On The Beach by Cliff Richard

#579: On The Beach by Cliff Richard

Peak Month: September 1964
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN’s chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “On The Beach
“On The Beach” lyrics

Cliff Richard was born Harry Roger Webb on October 14, 1940, in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1940 Lucknow was part of the British Raj, as India was not yet an independent country. Webb’s father worked on as a catering manager for the Indian Railways. His mother raised Harry and his three sisters. In 1948, when India had become independent, the Webb family took a boat to Essex, England, and began a new chapter. At the age of 16 Harry Webb was given a guitar by his father. Harry then formed a vocal group called the Quintones. Webb was interested in skiffle music, a type of jug band music, popularized by “The King of Skiffle,” Scottish singer Lonnie Donegan who had an international hit in 1955 called “Rock Island Line”.

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#580: Say You’ll Be Mine by the West End Girls

Peak Month: January 1992
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Say You’ll Be Mine

Camille Henderson was born in Vancouver, BC, in 1970. From the age of ten she was a working actor in film, stage and TV. At the age of fifteen she starred in the Canadian film directed by Sandy Wilson titled My American Cousin. She played the role of Shirley, a preteen girl. Her father, Bill Henderson, was a member of the Vancouver Sixties band The Collectors. He continued with most of his bandmates as they morphed into Chilliwack in 1970.
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Fisherwoman by The Collectors

#1238: Fisherwoman by The Collectors

Peak Months: September 1967
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Fisherwoman

The Vancouver rock band The Collectors, was formerly named The Classics who were a Vancouver group led by Howie Vickers in the mid-60s. The Classics were part of the regular line-up on Let’s Go, a show on CBC TV. Though the Classics released several singles the group needed room to grow and reformed as The Collectors. They would become one of the most innovative of Vancouver’s recording acts through the rest 60s. In the spring of 1967, Vickers was asked to put together a house band at the Torch Cabaret in Vancouver. Along with Claire Lawrence on horns, they recruited guitarist Terry Frewer, drummer Ross Turney and Brian Newcombe on bass. Within a couple of months, fellow Classics member Glenn Miller replaced Newcombe on bass and Bill Henderson, a student at UBC, replaced Frewer on guitars. With Vickers now handling vocals, their sound changed from doing covers of R&B tunes to psychedelic rock. This led them to gigs along the Canadian and US west coast. Their strongest fan base in America was in California. There audiences welcomed their complex arrangements mixed with harmonies and extended solos and musical ad-libs.

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Sea Of Heartbreak by Don Gibson

#581: Sea Of Heartbreak by Don Gibson

Peak Month: July 1961
8 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #21
YouTube.com: “Sea Of Heartbreak
“Sea Of Heartbreak” lyrics

In 1928 Donald Eugene Gibson was born in Shelby, North Carolina. His family was poor and he stopped attending school in grade two to help out his sharecropping parents. He developed an interest in music at an early age and was inspired by recording artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford. Don Gibson began performing at local clubs before he was 18. In his late teens he held down a number of jobs including a as soda jerk, baby diaper deliveryman and dishwasher. A friend came home from Paris, France, after World War II with records by the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. This enhanced Gibson who began to experiment with different styles by his mid-teens. In 1946, he became a regular with the Tennessee Barn Dance in Knoxville, but things weren’t what Gibson expected. The fans wanted old-time country, not Gibson’s brand of crooning. He hung on to the radio job but struggled on $30 a week earned playing beer joints.

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Little Miss Stuck-Up by The Playmates

#582: Little Miss Stuck-Up by The Playmates

Peak Month: March 1961
8 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #70
YouTube.com: “Little Miss Stuck Up
“Little Miss Stuck Up” lyrics

The Nitwits were a vocal group that began performing in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1952. They were a trio consisting of Chic Hetti (born Carl Cicchetti) on piano and lead vocals, drummer and vocalist Donny Conn (born Donald Clapps), and Morey Carr (born Morey Cohen) on vocals and bass. All three were born in the Waterbury area. Each had attended the University of Connecticut in the early 50’s and decided to form a comedy group that also sang songs. They toured lounges in the USA and Canada. Their routine and material resembled another vocal group from the mid-50’s into the early 60’s named the Four Preps. Over five years of touring, the Nitwits shifted their focus from comedy skits with songs to being primarily a  vocal group with comedic banter between tunes. In the spring of 1957, the Nitwits got a contract with Roulette Records, becoming the labels first vocal group. They changed their name from the Nitwits to the Playmates. In the middle of the calypso craze, they released an album titled Playmates Visit the West Indies. In 1958 they had a #4 novelty hit called “Beep, Beep.” The group appeared on the Milton Berle Show in December. The single was their third Top 30 record. Since the song mentioned the Nash Rambler in the lyrics, it created a bump in sales for that model. “Beep Beep” sold a million records and got The Playmates many invitations to tour around the USA and Canada. From 1958 to 1962 they charted ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Cincinnati Fireball by Johnny Burnette

#583: Cincinnati Fireball by Johnny Burnette

Peak Month: October 1960
8 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Cincinnati Fireball
“Cincinnati Fireball” lyrics

John Joseph “Johnny” Burnette was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1934. When he was four his dad bought him a Gene Autry guitar, along with one for his older brother, Dorsey. During his teens, Johnny was a member of the school baseball and football teams. Along with his older brother, Dorsey, Johnny began appearing on Memphis radio stations and playing gigs for beer money, kicks and girls. Johnny Burnette was only 17. From 1948 to 1954, the Burnette brothers lived in a housing project in the Lauderdale Courts area of Memphis. This was the same housing project where Elvis Presley and his parents lived. After leaving high school, Johnny Burnette tried to become a professional boxer, However, after one fight with a sixty-dollar purse and a broken nose, Johnny Burnette traded in his boxing gloves to work on the barges up and down the Mississippi River.  In 1953, an amateur boxer named Paul Burlison, returned from the U.S. Army to Memphis. Dorsey had met Paul Burlison when he was boxing in the late ’40’s. Dorsey, Johnny and Paul formed a trio named the Rhythm Rangers. They later renamed themselves the Rock and toll Trio. They first performed “Rockabilly Boogie” in 1953. The songs’  title was made up from the name of cousin a of the Burnette brothers named Rocky, together with the name Billy. From that songs first performance the term rockabilly was coined. Johnny Burnette is singing the lead on this with Dorsey Burnette on guitar.

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Hard To Cry ~ Northwest Company

#1250: Hard To Cry ~ Northwest Company

Peak Months: July & August 1967
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN ALL-CANADIAN TOP TEN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Hard To Cry

The Northwest Company was a band in the Fraser Valley from the town of Haney, about 25 miles east of Vancouver. The bands members were bass player Gowan Jurgensen, lead vocalist Rick McCartie, lead guitar and vocalist Ray O’Toole, rhythm guitar player Vidor Skofteby and on drums and vocals, Richard Stepp. McCartie had been lead vocalist, and Richard Stepp the drummer, with the short-lived Vancouver band, The Questions, in 1965-66 (a group that won the Battle of the Bands in 1965 at the Pacific National Exhibition). The Northwest Company was originally named the Bad Boys. This was named after The Bad Boys Rag Shop, a trendy clothing store in Vancouver back in ’67. However, CFUN deejay Tom Peacock, encouraged the band to come up with another name that wouldn’t strike fear into parents of the groups female fan-base. It was Gowan Jurgensen who suggested to his bandmates the North West Company, based on the Montreal fur trading business founded in 1789. The band agreed, but distinguished themselves from the fur trading company with “Northwest” instead of “North West.”
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True Grit by Glen Campbell

#584: True Grit by Glen Campbell

Peak Month: August 1969
6 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #35
YouTube.com: “True Grit
“True Grit” lyrics

Glen Travis Campbell was born in 1936 in the village of Billstown, Arkansas. His dad was a sharecropper. He moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and at the age of 18 joined his uncle’s band, Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys. Campbell also had guest spots on a local KOB children’s TV show, K Circle B Time. In 1958, Campbell formed the Western Wranglers. In 1960 he moved to LA and joined The Champs of “Tequila” fame. Campbell also became a session musician in a group that would become known as The Wrecking Crew. During this time Glen Campbell played on recordings for Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and others. He recorded his first single in 1961 titled “Turn Around Look At Me.” In the mid-60’s Campbell appeared as a regular on Shindig!and Hollywood Jamboree. He also was a studio musician for The Beach Boys 1966 album, Pet Sounds, and for four months was a member of The Beach Boys and went on tour with them when Brian Wilson was ill. That same year Campbell was part of a backing band for Rick Nelson on a tour of the Far East.

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Bumble Bee by The Searchers

#585: Bumble Bee by The Searchers

Peak Month: April 1965
8 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #21
YouTube.com: “Bumble Bee
“Bumble Bee” lyrics

The Searchers formed in Liverpool in 1959, after a skiffle band by its founders took the name. They were the a backing band for Johnny Sandon, a rockabilly singer who was an early contributor to the Merseybeat. They took their name from the 1956 John Wayne film, The Searchers. (The film starred Wayne cast as Civil War veteran, Ethan Allen, who searches for his abducted niece for five years to discover she has become one of the wives of a Comanche chief, and wishes to remain with her Comanche husband, Scar). The founders of the Searchers were John McNally and Mike Pender. Pender was born in Liverpool in 1941 with the birth name Michael John Prendergast. John McNally was also born in Liverpool that year. It was Western film buff, Pender, who dragged McNally to see The Searchers. Inspired by the film, Pender convinced McNally the film title was a good name for their new skiffle band. Johnny Sandon left The Searchers in 1961 to form the Remo Four. Tony Jackson, from Liverpool (born 1940) became The Searchers lead singer by 1962.

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Three Steps To Heaven by Eddie Cochran

#586: Three Steps To Heaven by Eddie Cochran

Peak Month: June 1960
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Three Steps To Heaven
“Three Steps To Heaven” lyrics

Eddie Cochran was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota, in 1938. His family moved to the Los Angeles area in 1951 where Eddie attended Bell Gardens Junior High. While there he became friends with Connie ‘Guybo’ Smith. Smith was already a promising musical talent who played bass, steel guitar and mandolin. Eddie and Connie began to jam together and gave a concert at their junior high school. Connie “Guybo” Smith went on to become Cochran’s bass player and was one of the musicians heard on most records during Eddie’s brief professional career. In 1953, while still in junior high school, Eddie met another musician named Chuck Foreman. The two experimented with Foreman’s two-track tape recorder. The pair made recordings of a number of songs including “Stardust”, “The Poor People Of Paris”, “Hearts of Stone” and the “Cannonball Rag”. Cochran graduated from Bell Gardens Junior High in 1954.

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