Dear Jerry: I have a very difficult musical mystery for you to solve.
In the summer of 1969, before he became famous, Tony Orlando was a studio singer. A record came out then credited to a group with a name I don't recall, but it was really Tony Orlando.
Please tell me the name of the song and the group name used for it. _ Leon Sandora, McHenry, Ill.
Dear Leon: How does Make Believe by Wind sound? This Top 30 hit from the summer of '69 perfectly fits your description.
You have, though, overlooked Tony Orlando's 1961 rise to stardom, when he had three great chart hits: Halfway to Paradise, Bless You and Happy Times Are Here to Stay.
One year after the Wind release, Tony, with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent, returned to the charts as Dawn and ran off a streak of 20 hits over the next nine years.
A bit of mystery
Dear Jerry: You recently answered an inquiry from a reader in Florida about a song titled Janice Everywhere, recorded in the Milwaukee area by a Joseph Pauelka.
After your column ran, Joseph Pawleka (note spelling), a listener to my radio show on WTMJ, wrote the following to me:
"I'm writing about Jerry Osborne's Mr. Music column in the Journal-Sentinel. A reader, Jan McFall of St. Petersburg, claims to have a Milwaukee-issued 45 rpm of Janice Everywhere, from circa 1966.
"Well, I believe that is my song. I wrote Janice Everywhere in 1967, while living in West Allis, Wis. But the mystery is that I don't believe it was ever produced on record for sale. I did have a few demo copies made by the National Songwriters Guild but that's as far as it went.
"What's more, Jan McFall says the record is by Joseph Pauelka, and I am Joseph Pawelka. I know the demo was recorded by a pretty good singer, but I don't recall his name. It was not by me.
"I'm dying to know more about that record in Florida. Perhaps Ms. McFall will write again with more information. A photocopy of the label would be especially helpful.
"On another matter, you were absolutely correct that De Guello is played in the film Rio Bravo. The song was traditionally used to wear down the resistance of opponents by Mexican armies and to strengthen the resolve of the Latin forces.
De Guello means "no quarter," or (not literally) "take no prisoners." Reportedly, General Santa Ana played it continuously for over 24 hours during the battle at the Alamo." _ Jack Baker, Elm Grove, Wis.
Dear Jack and Joe: Oh what a tangled web we weave. Now let's hope that Jan McFall (whose address I did not keep) will come through with a photocopy of the label. Janice, indeed, seems to be everywhere.
Thanks also, Jack, for the De Guello tidbit.
Dear Jerry: While stationed in Chicago in the mid-'60s I heard a tune I fell in love with. It has no lyrics, just whistling, and the improbable title I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman.
I have never heard it again so was it just a local item, or did it go national? Music store clerks look at me as if I am demented when I mention this, so please help save my sanity. _ Charles D. Jameson, Puyallup, Wash.
Dear Charles: One thing I have learned from my dozen years of writing this column is that an infallible parallel exists between folks asking a music store clerk about anything older than a decade, and the questioning of one's sanity.
I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman, a nationwide Top 20 hit from mid-1967, is by Whistling Jack Smith.
No Chipmunks there
Dear Jerry: Since it came out in late 1958, The Chipmunk Song has remained one of my favorite Christmas songs. This recording caused a sales sensation when it came out, went quickly to No. 1 and has become a Christmas standard.
Despite all that success in America, I have a friend who grew up in England and she swears The Chipmunk Song was not a hit there. She says she never heard it until coming to the United States.
Can you look into this? It doesn't seem possible. _ Roy Fisher, Franklin, Va.
Dear Roy: Your Brit pal is tellin' it bloody straight, mate. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas, Don't Be Late) does not appear anywhere, at any time, on the New Musical Express charts.
In fact, none of the Chipmunks' two-dozen hits in America made much of a splash across the pond. Only Ragtime Cowboy Joe charted on N.M.E. Even without Chipmunkmania, this one did slightly better in the U.K. than stateside, reaching No. 11 there and No. 16 here.
Also, the Chipmunk forerunner, David Seville's mid-1958 No. 1 hit Witch Doctor, reached the N.M.E. Top 10. The success of the speeded-up, Chipmunk-like voice in Witch Doctor ("ooh ee, ooh ah ah, ting-tang wolla-wolla bing-bang") paved the way for the squirrelly voices of Alvin, Theodore and Simon.
Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368, e-mail: jojerryosborne.com, or visit his web site: www.jerryosborne.com. 1999 World Features Syndicate Inc.