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Some answers to some of music's little questions

Published Oct. 21, 1994|Updated Oct. 7, 2005

Question: I have some questions that have been nagging me for years:

1. For Nat King Cole's Mr. Wishing Well backed with That Sunday, That Summer (Capitol 5027), which was the A-side?

2. When listening to I'm Happy Just to Dance with You, by the Beatles, I hear similarities to Cole Porter's Begin the Beguine. Did the Beatles ever face litigation regarding this matter?

3. Stamped in the vinyl trail-off on my copy of Shapes of Things, by the Yardbirds, is ZSP-113534-1E. On the flip side, New York City Blues, ZSP-113146-1B is stamped. What do the 1E and 1B mean?

4. How come the wonderful Who Wouldn't Love a Girl Like That, by Bobby Shafto, didn't make it? _ Robert Romero, Milwaukee

Dear Robert: 1. Both sides of the Nat King Cole single charted in the summer of '63, but That Sunday, That Summer reached No. 12, whereas Mr. Wishing Well only made it to No. 92.

2. To my knowledge there have been no claims of infringement regarding I'm Happy Just to Dance with You.

3. The numbers and/or letters following the hyphen show the take number _ not just in the example you cite but practically every serial or identification number for all manufacturers.

Not to be confused with a recording studio take, a manufacturing take represents a series of production steps: from a master tape to a lacquer to a mold, and finally to a stamper.

When the life of a stamper nears its end, the quality of the discs will suffer unless it is replaced with a fresh stamper. (Did you know that records are stamped, not cut?) The return to the master tape, followed by the making of a new lacquer, mold and stamper, constitutes a new take. Each time this cycle occurs, the process is reflected by a graduated take letter, generally added to the end of the serial number. The serial number itself usually remains constant throughout the production life of the recording.

4. There are as many great recordings that didn't become hits as ones that did. There is no one answer why. Perhaps such events as these inspired the often heard statement: life isn't necessarily fair.

Bobby Shafto's preceding release, She's My Girl (Rust 5082), also from 1964, did manage to chart, but only for one week, and reaching only No. 99. Seems like Bobby got the shafto.

Question: I read with interest some titles readers thought had great, or attention-getting beginnings. One that no one suggested is It's My Party, by Lesley Gore. I remember how often radio stations used to play this tune coming out of a newscast. Wow! _ Tim Farmer, Lisbon, Ohio

IZ ZAT SO? The above mention of It's My Party, now deservingly added to the list of records with great beginnings, reminds me of another Party hit, also with a powerful beginning: Party Lights by Claudine Clark.

These two tunes have more in common than similar titles and strong starts. Issued less than a year apart, both are by young female singers and both became the first hit for each girl. They also enjoyed similar sales. It's My Party hit No. 1 and remained charted 13 weeks. Party Lights peaked at No. 5 and stayed on the charts for 15 weeks.

1994, World Features Syndicate


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