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"High School U.S.A.' rocked several states

I am writing about a Tommy Facenda song titled High School U.S.A. It named many high schools in California. I also remember hearing about other versions made for other states. Do you know how many were made, the areas they covered, and where they might be purchased?

Tommy Facenda turned the novel High School U.S.A. into a Top 30 hit in late 1959. What evolved as the most nonconforming hit of the rock era began simple enough in Norfolk as a musical tribute to some Virginia high schools (Legrand 1001).

While popular in the Old Dominion, the tune drew little interest in the other 49 states. Realizing the nationwide potential of High School U.S.A., Facenda recorded a template track, of sorts, with generic lyrics that do not refer to any specific areas. Then Tommy separately recorded 28 tributes to selected regions, which, when edited into the master template, gave listeners the names of local high schools.

The editing is so well done that teens in Florida probably had no idea the folks in California were hearing a completely different list of schools.

For this unusual project, Atlantic Records jumped on the bandwagon and assigned a special series of selection numbers for High School U.S.A.: 45-51 through 45-78.

Here are those Atlantic numbers, with the specific regions: 45-51: Virginia; 45-52: New York City area; 45-53: North Carolina-South Carolina; 45-54: Washington D.C. area; 45-55: Philadelphia area; 45-56: Detroit area; 45-57: Pittsburgh area; 45-58: Minneapolis-St. Paul area; 45-59: Florida; 45-60: Newark, N.J., area; 45-61: Boston area; 45-62: Cleveland area; 45-63: Buffalo, N.Y., area; 45-64: Hartford, Conn., area; 45-65: Nashville area; 45-66: Indiana; 45-67: Chicago area; 45-68: New Orleans area; 45-69: St. Louis-Kansas City, Mo., area; 45-70: Alabama-Georgia; 45-71: Cincinnati area; 45-72: Memphis area; 45-73: Los Angeles area; 45-74: San Francisco area; 45-75: Texas; 45-76: Seattle-Portland, Ore. area; 45-77: Denver area; and 45-78: Oklahoma.

Fortunately for the obsessed, all 28 of these tracks, plus two more _ National Version and Original Legrand Virginia Version _ are gathered on one compact disc: High School U.S.A.

This CD is frequently offered online for $10 to $20.

Police blotter

I have a very unusual set of three picture discs, each of which has the title "Interview with Sting of the Police." Also stated is "Limited edition issued in a set of 3. Play at 33 rpm. Cat. No. Police." (There is no number cited.) I checked the latest (2005) edition of your record guide, but no mention is made of these, perhaps because this is a foreign issue. (But no country of origin is referenced.) Also not indicated is the distribution of this limited edition. Do you know how many were made?

I have never played any of these records, but it sounds more like talking than music.

You are correct about why this interesting set does not appear in the price guide: It is an overseas release.

Since it is, as the title suggests, strictly an interview with Sting, its value is less than it would be with music tracks.

Prices in the $30 to $40 range are common for this set.

Made in 1984 in the United Kingdom, homeland of the rock trio, "Interview with Sting of the Police" came out in a limited edition of 2,000 three-disc packages.

Iz zat so?

Inexplicably, none of the "Interview with Sting of the Police" picture discs feature Sting, the object of the whole project. It is actually Andy Summers who is most prominently seen in the photos.

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

World Features Syndicate

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