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Music lovers offer more help for Melinda

Question: Regarding the recent inquiry from Melinda Lepper of Oklahoma City, who asked for help in locating the 1970 song that inspired her name.

Could it possibly be Melinda, taken from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever? _ Marjorie M. La Rosa, Manasquan, N.J.

Dear Marjorie: You and dozens of other readers nominated Melinda from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever as a likely candidate.

Because Malinda by Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers became such a big hit and fits the time frame perfectly, I'm still betting it's the one _ at least until we hear something to the contrary from Melinda Lepper.

But, digging deeper into the mailbag revealed other creative alternatives. Read on.

Question: Could Melinda Lepper's name have been inspired by Neil Diamond's first hit, Solitary Man? As you'll recall, the opening line is, Melinda was mine till the time that I found her holding Jim, etc.

Though first issued in 1966, it would have been played regularly as an oldie in 1969, the period in question. _ Andy Restivo, Mattoon, Ill.

Question: I'll propose Uriah Heep's Come Away Melinda as a possible answer for Melinda Lepper. This song, from around 1969 or '70, tells the sad but beautiful story of a dying mother. FM radio stations in the south play it occasionally. _ John Fussell, Huntsville, Ala.

Question: I suspect the inspiration for Melinda Lepper's name may have been Come Away Melinda, recorded by Judy Collins on her 1960s album Judy Collins 3.

It is an anti-war song and one that I'm familiar with since my daughter is also named Melinda. _ Gary Boyd, Remson, N.J.

Question: Which singer or group had the most No. 1 singles during one calendar year? _ Earl Musselman, Paducah, Ky.

Dear Earl: Add this honor to the many claimed by the Beatles. In 1964, John, Paul, George and Ringo hit No 1 six times, with I Want to Hold Your Hand; She Loves You; Can't Buy Me Love; Love Me Do; A Hard Day's Night and I Feel Fine. The first three were consecutive No. 1s _ a record the Beatles share with Elvis.

Question: There is an old country song, part talking and part singing, by a man who begins by explaining that the perfect country song should have lyrics about prison, trucks, trains and momma. He then proceeds to include them all with lines like "It rained on my truck as I crossed the railroad tracks on my way to get momma out of prison."

Can you help me locate this song? _ Ro Sloane, Federal Way, Wash.

Dear Ro: The title of this wacky tune is You Never Even Called Me By My Name, but you'd never guess it from the lyrics. Recorded by David Allan Coe (Columbia 10519), it became a Top 10 country hit in the summer of 1975.

1992 World Features Syndicate Inc.

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