Q: I recently heard the old Johnny Cash song “Daddy Sang Bass.” Who sings the chorus on that song?
A: Written by Carl Perkins, “Daddy Sang Bass” was recorded by Cash in July 1968 with the Statler Brothers and June Carter Cash handling the vocals on the chorus. The Carter Family also appeared on the song. After being released later in the year, the song reached No. 1 on the country charts and stayed there for six weeks. Perkins, who was touring with Cash at the time, paid homage to the Carter Family by including lines from one of their most famous tunes, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” in the song.
Q: Who composed the distinctive theme music to the ’60s TV series, “Get Smart,” which starred Don Adams as Smart?
A: The instantly recognizable theme to that classic television series was composed by composer/arranger Irving Szathmary. Unfortunately, other than short references to his having arranged music for such transcription companies as Muzak, the only other biographical information we were able to find on Szathmary are references to his more famous brother, writer/comedian William Szathmary, also known as Bill Dana. Dana is most famous for the Spanish-accented character Jose Jiminez he first developed for “The Steve Allen Show.”
Q: I was watching the old movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” recently. In the scene where we first meet the hipster Sylvester, his beach bunny girlfriend is dancing to a pop song. Can you tell me the name of the song and who sings it?
A: What a great movie! We highly recommend it for screwball comedy. Great performances (and cameos) by some of the biggest stars of the day. The hipster, Sylvester Marcus, was played by Dick Shawn, whose real name was Richard Schulefand. In the movie, he played the ne’er-do-well lifeguard son of Ethel Merman’s character. His girlfriend was played by Barrie Chase, who would later dance with Fred Astaire in several of his television specials. In the movie, however, she can be seen shimmying to “31 Flavors,” a song written by Mack Davis and Ernest Gold and sung by the Shirells. The Shirells are considered to be one of the earliest and most successful all-female vocal groups of the rock era. Between 1957 and 1963, they had hits with “I Met Him on a Sunday,” “Dedicated to the One I Love” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” the first No. 1 single by a so-called girl group. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Q: In the mid-90s, I remember a song that featured a female vocal. Some of the lyrics are “And through the course of history, I hope you’ll still remember me” and “I’ve got to do this on my own.” Can you help me identify this song?
A: The song you’re thinking of is “On My Own,” the 1997 Top 40 hit by Peach Union. The group, which included Lisa Lamb, Paul Statham and Pascal Gabriel, had many dance hits, but only “On My Own” received significant airplay on the radio.