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Ask "Mr. Music"
July 19, 2010
"Hit Songs as both Vocal and Instrumental"
Let's continue our feature here at DigitalDreamDoor: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 25th 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.

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Ask "Mr. Music"
"Jerry Osborne"
July 19, 2010 - "Hit Songs as both Vocal and Instrumental"

I find it interesting how often someone picks a hit vocal and releases it as an instrumental. Occasionally, both versions become popular.

Less often does a hit instrumental also become a big seller when words are added, or so it seems.

Did a Rock Era vocal and instrumental version of the same song ever appear together in the Top 10? Perhaps "Picnic" or "Only You"?

- Marvin Babcock, West Bend, Wisc.


Neither of the tunes you mention qualify, though "Picnic" comes close.

The instrumental, titled "Moonglow and Theme from Picnic," by both Morris Stoloff and George Cates, reached the Top 10. The "Picnic" vocal by the McGuire Sisters did not, stalling at No. 13.

There are three Top 10 vocals of "Only You" (Platters; Hilltoppers; Ringo Starr), and one instrumental (Franck Pourcel's French Fiddles). However, Pourcel's 1959 hit came 15 years before Ringo's and four years after the other two.

Yes, it's a rare combination, but not unheard of. One example that does meet your criteria is "Unchained Melody."

The instrumental (Les Baxter, His Chorus and Orchestra), along with two vocals (Al Hibbler and Roy Hamilton), all held spots in the Top 10 in May of 1955.

Staying with the same topic, but with a somewhat shady slant, read on:


I have an old cassette tape recording of miscellaneous oldies, one of which is a vocal version of "Raunchy." No one I've known ever heard "Raunchy" with lyrics. Have you?

According to handwritten notes on the tape box, the singer is Will Shade. Never heard of him. Was this out at the same time as the big hit instrumental?

- Jim Stotts, Jackson, Tenn.


Yes to both, but just answering your two questions does not begin to cover this story. "Raunchy" written and first issued by Bill Justis, was immediately covered by Ernie Freeman, whose version sold nearly as well. Both came out in November 1957.

Then, in late December, "Raunchy" became the first rock and roll instrumental to reach No. 1 nationally.

That same month, "The New Raunchy" came along (Decca 30539) with teen-oriented lyrics (by Red Sovine and Cindy Walker) sung to the familiar "Raunchy" music: "Come on baby do the Raunchy song; come on with me and do the Raunchy song; we'll rock it and we'll stomp it baby, all night long; baby don't you know it's my favorite song;" etc.

The singer is none other than country superstar Webb Pierce. Probably to distance himself from such a daringly different style - pure rock and roll and not the least bit country - the pseudonym Shady Wall is used.

As for the similar sounding Will Shade, he is an old-time Memphis blues singer whose only known record is "She Stabbed Me with an Ice-Pick" backed with "Better Leave That Stuff Alone" (Victor 21725). This 1928 single is now a hefty $1,000 to $2,000 item.

The "stuff" warning from Shade regards drinking "canned heat," the highly addictive methanol in Sterno cooking fuel: "Canned heat is just like morphine, it crawls all through your bones; I gave my woman a dollar to get herself something to eat; she spent a dime for an egg roll and 90-cents for that ol' canned heat;" etc.

Yes, this is the concoction that inspired the '60s group named Canned Heat to pick that name.
Webb Pierce

Webb Pierce


Be it intentional or coincidental, Webb Pierce's choice of Shady Wall as a nom de guerre for "The New Raunchy" might have amused Rep. Shady R. Wall (D-Louisiana).

When the record came out, the real Shady Wall had just completed his first two terms as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives (1948-1956).

MORE: Ask "Mr. Music" -
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"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
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All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

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