Custom Search of DDD
 Music Lists
 Music Forum
 Rock Timeline
 Rap Timeline
 Vinyl Records
 Artist News
 Music Links
 Musician Finder
 Guitar Chords
 Movie Lists
 Jokes & Quotes
 Music Store
Ask "Mr. Music"
January 9, 2012
Cover songs and I Didn't See the Time Go By
Let's continue our feature here at DigitalDreamDoor: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 26th year of syndication (1986-2012), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on.

Be sure to stop by Jerry's site for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.

songsMore Mr. Music Articles

Ask "Mr. Music"
"Jerry Osborne"
January 9, 2012 - Cover songs and I Didn't See the Time Go By


One of the very first 45s I wanted was Boyd Bennett's "Seventeen," from the summer of 1955 when rock and roll was new.

As a teen who knew nothing about cover records, I was surprised to find several different versions of that song for sale. That was my introduction to covers.

I later learned how quickly the original versions of most popular songs in the 1950s faced stiff competition from other labels wanting a piece of the sales pie.

Jumping ahead 10 years, it seems cover versions were practically non-existent. Would you agree?

- Sandy Stover, Santa Rosa, Calif.


Not exactly, only because covers were still fairly common in the 1960s. There were far fewer then than a decade earlier, and were rarely successful, but not uncommon.

I can quantify this using the Cash Box Top 40 (which routinely listed both originals and covers) for the last week of August 1955 - when you bought "Seventeen" - followed by the Top 40 for the same week of 1965.

In 1955, when covers were the rule rather than the exception, 32 (80%) of the Top 40 were available by more than one artist. And this excludes instrumental versions of songs that by no means competed with the hit vocal, such as the MGM Studio Orchestra's "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock."

Note also that only single releases can accurately be considered covers. An LP track can never be a true cover record!

Here then are the eight tunes (20%) of the Top 40, with their position, for which there no qualifying cover versions:

3 "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" (Bill Haley and His Comets)
5 "Hard to Get" (Gisele MacKenzie)
12 "Tina Marie" (Perry Como)
20 "The Longest Walk" (Jaye P. Morgan)
28 "If I May" (Nat King Cole and the Four Knights)
31 "Pancho Lopez (Davy Crockett)" Lalo Guerrero
34 "My One Sin" (Nat King Cole)
35 "Honey Babe" (Art Mooney and His Orchestra)

Somewhat surprisingly, 10 years later the numbers are almost exactly reversed.

Mid the British Invasion, 33 (82.5%) of the Top 40 were unopposed, with only seven involving a cover record:
4 "Like a Rolling Stone" (Bob Dylan), covered by the Soup Greens
15 "All I Really Want to Do" (Cher), covered successfully by the Byrds with both making the Top 40
17 "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" (Mel Carter), covered by Lanny Duncan, and Karen Chandler (who had the true original in 1952)
20 "What's New Pussycat!" (Tom Jones), covered by Burt Bacharach, co-writer of the song
21 "The 'In' Crowd" (Ramsey Lewis Trio). First instrumental issued in mid-'65 is by Gene Barge, making the Lewis version the cover
22 "It Ain't Me Babe" (Turtles), covered by Joe & Eddie, and Vern Swain
27 "Houston" (Dean Martin). First issued that summer by Sanford Clark, making Dino's version the cover


Now that middle-age is in the rear view mirror, I am relating more and more to songs like Roy Clark's "Yesterday, When I Was Young."

There was another song from those days with a similar theme. It's either Roy Clark or another tenor with a beautiful voice.

I thought the title to be "Minstrel in My Time," but my searches for those words result in nothing helpful.

What is it, who wrote it, who sings it, and where can I find it?

- Clint Yarrow, Salt Lake City


One line in this song is "Minstrel of My Time," but the title is "I Didn't See the Time Go By."

You have every reason to associate this poignant ballad with "Yesterday, When I Was Young," because both express a comparable sentiment, and both are from the pen of the legendary Armenian-French singer-songwriter, Charles Aznavour.

The recording you seek is probably by Glenn Yarbrough, and is easily available on his 1996 CD "Live at Harrah's Reno" (Increase B00003Q07E) - truly a tour de force performance.


Discussing cover records brings to mind a fascinating trivia tidbit first mentioned here many years ago:

Neither the Beatles nor Elvis Presley ever made a cover record! Never. Not even once.

Both artists recorded lots of other people's songs, but never as a single to compete with someone else's original.

Presley even refused to allow RCA Victor to release a single of his "Blue Suede Shoes" until after the Carl Perkins original ran its course. He didn't want his friend Carl to lose sales. Throughout his life, Perkins often referred to this as one of the kindest things anyone had ever done for him.

MORE: Ask "Mr. Music" -
"I'm My Own Grandpa" and "Never on Sunday"
"Missing Recording Credits - 10 top C&W artists"
"On the South Side of Chicago"
Italian song on "Breaking Bad" - Christmas hits in January
"Ladder of Success" by Skeeter Davis and "Matchbox" by the Beatles
LPs and singles that charted on two labels
Songwriter Chuck Woolery, and the male voice in "Pink Shoe Laces
Cover songs and I Didn't See the Time Go By
Sammy Davis Jr. sings Mr. Bojangles
Opening chord on "A Hard Day's Night" and "X" recording artists
"Eda Weda Bug", and One-Christmas-hit wonders
First rock No. 1 albums - Original Christmas songs
Unknown first labels of hit songs, and values
Frankie Avalon and Bobby Vinton
Attempt to eliminate all record speeds except 33
"Unidentified performers", "Columbia Records"
"State Songs"
Summertime Lovin', Little Joe the Wrangler
The end of 78s, the beginning of the LP format
Music hit-makers that resorted to suicide
Most singles without a best seller, plus Tony Bennett is back on the charts
Three-inch CD mini single - No. 1 albums with no previous chart singles
B-side mix up, Dotty Daniels, and Paul Revere and the Raiders
Sales records, Jimmie Rodgers Blues, and Pic-Discs
I've Been Everywhere, and Sioux City Sue
It's G/B for me. Plus 3 record sets
Top singles artist who never had a charted album
Grammy Awards, 1950s and '60s acts
Dotty Daniels and D. Goodman
The many versions of "Open the Door, Richard" continued
The many versions of "Open the Door, Richard"
"Simon and Garfunkel earlier singles
"Ahab, the Arab" by Ray Stevens
"Longest note held by a solo female singer"
"More about The You Know Who Group"
"Nina Simone - biggest hits and controversial songs"
"No. 1 Instrumentals"
"The Ballad of Paladin by Johnny Western"
"Who had the greatest number of albums on the charts"
"Roses Are Red My Love by The You Know Who Group"
"Most popular American Idol contestants"
"Elvis lowest and highest notes - New albums from accomplished artists"
"Date Bait" & "Mummenschanz"
"Gibberish lyrics, and Maggie Flynn"
"R&B and C&W Crossovers, plus '60s Grammys picks"
"Overused song titles and comical oldies"
"The mysterious death of teen idol Dean Reed"
"Manhattan by Dinah Washington - Got a Match? by the Daddy-O's"
"Katherine Hepburn Speaking for Freedom 78 rpm"
"The Ballad of Ronnie - and Mildred Bailey"
"Osmonds and Jacksons - I'll Cry Instead: Beatles"
"Frim Fram Sauce, and the Beatles Maggie Mae"
"Quadraphonic albums"
"George Michael's soul success with "Faith"
"A Bunch of Queers Presents Warlock"
"Has there ever been a commercial 78 rpm recorded in stereo?"
"River Nile" by "LEROY and His Rockin' Fellers"
Patsy Montana's "I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart"
"Diana Krall song & Susan Boyles' career"
"Songs: Just for a Thrill, and Cool Yule"
"Number 1 Christmas Songs through the years"
"Song in VW commercial, and Jerry Lee Lewis Christmas song"
"Shake, Rattle and Roll", plus Pete Best album "Haymans Green"
"Single releases originally issued with picture sleeves"
"Ronnie Dawson - Hazel"
"Curtis Mayfield - accident, album, death"
"Who was the Masked Marvel"
"Davy Jones Presents, record label"
"Al Green & Johnny Nash"
"Tamouré, Tahitian dance"
"Jo Ann Campbell - Wolverton Mountain"
"Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On & Highway Man"
"Hawaiian musics Frank Ferera"
"Paul Revere and the Raiders instrumentals & Song from Hair"
"Beatles 14 tunes in the Top 100, & The last mono-only albums"
"Connie Francis early years, and Names of states in hit titles"
"Gene Pitney, and David Janssen"
"Payola scandals, and Chubby Checker dance hits"
"Why vinyl sounds richer, Elvis and Beatles on Cash Box, Big Bad John answer songs"
"Vinyl Record Day - 'Mad Men' song"
"Cast Your Fate to the Wind, two versions"
"RFD Songs" and "Your Hit Parade"
"Hit Songs as both Vocal and Instrumental"
"Robert David Hall of CSI, plus the Belmonts without Dion"
"Cal Stewart's Uncle Josh Songs, & Andrews Sisters"
"The Collector's Edition T.A.M.I. Show"
"The Girl from the Next Farm Over" & "Tangerine Dream"
"Paul & Paula's "Hey Paula"
"'50s Rockers Ages" - "Songwriters Hall of Fame"
"Lyrics or Music" and "Billy Squier"
"Connie Francis, Neil Diamond, and David Gates"
"The High Numbers and Grading Vinyl"
"Louie Louie"
"Willie Nelson duets"
"Don't Do It" by "Little Charlie and the Nightcats"
"Frank Sinatra Spectacular, with Johnny Carson"
"Sam & Dave Medley" and the knife in "Moody River"
"Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Same Old Fool"
"Tony Orlando or Bertell Dache?"
"Foreign language hit songs in the U.S."
"The Overlanders" and "All-male Top 10"
"Songs with a bullet" and the name "Browning"
"Yesterday and Today, Beatles - Song: Submarine Race"
"Elvis Presley songs based on classical pieces."
"Introducing the Beatles" album value
"Answer Songs"
"Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" & "I Belong to You" by Peggy Lee
"A Lovers Hymn" and Songs naming the 12 months
"This Old House," by Rosemary Clooney
"The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Petticoat Junction"
"Deana Martin", "Buchanan and Goodman"
"A Hard Day's Night" - Beatles
"British Christmas tunes" and "Fingertips Part 1"
"Backward tape technology" and "Rock Era Christmas tunes"
"Red Velvet Slippers" and "A Christmas Gift for You"
"Jerry Lee Lewis" and "See See Rider"
"Bonanza Theme Song"
"Come Softly to Me" by the Fleetwoods

Mr. Music
Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.
Jerry's Question page: Ask your question here.

Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Visit his Web site:

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2011 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

1000 Songs Every Rock Fan Should Know
500 Greatest Popular Recordings Of All Time
Greatest Rock Songs
Greatest Rock Ballads
Greatest Rock Anthems
Greatest Rock Instrumentals
Greatest Rock Debut Singles
Greatest Cover Songs
Top 10 Songs by Popular Rock Artists
Top 10 Songs 1950-1969
Top 10 Songs 1970-1979
Top 10 Songs 1980-1989
Top 10 Songs 1990-1999
Greatest 'Roots of Rock' Songs '40s  
Greatest Rock Songs '50s
Greatest Rock Songs '60s
Greatest Rock Songs '70s
Greatest Rock Songs '80s
Greatest Rock Songs '90s
Greatest Rock Songs '00s
Greatest Rockabilly Songs
Greatest Girl Group Songs
Greatest Country Rock Songs
Greatest Southern Rock Songs
Greatest Folk Rock Songs
Greatest Surf Rock Songs
Greatest Beach Music Songs
Greatest Psychedelic Songs
Greatest Punk Rock Songs
Greatest New Wave Songs
Greatest Fusion Songs
Greatest Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals
Greatest R&B/Soul Songs
Greatest R&B/Soul Ballads
Greatest R&B Songs of the '90s
Greatest R&B Ballads of the '90s
Greatest Funk Songs
Greatest Motown Songs
Greatest Northern Soul Songs
Greatest Uptempo Doo-Wop Songs
Greatest Doo-Wop Ballads
Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Songs
Greatest Old School Hip Hop Records
Greatest Metal Songs
Greatest Thrash Metal Songs
Greatest Glam Metal Songs
Greatest Symphonic Power Metal Songs
Greatest Disco Songs
Greatest Dance Songs '80s
Greatest Dance Songs '90s
Greatest Trance Songs
Greatest Electro Songs
Greatest Freestyle Songs
Greatest House Songs
Greatest Miami Bass Songs
Greatest Latin Rock Songs
Greatest Reggae Songs
Greatest Blues Instrumentals
Greatest Novelty Songs
Wildest, Craziest & Quirkiest Songs
Greatest Summer Songs
Greatest Love Songs
Greatest Mother Songs
Greatest Father Songs
- - For Links to - -
Blues, Jazz, Country, Folk, Classical, and more,
'Main Music Page' below. is to be used for
entertainment, educational, or research purposes only.

Copyright © 2011 -

All photos are property and copyright of their owners and are provided for educational purposes only.
This Ask "Mr. Music" page is only a part of To view the Home page click Home