1. Archive

This one goes way back

Question: Which living person had the earliest No. 1 hit? If Bob Hope reached No. 1, he might be the winner, but I don't think he did.

Answer: Bob Hope did occasionally record and even had a few chart hits with duets. Among his singing partners are Shirley Ross (Two Sleepy People, 1939); Bing Crosby (The Road to Morocco, 1945); and Margaret Whiting (Blind Date, 1950).

Even if Two Sleepy People had reached No. 1, it still wouldn't be as early as Begin the Beguine, a No. 1 single in November 1938. Since this exceptionally famous song is by the very-much-alive Artie Shaw, I would have to choose him as the answer to your question. Shaw turned 93 this past May 23.

Hits in another language

Question: This is a tough question to ask because the song is in French, and I can't come close to providing any of the words. It is a beautiful, sexy duet by a man and a woman. I'd love to hear it again but have no way of finding out its name. Plus, there is another foreign song, popular in 1973, that I hope you can identify. Perhaps it was saying something vulgar because it disappeared shortly after its release. Phonetically, it sounded like "Mama cu mama saw mama mawcu mawsaw." Any ideas about either of these?

Answer: You provided enough clues to pin down both tunes.

First is J'Taime? Moi Non Plus, a 1969 hit by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg (Fontana 1665). In France and England, this sensuous little number topped the charts that summer. The second song is Soul Makossa, a Top 40 hit for Africa's Manu Dibango (Atlantic 2971).

Things that go boom

Question: As a youngster, I was always doing experiments around the house. Since some of them blew up, usually in the kitchen sink, my father bought me a novelty record titled Roger Boom, which I think is by Larry Hooper. It probably came out in the late '40s or early '50s.

Answer: Are you sure Larry Hooper didn't record this tune with you in mind? You have the artist correct; but the title is just different enough to make it difficult to search for information. It is The Ballad of Roger Boom, backed with The Fourth R (Religion) (Coral 61763). Larry Hooper, long-time bass singer on the Lawrence Welk Show, had this release out just in time for Christmas of 1956.

Iz zat so?

At just 21 years of age, Artie Shaw became the No. 1 lead-alto sax and clarinet player in the New York area, constantly in demand by radio stations and recording studios that could have their pick of many skilled musicians.

Write Jerry Osborne at Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368, e-mail:, or visit his Web site:

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