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When Jack trumps Zack and Mack

You’re Ray Charles’ manager. It’s October, 1961. Hit the Road, Jack is top of the Billboard Hot 100. You’re on tour in Chicago, playing The Treasure Island. It’s 2 minutes to show time. A man in a sharp suit hands you a scrumpled note. You unfold it and read:

You sigh. Jackie “the Lackey” Cerone‘s out there in front. Again. Shiny new girl on his arm. He hates them getting ideas from Ray’s song. You catch Jackie’s eye, smile and nod.

The black paper’s a novelty, but it’s not the first time you’ve had to make substitutions. Jack Ruby‘s the same. Mafia men are surprisingly insecure in matters of the heart.  Anyway, it’s easy: run through the alphabet and you come up with Mack or Zack. Both rhyming helpfully with back.

Here’s a question for singers and songwriters:  which is the better  stand in for JackMack or Zack? One scores points for sound, one for meaning.  What makes Jack a million miles better than both?

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