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"
May 31, 2010
"Lyrics or Music - Billy Squier"
Let's continue our feature here at DigitalDreamDoor: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 24th year of syndication (1986-2011), 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"
May 31, 2010 - "Lyrics or Music - Billy Squier"
Most would say that the music of a song is more important than its lyrics.

Can you think of any hit songs that became popular more because of words rather than music?

- Barry Wise, Milwaukee


In a general sense, I would rate both components equally, which would likely exclude me, and most lyricists, from membership in your club. There are thousands of hits in each category - made by lyrics and made by music - and just as many popular thanks to a combination of the two.

Immediately coming to mind are songs that tell a story, a tiny sampling of which are: "Candle in the Wind" (Elton John); "The Battle of New Orleans" and "North to Alaska" (Johnny Horton); "My Way" and "It Was a Very Good Year" (Frank Sinatra); "Me and Bobby McGee" (Janis Joplin and Jerry Lee Lewis); "Creeque Alley" (Mamas and the Papas); "In the Ghetto" (Elvis Presley); "Garden Party" (Rick Nelson); "Like a Rolling Stone" (Bob Dylan); "Harper Valley P.T.A." (Jeannie C. Riley); the poems of Rod McKuen put to music; and most anything by Marty Robbins or Tom T. Hall.

Novelty and teen tragedy hits, such as these, almost always owe their success to the lyrics: "M.T.A." and "Tijuana Jail" (Kingston Trio); "The Purple People Eater" (Sheb Wooley); "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" (Royal Guardsmen); "The Name Game" (Shirley Ellis); "Tell Laura I Love Her" (Ray Peterson); "Last Kiss" (J. Frank Wilson); "Teen Angel" (Mark Dinning); "Ebony Eyes" (Everly Brothers); etc.

Most holiday, inspirational, message, and protest hits rely entirely on words to make the point: "Sleigh Ride" (Ronettes); "Pretty Paper" (Roy Orbison); "Amen" (Impressions); "Turn, Turn, Turn" (Byrds); "If I Can Dream" (Elvis Presley); "Everything Is Beautiful" and "Mr. Businessman" (Ray Stevens); "Eve of Destruction" (Barry McGuire); "For What It's Worth" (Buffalo Springfield); etc.

Then there are countless garden variety tunes whose sales soared because of some marvelous lyrics, for example: "Too Many Rivers" (Brenda Lee); "The Long and Winding Road" (Beatles); "King of the Road" (Roger Miller); "The Tracks of My Tears" and "Shop Around" (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles); "Everybody Needs a Rainbow" (Ray Stevens); "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (Sammi Smith); "Life" (Marty Robbins); "My Eyes Adored You" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (Frankie Valli); "Rock N' Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)" and "I'll Paint You a Song" (Mac Davis); "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" and "Rose Garden" (Joe South); "The Glow Worm" (Mills Brothers); "For the Good Times" (Ray Price); "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (Tony Williams and the Platters); "Crazy" and "I Fall to Pieces" (Patsy Cline); "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Sam Cooke); "What a Difference a Day Makes" and "Manhattan" (Dinah Washington); "Operator" and "Time in a Bottle" (Jim Croce); "Photographs" and "There's a Place in My Heart" (Nana Mouskouri); etc. There are thousands more.


Based on my fondness for the 1982 hit, "Everybody Wants You," I decided to search eBay for more records by Billy Squier.

I was surprised to find about a hundred listings that identify him as Billy Squire. Are those dealers just not reading their records right, or is he really credited both ways?

What are his biggest hits?

- Jessie Garcia, Flagstaff, Ariz.


Billy's last name is definitely Squier. Transposing the last two letters is a typo caused by sellers not looking closely at the record they hold in their hands.

The two homophonic names sound the same, but most folks are far more familiar with the "squire" spelling.

Besides "Everybody Wants You," his other Top 40 hits are: "The Stroke" (1981); "In the Dark" (1981); and "Rock Me Tonite" (1984).

MORE: Ask "Mr. Music" -
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 1960s 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 2010 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 - -
Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country, Folk, Classical, and more,
Main Music Page below. is to be used for
entertainment, educational, or research purposes only.

Copyright © 2010 -

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