Connie-O by The Four Seasons

#491: Connie-O by The Four Seasons

Peak Month: January 1963
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Connie-O
“Connie-O” lyrics

Pianist Bob Gaudio was born in The Bronx in 1942. At 14 years of age he co-founded The Royals. Gaudio had been playing piano since he turned eight in 1950. Gaudio was born in November 1942 in Bergenfield, New Jersey. The Royals opened for a local New Jersey doo-wop group named The Three Friends who had a hit in New York and Baltimore in the winter of 1956-57 titled “Blanche”. After the Fort Lee concert, The Three Friends invited The Royals to come to New York to be the session musicians for their upcoming recording date in the Brill Building at 1650 Broadway. It was there The Royals met The Three Friends manager, Leo Rogers. On the strength of their musical skills, Rogers invited The Royals to be session musicians for numerous recording artists in the building. They were also given a chance to record a song.

Continue reading →

Everyone's A Winner by Bootsauce

#973: Everyone’s A Winner by Bootsauce

Peak Month: April 1991
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #14
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Everyone’s A Winner
“Everyone’s A Winner” lyrics

Sonny Greenwich Jr. was born on January 1, 1962, in Toronto. In his childhood his family moved to the south shore of Montreal and went to high school in the suburb of Longueuil. He got his first guitar on the occasion of his sixteenth birthday and formed a band that became named Dogstar. At a Montreal area Christmas party in 1988, Greenwich met singer Drew Ling (born Drew Thorpe) and guitarist Perry Johnson (who was later billed as Pere Fume). They instantly hit it off and found they shared musical interests. Soon they were playing with each other and formed a band.

Continue reading →

#1185: Bongo Rock by Incredible Bongo Band

Peak Month: September 1973
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #57
YouTube.com “Bongo Rock”

Preston Epps was born in Oklahoma in 1930 and learned to play percussion instruments while he was in the Korean War. In the early 50s Epps found his passion after he fell in love with the drums after visiting Bop City, a San Francisco jazz club. Epps was the main percussionist on “Earth Angel”, which was recorded in 1954 by the Penguins. In April 1955, “Earth Angel” climbed to #1 on the Billboard R&B charts, #8 on the Billboard Best Sellers in Stores pop music chart, and #2 on the Cashbox Best Selling Singles chart. In 1957 Preston Epps was featured in the film Calypso Heat Wave where he played the bongos. In 1959 Preston Epps released an instrumental he co-wrote titled “Bongo Rock”. The single peaked at #14 in June ’59 on the Billboard Hot 100. The instrumental climbed to #6 in Vancouver (BC).
Continue reading →

Acapulco 1922 by Tijuana Brass

#1109: Acapulco 1922 by Tijuana Brass

Peak Month: January 1963
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com “Acapulco 1922

Herb Alpert was born in 1935 in Los Angeles. His parents were Jewish immigrants, from the Ukraine and Romania. He started to play the trumpet at the age of eight. After he graduated from high school, he joined the United States Army and played trumpet. In 1956 he was one of the drummers at Mt. Sinai in the film The Ten Commandments. In 1957 he became a songwriter for Keen Records. He teamed up with Lou Adler in 1958 and released a single titled “The Trial” credited to Herb B. Lou and the Legal Eagles. The recording was of the “break-in” genre, like Buchanan & Goodman’s “Flying Saucer” from 1956. The single had break-in’s from “Tears On My Pillow” by Little Anthony & The Imperials, “Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin, “To Know Him Is To Love Him” by the Teddy Bears, “Little Star” by The Elegants, “Volare” by Domenico Modugno and others. “The Trial” made the Top Ten in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Continue reading →

Pepe by Duane Eddy

#492: Pepe by Duane Eddy

Peak Month: January 1961
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #18
YouTube.com: “Pepe
Pepe” song from Pepe, as sang by Shirley Jones

Duane Eddy was born in Corning, New York, in 1938. When he turned five years old he started to play guitar. His family moved to Coolidge, Arizona, in 1954. At the age of 16 Eddy got a Chet Atkins Gretch guitar. In 1954, at Coolidge High School Duane met Jimmy Delbridge who shared his love of music. Both boys played guitar and sang. In short order they were appearing on local radio in Coolidge, KCKY, as Jimmy and Duane. Jimmy sang best and Duane was a superior guitar player. Duane persuaded Jimmy leave the guitar behind and play piano. During 1955 local Phoenix disc jockey Lee Hazlewood was informally managing the duo. In June ’55 Hazlewood drove Eddy and Jimmy Dell (as he was now known) to Ramsey Recording Studio in Phoenix. In the studio the duo recorded the first of Hazelwood’s songs, “Soda Fountain Girl” and “I Want Some Lovin’ Baby”. These were old hillbilly tunes  backed by Buddy Long & the Western Melody Boys.

Continue reading →

Wild Eyes by The Stampeders

#493: Wild Eyes by The Stampeders

Peak Month: August 1972
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Wild Eyes
“Wild Eyes” lyrics

The Stampeders are a rock trio from Calgary named after that city’s football team, The Calgary Stampeders. Although, it could be argued that the yearly Calgary Stampede was also an inspiration for their name. During the band’s most successful chart run from 1968 to 1976, it was made up of guitarist Rich Dodson, bass player Ronnie King (born Cornelius Van Sprang) and drummer Kim Berly (born Kim Meyer). All three provided vocals. Originally, the band was a group of five formed in 1964 called The Rebounds. The Rebounds had five members: Rich Dodson, Len Roemer, Brendan Lyttle, Kim Berly, and Race Holiday. They renamed themselves The Stampeders in 1965 and Len Roemer was replaced with Ronnie King and Van Louis, making them a band of six for a few years. But after a temporary move to Toronto in 1966 the band was down to three members, Dodson, King and Berly by 1968. Between 1967 and 1976 The Stampeders charted 15 singles into the Canadian RPM Top 40.

Continue reading →

Tango by Dalbello

#1159: Tango by Dalbello

Peak Month: April 1989
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #18
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #91
YouTube.com: “Tango
“Tango” lyrics

In 1959 Lisa Dal Bello was born in Weston, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. At age 11, she taught herself to play the guitar and started writing her own songs. And she also started to perform at the Mariposa Folk Festival and the Fiddlers’ Green club in Toronto. The first song she wrote was a protest song called “Oh, Why?” In 1971 she got a summer job touring as part of a 35-member musical troupe sponsored by the Ontario Provincial Government. However, as she was only 13, she had to fib about her age to get hired for Summer Sounds ’71. The following year Lisa Dal Bello met singer-songwriter Ian Thomas at an audition. This led to her recording three songs she’d written for the CBC. The other person at the audition,  Jack Budgell got Lisa connected with jingle producer Tommy Ambrose. She also was introduced to numerous producers and got to be a back-up singer on studio recording sessions.

Continue reading →

What About Now? by Robbie Robertson

#860: What About Now? by Robbie Robertson

Peak Month: November 1991
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #14
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “What About Now?
“What About Now?” lyrics

In 1943, Jaime Royal “Robbie” Robertson was born in Toronto. His biological father was a Jewish and a professional gambler named Alexander David Klegerman. He had impregnated Robertson’s mother, Rosemarie Dolly Chrysler, a Cayuga and Mohawk woman from the Six Nations Reserve, near Hamilton, Ontario. Dolly soon after met James Patrick Robertson at a jewelry plating factory in Toronto where they both worked. Dolly and James married in late 1942. And Alexander David Klegerman was killed in a hit-and-run accident just prior to their marriage. It wasn’t until “Robbie” Robertson was 14 that he was told who his real biological father was.

Continue reading →

Touch And Go by The Cars

#494: Touch And Go by The Cars

Peak Month: November 1980
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #37
YouTube.com:”Touch And Go
“Touch And Go” lyrics

According to AllMusic.com music critic, Jason Ankeny, The Grasshoppers were a rock ‘n roll band from Cleveland who formed in 1962. There were several lineup changes and Benjamin Orzechowski joined the band in 1964 and became the lead singer. Ben Orr, who was born in 1947, went on to be a lead singer in the New Wave band, The Cars. Jeff Niesel, of Rolling Stone Magazine writes that members of the Grasshoppers Fan Club included Diane Akins, the president of the club. She remembers meeting Ben Orr when the Grasshoppers were an opening act when the Beach Boys performed in Cleveland in November, 1964.

Continue reading →

#495: I Am The Preacher by Tony Kingston

Peak Month: February 1972
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “I Am The Preacher
“I Am The Preacher” lyrics

In 1967 Tony Kingston had a record deal with Pye and released “Master Hand” in the fall of the year. The British singer Tony Kingston had a brief deal with Decca Records in England in the late 1960’s with a single called “Mama Come On Home” released in April that year. The record is now considered a Northern Soul classic. Tony Kingston sang two songs from the 1970 British film I Start Counting, namely “They Want Love” and “Children”. After relocating to Canada in the early ’70s Kingston was signed to Yorkville Records in Toronto where he recorded “I Am The Preacher”.

I Am The Preacher by Tony Kingston

“I Am The Preacher” was a song co-written by UK songwriters and singers Roger John Reginald Greenaway (born in 1938) and Roger Frederick Cooke (born in 1940). Both were born in a suburb of Bristol, England. Roger Greenaway was one of the founding members of a close harmony group called The Kestrels, who formed in 1955. The group provided backing vocals for recording artists Billy Fury, Eden Kane, Lonnie Donegan and singer/comedian Benny Hill. Roger Cook joined The Kestrels in 1964. It was when Greenaway and Cook got to know each other as members of The Kestrels they glimpsed a creative fusion they wanted to pursue. In 1965 the pair co-wrote “You’ve Got Your Troubles”, which became a Top Ten intentional hit for The Fortunes. Between 1965 and 1967 the pair billed themselves as David and Jonathan, after two characters in the Hebrew scriptures who had name recognition in the wider culture. As David and Jonathan they recorded a cover version of The Beatles song, “Michelle”, followed by a song they wrote titled “Lovers of the World Unite.” Sometimes in collaboration with other songwriters, Cook and Greenaway co-wrote numbers of other pop hits. These include “Green Grass” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys, “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith and “Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)” by The Hollies. The novelty song, “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman,” had a guy named Billy Moeller appear in TV shows who whistle-synched the song. But the actual whistling on the record was by a guy named John O’Neill who never appeared to whistle-synch the song.

In 1970, the songwriting duo of Cook–Greenaway collaborated to write a song called “True Love and Apple Pie”, recorded by Susan Shirley. The song was then rewritten by Cook and Greenaway, along with Bill Backer and Billy Davis, two ad men for Coca-Cola. The result was a catchy tune revised as a Coca-Cola commercial which aired through 1970-71. The line, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company,” became an ear worm for many TV viewers and radio listeners that year. The popularity of the commercial led to it being reworked and titled “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing.” It was recorded by The New Seekers and became a #1 hit in the UK and Vancouver (and #7 in the USA) in 1972. The song decades later was played during the end of episodes of the TV show, Mad Men.

In 1970 Greenaway teamed up with Tony Burrows to record under the name of The Pipkins with a novelty tune that reached the Top Ten in Vancouver called Gimmie Dat Ding”. That same year, Greenaway was temporarily a member of the Brotherhood of Man. That group charted a Top 20 hit internationally titled “United We Stand.” And in 1970 Cook and Greenaway co-wrote a song that would go on to be in the Top 100 for the year in both the UK, the USA and in Canada titled “My Baby Loves Lovin’” by The White Plains. That song went to #1 in Vancouver, though it only peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cook and Greenaway later wrote “Jeans On” recorded by David Dundas. It was a #1 hit in Vancouver in February of that year. Though the song only peaked at #17 in the USA, it stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 long enough to become the #73 song of 1977.

“I Am The Preacher” is a pop song with heavy religious overtones. It begins with Hallelujahs. The song is narrated from the vantage point of a preacher who is bringing a message to the people of the world who have yet to find peace. The preacher has a message about a better way of living rooted in love. The lyrics tell about obstacles that get in the way such as war, misguiding others. The preacher also speaks of the pervasiveness of lament (wailing) among the people. He says “I am the pupil who sells his life for freedom,” indicating the preacher is making a sacrifice of himself for the greater good of humanity.

In the late 60s and early 70s there was an emerging Jesus Movement. There were numerous pop songs with religious overtones. These include “Spirit In The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, “Put Your Hand In the Hand” by Ocean, “One Tin Soldier” by the Original Caste, “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and “Sweet Cherry Wine” by Tommy James & The Shondells, “Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, “The Wedding Song (There Is Love)” by Paul Stookey, and “Amazing Grace” by Judy Collins. “I Am The Preacher” was part of this genre breaking into pop music.

In early 1972 “I Am The Preacher” managed to reach #65 on the RPM Top Singles chart in February. that year but having a significantly better showing on the CHUM chart in Toronto where it peaked at #15. The song fared even better in Vancouver where it climbed to #2. The song also made the Top 30 in Hamilton (ON) and Rochester (NY).

Tony Kingston played the circuit of live clubs in the 70s in the Toronto area including the Stonehouse and Friars Tavern. He released a single in 1974 titled “Too Heavy To Carry” which got little notice. And in 1978 he released “Sweet Music” that also got little airplay in Canada. Tony Kingston had a namesake who moved from Jamaica and died in a car accident in 1970, according to Discogs.com. But it is clear that the Tony Kingston who sang “I Am The Preacher” and performed around the Toronto area through the 70s was very much alive after 1970. But what happened to him after the late 70s has not yet been uncovered.

November 6, 2019
Ray McGinnis

References:
Songwriter Roger Cook Turns 70, KLUV, Dallas, TX, August 19, 2010.
Roger Cook: Britain’s most prolific songwriting team with Roger Greenaway, Songwriters Hall of Fame.org.
Sarah Begley, Buy The World A Coke Songwriter ‘Amazed’ to Hear it Ended Mad Men, Time, May 18, 2015.
The Pipkins- bio, BBC, London, UK.
Various YouTube.com comments below several Tony Kingston recordings.

For more song reviews visit the Countdown.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter