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Haunting song's mystery may be solved

Question: Can one learn exactly how many copies of certain records have sold? It's fun to learn their chart rankings, but I'd like actual sales numbers.

Also, there was a great single played circa 1963 (on WIBC Indianapolis) with a title something like Welcome Home. It has a female sound, much like the Shirelles. So I listened to their Welcome Home Baby, but it's not the same song.

My Welcome Home didn't chart very high nor was it played for long. Like you, I am a former dee jay, but I'm stumped on this one. Please help me find the artist of this beautiful song. _ Jerry Hagen, Indian Rocks Beach

Question: Could it be Shelley Fabares' 1963 tune titled exactly that: Welcome Home (Colpix 705)?

Then there's Welcome Home by either Mary Dee (Lily 507) or Judy Thomas (Philips 40011), both from 1962.

All the other songs with similar titles from around the time you mention are by male singers, which rules them out.

I should also point out that none of these charted nationally. Perhaps one of them did in Indianapolis.

Wild claims of success made by those with a vested interest notwithstanding, I know of no reliable source for exact sales data. Even the respected trades, Billboard, Cash Box, Record World, etc., have faced critics who suggest the chart systems _ supposedly sales based _ are, at best, flawed, at worst, influenced in nefarious ways.

Question: I am in a real dither and need your help.

I'm searching for an album titled The Last Temptation of Elvis. It's not by Elvis, but is a collection of his songs by other singers.

Have you ever heard of this album? Do you have any idea where I can get a copy before Christmas? _ Claudia Hansen, Calumet City, Ill.

Dear Claudia: With a deadline bearing down on us, we had better get busy.

The Last Temptation of Elvis (NME 038-039) is a two-disc CD set, made in 1990 for the New Musical Express, an English music publication. Though issued only in Great Britain, the artists featured came from all over the world, performing songs from Presley films.

Among the wildly contrasting cast are: Paul McCartney It's Now Or Never); Bruce Springsteen Viva Las Vegas); Robert Plant Let's Have a Party); Dion DiMucci Mean Woman Blues); Cramps Jailhouse Rock); Aaron Neville (Young and Beautiful); Pop Will Eat Itself Rock-A-Hula Baby); and the Blow Monkeys Follow That Dream). Capping the 26 tracks is Presley's own King of the Whole Wide World.

Your best bet is to contact shops in the UK. Here are a couple names to get you undithered: 1. The Elvis Shop, 400A High St. North, Manor Park, England E12. 2. Elvisly Yours, P.O. Box 315, London NW10 England.

Question:: An expensive lunch is riding on your reply. Did Roy Orbison ever have a hit with Unchained Melody? _ Doug Lippert via the internet

Dear Doug: Whomever is betting that a Roy Orbison waxing of Unchained Melody became a hit will be picking up this hefty check.

Here is the chart history of Unchained Melody: In 1955 there were three huge singles in America of this haunting melody (from the film Unchained), the best-selling being by Les Baxter (Capitol 3055), a No. 1 hit. Others that made the Top 10 are by Roy Hamilton _ not Orbison _ (Epic 9102), and, of course, Al Hibbler (Decca 29441).

Others with hit versions of Unchained Melody are June Valli (1955); Vito and the Salutations (1963); Righteous Brothers (1965); Sweet Inspirations (1968); Joe Stampley (1975); Elvis Presley (1978); George Benson (1979); Heart (1981), and again, the Righteous Brothers (1990).

IZ ZAT SO? A couple of years before he began a string of over two-dozen chart hits, Bobby Goldsboro toured and performed as a member of Roy Orbison's band, the Candy Men.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368, e-mail: jpomail.com, or visit his home page: www.jerryosborne.com. All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 1997 World Features Syndicate Inc.

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