as from a National Public Radio interview, conducted when Linda McCartney died:
“It was 1943. One day, my attorney at the time [Lee Eastman] said to me, “Jack, do me a favor. My wife, Louise, has a great song in her name, my son, Johnny, has lots of 'Johnny' songs he can claim, my daughter, Laura, is proud of that beautiful song, “Laura,” but my other daughter, Linda, feels left out. How about writing a song especially for her?
“Being a good friend, I obliged. Then I started making the rounds of the publishers, trying to sell them “Linda.” But would you believe that nothing happened with that song until 1946. Ray Noble somehow got hold of a copy and, fell in love with the song and made the most exciting recording of it, with Buddy Clark doing the vocal. After all those years trying to place that song, Ray and Buddy's recording made in an overnight sensation.
“So five-year-old Linda Eastman finally had her own song, and grew up to marry Paul McCartney and join his band. I like to think my song had something to do with all of that.
“We had newspapers taking pictures of little Linda sitting on the piano with me playing . I got a note from her about a year before she died, and she said “Paul and I love every time they play your song “Linda,” and I still can't believe to this day that it was written about me and for me.”
“One final word about “Linda.” A group of ladies in the Midwest started a club called L.I.N.D.A. (Lindas Involved in Network Development Association). Every one of them claims they had been named after the song. I don't know of any other songwriter who has clubs or conventions named after one of his songs.”
Karen Kernman, Harrisburg, Pa.
DEAR KAREN: The personal account from Mr. Lawrence of how “Linda” came to be is exactly what we needed to settle this question for good.
Thanks also to Joy Katzen-Guthrie (Palm Harbor, Fla.), Betty Degner (Milwaukee, Wisc.), Del Jenkins (Calvert City, Ky.) and “Linda in Wisconsin,” for sending essentially the same information.
DEAR JERRY: Sometime in the late '50s or very early '60s, I remember a song that I believe was called “Hello, Roommate.” I've searched everywhere and can't find it. The voice was kind of like that of Frankie Avalon or Tommy Sands. Can you help?
Mary Pat Williamson, Evansville, Ind.
DEAR MARY PAT: Actually the voice is a lot like Vic Dana. When first issued, in November 1961, “Hello, Roommate” got played in some markets, including Los Angeles, where I lived. Then some dee jays discovered “Little Altar Boy” on the flip side and started playing it as a Christmas song, and the rest is Holiday history.
Despite having no real Christmas connection, “Little Altar Boy” has become a Holiday standard and “Hello, Roommate” (Dolton 48) is long forgotten - except by a few like you and yours truly. I always preferred that side of this release, which, by the way, should be available for about $10.00.
IZ ZAT SO? As with too many of our top entertainers, Buddy Clark died very young. He was killed in a plane crash October 1, 1949 at the age of 37.