Swiss Maid by Del Shannon

#802: Swiss Maid by Del Shannon

Peak Month: August 1962
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #64
CFUN Twin Pick August 4, 1962

Charles Weedon Westover was born on December 30, 1934. He was known professionally as Del Shannon. Westover was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He learned ukulele and guitar and listened to country music. He was drafted into the Army in 1954, and while in Germany played guitar in a band called The Cool Flames. When his service ended, he returned to Battle Creek, Michigan. There he worked as a carpet salesman and as a truck driver in a furniture factory. He found part-time work as a rhythm guitarist in singer Doug DeMott’s group called Moonlight Ramblers, working at the Hi-Lo Club. Ann Arbor deejay Ollie McLaughlin heard the band. In July 1960, Westover signed to become a recording artist and composer on the Bigtop label. Westover changed his name to Del Shannon. It was a combination of Shannon Kavanagh (a wannabe wrestler who patronized the Hi-Lo Club) with Del, derived from the Cadillac Coupe de Ville, which Westover’s carpet store boss drove.

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1432 Franklin Pike Circle Hero by Bobby Russell

#803: 1432 Franklin Pike Circle Hero by Bobby Russell

Peak Month: November 1968
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #36
1 week Hitbound on CKLG

Robert L. Russell was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1941. As he grew up Nashville was becoming a city known for country and pop music. When he was 17 Bobby Russell recorded “The Raven,” backed with “She’s Gonna Be Sorry.” It was a rockabilly number backed with his group, The Impollos. It was not a hit. But his second release, “Dum Diddle,” another rockabilly number, made the Top 30 in Des Moines, Iowa, in the spring of 1959. He kept on releasing solo records and in 1966 his single, “Friends And Mirrors,” got airplay in several states across the USA, Canada and Australia. By the age of 18 Bobby Russell was writing songs that were being recorded in studios by teen singers hopeful of having a hit record. Over the following decade the recording artists who recorded Russell’s material include Kathy Young and The Innocents, Jan and Dean, Vic Dana, The Isley Brothers, Tom Jones, Freddy Cannon, Bryan Hyland’s “The Joker Went Wild,” Gary Lewis And The Playboys “Sure Gonna Miss Her,” Billy Swan, Cilla Black, Bobby Vee, Johnny Mathis and others. In 1966 Russell co-founded Elf Records.

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Freedom by Jimi Hendrix

#804: Freedom by Jimi Hendrix

Peak Month: April 1971
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #59

In 1942 Johnny Allen Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington. His grandparents, Nora and Ross Hendrix immigrated from America to Vancouver in 1911. There they raised Jimi’s father, James Allen Hendrix, who moved to Seattle in 1941 where he met Lucille Jeter, Jimi’s mother. In 1946, Johnny Allen Hendrix’s name was changed to James “Jimmy” Marshall Hendrix. As a child when he was asked to sweep the floor with a broom, his parents and grandparents would find him in his room strumming the broom like he was playing a guitar. He was given a guitar when he was 15 years old. Despite a limited mainstream exposure of four years while billed as Jimi Hendrix, he is widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.

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What's It Gonna Be by Dusty Springfield

#805: What’s It Gonna Be by Dusty Springfield

Peak Month: January 1968
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #49

Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien was born in West Hampstead in north London, in 1939. Along with her oldest brother, Dion, she recorded her first tape of a song they sang while still children. Her dad was an unhappy accountant who dreamed of becoming a concert pianist, but never became one. While Mary’s mother, according to the Karen Bartlett autobiography, Dusty: An Intimate Portrait, “was continuously drunk and sat all day in cinemas.”As she grew up, Mary went to school at a Roman Catholic Convent. At the age of 18 she became a member of a female group named the Lana Sisters. The group sang backup to pop singer Al Saxton who had several Top 30 hits in the late 50’s in the UK, including a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Only Sixteen” and “You’re The Top Cha.” While Saxton enjoyed his moments of fame, Mary teamed up with her brother, Dion, and a friend of theirs named Tim Field. By the end of 1959 she had taken the stage name of Dusty Springfield. The trio, now known as The Springfields, got a record deal with Philips Records in 1961.

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Chinatown Calculation by Doug & The Slugs

#806: Chinatown Calculation by Doug & The Slugs

Peak Month: November 1980
5 weeks on CFUN Top 20
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
3 weeks Hitbound on CFUN

Doug Bennett was born in Toronto in 1951. He worked as a graphic designer after his schooling and at the age of 22 moved to Vancouver in 1973. He got a job as a cartoonist and editor for the weekly alternative paper the Georgia Strait. He also played with a number of bands. By 1977 Bennett was in search of some new outlets for his creativity and was introduced to guitarist John Burton. Burton had been in a group called The Ugly Slugs. Bennett and Burton began performing locally and added bassist Dennis Henderson, drummer Ted Laturnus and and Drew Neville on keyboards. They became Doug and The Slugs.

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Flip Flop And Fly by Downchild Blues Band

#807: Flip Flop And Fly by Downchild Blues Band

Peak Month: March 1974
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

The Downchild Blues Band was formed in Toronto in 1969 and continues to perform today. It was co-founded by two brothers, Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh and Richard “Hock” Walsh. The band’s international fame is partially due to three of its songs, the originals “I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost)” and “Shot Gun Blues”, and its adaptation of “Flip, Flop and Fly,” all from their 1973 album, Straight Up, being featured on the first Blues Brothers album, “Briefcase Full of Blues,” from 1978. “Flip, Flop And Fly” has been Downchild’s biggest hit single, and became the signature song of Hock Walsh. The band’s musical style is described as being “a spirited, if fundamental, brand of jump-band and Chicago-style blues.” The bands’ name came from the Sonny Boy Williamson II song, “Mr. Downchild.”

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Secret Information by Chilliwack

#808: Secret Information by Chilliwack

Peak Month: March 1983
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #110

Bill Henderson was born in Vancouver in 1944. He learned guitar and became the guitarist for the Panarama Trio that performed at the Panarama Roof dance club on the 15th Floor of the Hotel Vancouver. He formed the psychedelic pop-rock Vancouver band, The Collectors, in 1966. After a half dozen local hits including “Fisherwoman” and “Lydia Purple” the Collectors name was ditched in 1970. Henderson (vocals, guitar), Claire Lawrence (saxophone, keyboards), Ross Turney (drums) and Glenn Miller (bass) were all Collectors bandmates. After Howie Vickers left The Collectors, they changed their name to Chilliwack. The name was a Salish First Nations name that means “going back up” and is the name of a city in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.

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I Don't Believe In Miracles by C.B. Victoria

#809: I Don’t Believe In Miracles by C.B. Victoria

Peak Month: October 1976
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #13
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Little is known about C.B. Victoria. Someone identifying as radiofan posted the Can-Con 45 Of The Day on RadioWest.ca on September 29, 2017, with a question: “guess where he’s from?” Music critic, Richard Skelly, recalls that C.B. Victoria now goes by the name of Edwin Coppard. On YouTube.com conversation threads someone named Brian Everett Robinson states, “I knew this guy a bit…a vocal teacher and a kinda harmless eccentric dude.” In another post on the YouTube.com thread, C Wade recalls he “took vocal lessons from him. Great guy…. Lived in North Vancouver (and now) in near Victoria, BC.” So the stage name,”C.B. Victoria,” was a sort of word play, turning Victoria, British Columbia, or Victoria B.C., backwards.

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Don't You Sweetheart Me by Bobby Curtola

#810: Don’t You Sweetheart Me by Bobby Curtola

Peak Month: July 1961
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
CFUN Twin Pick ~ June 10, 1961

Bobby Curtola was born in Port Arthur, Ontario, in 1943. (The town would become amalgamated into the city of Thunder Bay in 1970). In the fall of 1959, sixteen-year-old high school student Bobby Curtola went from pumping gas at his father’s garage in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to the life of a teen idol. Within a year he went from playing in his basement band, Bobby and the Bobcats, to recording his first hit single in 1960, “Hand In Hand With You”, which charted in Ontario, but not in Vancouver. After performing on the Bob Hope Show in 1960, the charismatic teenager, with his handsome boy-next-door looks was quickly finding himself within a whirlwind called “Curtolamania.”

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Me And Bobby McGee by Gordon Lightfoot

#811: Me And Bobby McGee by Gordon Lightfoot

Peak Month: August 1970
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6 on CKVN
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Gordon Meridith Lightfoot Jr. was born in Orillia, Ontario, on November 17, 1938. His parents, Jessica and Gordon Lightfoot Sr., ran a dry cleaning business. His mother noticed young Gordon had some musical talent and the boy soprano first performed in grade four at his elementary school. He sang the Irish lullaby “Too Ra Loo Rah Loo Rah” at a parents’ day. As a member of the St. Paul’s United Church choir in Orillia, Lightfoot gained skill and needed confidence in his vocal abilities under the choir director, Ray Williams. Lightfoot went on to perform at Toronto’s Massey Hall at the age of twelve when he won a competition for boys who were still boy sopranos. During his teen years Gordon Lightfoot learned to play piano, drums and guitar.

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