Ask "Mr. Music"
August 30, 2010
"Gene Pitney, and David Jansen"
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.
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Ask "Mr. Music"
August 30, 2010 - "Gene Pitney, and David Jansen"
Why is "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" not heard anywhere in the film of the same title? The song clearly tells the same western story as the movie script, and should be the theme. What happened?
Not even the all-knowing Internet Movie Data Base mentions this most unusual situation, so anything you can tell me will be appreciated.
Also, what was determined to be the cause of Gene's sudden death?
- Cheryl Gifford, Vincennes, Ind.
Gene Pitney (February 17, 1940 - April 5, 2006) was found dead in his hotel room in Cardiff, Wales. His body was discovered by his tour manager, who went to check on Gene when he didn't answer his phone. Pitney was at the time in the midst of a very successful UK tour.
An autopsy confirmed the cause of death to be heart disease, more specifically ASVD (arteriosclerotic vascular disease) reflecting enlarged artery walls due to excessive fatty matter.
A few years earlier, in an e-mail we received, Gene admitted even he didn't know the exact reason his theme song never made it into the film:
"Because of my prior success with "Town Without Pity," I was paid a bundle to record "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." Burt Bacharach wrote the song with Hal David, and Burt produced it.
"However, there was some screw-up between the publishing company, Famous Music, and the parent company, Paramount Pictures, and that is why it never was in the actual film."
"The most bizarre part of the story is something I only found out a few years ago, which is that the actual music, the main theme, used in the film is from a 1939 Henry Fonda film titled "Young Mister Lincoln." Go figure that out!
"Regards, Gene Pitney"
One of my favorite genres of collecting is recordings made by celebrities more famous for something other than music.
I have records by actors; sports stars; politicians; and even criminals.
Years ago I read about an album by David Jansen, the actor in "The Fugitive" TV show.
Having never laid eyes on such an LP, it would help if I knew the title, label, and any other details you can provide.
I don't even know if he sings or just plays an instrument.
- Rocky Fresnell, Seattle, Wash.
David Janssen (note correct spelling), with the Tradewinds Orchestra and Chorus, recorded one album for Epic, titled "The Hidden Island (A Compelling Story of Love's Secret Moments and Tender Emotions)." This 1965 issue came in both mono (LN-24150) and stereo (BN-26150).
David neither sings nor plays; however, he narrates these stories.
Janssen is also the narrator on a Bicentennial (1976) production made exclusively for the National Guard: "Voices of Freedom (The Story of America's Citizen Soldier in the National Guard)" (NG-1000).
Accompanying David on these tracks is The United States Air Force Symphony in Blue and the Singing Sergeants.
IZ ZAT SO?
Though David Janssen didn't make the charts with his Epic album, quite a few celebrities from other fields do have hit records to their credit.
Here is an alphabetical sampling of familiar names in this category: Rex Allen; Annette; Ann-Margret; Jim Backus; Barbie Benton; Walter Brennan; George Burns; Edd Byrnes; Cassius Clay; Johnny Crawford; Dennis Day; Mike Douglas; Shelley Fabares; Stan Freberg; Jackie Gleason; Bill Hayes; Wink Martindale; Robert Mitchum; Leonard Nimoy; Ken Nordine; Paul Petersen; Red Skelton; John Tesh; John Travolta; and John Wayne.
Though he didn't make the charts, the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, recorded an entertaining collection of, in his words, "mood music in a jugular vein." The title of this 1958 LP is "Music to Be Murdered By" (Imperial 9052).
The lush orchestrations of standards are provided by Jeff Alexander and His Orchestra, but Hitchcock introduces each of the 10 tracks with some humorous commentary.
My favorite of these Hitchcockian quips precedes "I'll Never Smile Again":
"It was inevitable that I would make a record. After all, my measurements are 33 1/3, 45 and 78."
MORE: Ask "Mr. Music" -
"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"
"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
"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
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: www.jerryosborne.com.
All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.
Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission
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