Name that tune from old TV commercial
by John Robinson
Q: There was an old commercial on TV that went “I’m free to do what I want any old time” that sounds like the Rolling Stones. If it is, can you tell me the name of the song and where I can find it?
A: That commercial, which debuted in December 2006, was for the Chase Freedom Visa Card. The song used for the jingle was indeed by the Rolling Stones, titled “I’m Free.” You can find this song on the Rolling Stones’ mid-’60s album “Out Of Our Heads.” Is that commercial still playing after all these years?
Q: Please settle a bet! Was Davy Jones’ real last name “Bowie” or was David Bowie’s real last name “Jones”?
A: David Bowie’s real last name was “Jones.” He used his real last name while he was a member of his earlier ’60s bands, The King Bees, The Lower Third, and The Manish Boys. In the late ’60s, he eventually adopted the stage name “Bowie” from the bowie knife because he didn’t want to be confused with Davy Jones of The Monkees.
Q: I have a Motown video that features The Temptations and Four Tops. Watching it made me wonder who the first group was to use dance routines?
A: There were many, that’s for sure. But the first R&B group to regularly use choreographed dance routines onstage was The Cadillacs, whose big hit was “Speedoo” in 1955. They were a Harlem group, formed in 1953 under the name The Carnations. Their only other hit was “Peek-A-Boo,” a Top 40 tune in late 1958.
Q: Who was the first female Country artist to receive a Platinum Record Award?
A: That was Dolly Parton, for her 1978 hit “Here You Come Again.” A Platinum Award is given for 1 million records sold.
Q: A song I never, ever hear on oldies radio is “Epistle To Dippy” by Donovan. Not since it was first a hit. The song wasn’t that good but I always wondered what the “dippy” was.
A: You’re right, it is a rather unmemorable tune; but it featured Jimmy Page on electric guitar and DID make the Top 20 for Donovan back in 1967. “Dippy” was an old school friend of Donovan’s who had joined the army and was serving in Malaysia. The song was Donovan’s open letter to him. After Dippy heard the song on the radio, he contacted Donovan, who proceeded to buy Dippy’s way out of the army.
Q: Is the folk song “Walk Right In” a real old song?
A: Depends what version you mean! “Walk Right In” was a No. 1 pop hit in 1963 for The Rooftop Singers. It also charted in the lower half of the charts that same year for The Moments and again in 1977 by Dr. Hook. The song’s music and memorable lyrics (“walk right in, sit right down, baby let your hair hang down”) were written and originally recorded by 46-year-old Gus Cannon in 1930. In the early ’60s, Erik Darling (formerly of The Tarriers and The Weavers) heard Cannon’s record. He gathered up a couple of friends, called themselves The Rooftop Singers, and recorded their version of the song. By that time, Gus Cannon was 79 years old and living in a coal-heated shack by the railroad tracks. When The Rooftop Singers version of “Walk Right In” went to No. 1, Cannon found himself a rich man!
John Robinson grew up in Stockbridge and graduated from Stockbridge High School in 1969.
He’s been an author, TV host, columnist, actor, producer, emcee and radio broadcaster. Robinson’s favorite music of all time includes surf, psychedelia, garage bands, Motown and just plain ol’ good-time rock ‘n’ roll. To read more rock ‘n’ roll trivia, “Paranormal Michigan” stories, and lots more, check out Robinson’s books on his author page at facebook.com/johnrobinsonauthor.