#783: It Always Happens This Way by Toulouse

Peak Month: May 1977
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Heather Gauthier and her sister Mary Lou Gauthier, and Judi Richards were backing vocalists. In the mid-70’s they had been singing backup for various local groups in Montreal in recording studios. However, it wasn’t lucrative enough. In 1975 they decided to become their own performing act. By 1976 their line-up was composed of Heather Gauthier, Judi Richards and Lorri Zimmerman. Their first single on Magique Records, off the Toulouse album, was the French hit “It Always Happens This Way (C’est toujours à recommencer).” It only contained two lines in English but managed to chart outside of Quebec. In April 1977 it reached #39 on RPM Top Singles Chart, #29 in Toronto, #8 in Vancouver and #6 in Ottawa. Toulouse were the first bilingual disco recording act who comfortably sang in English and French.
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Your Own Back Yard by Dion

#784: Your Own Back Yard by Dion

Peak Month: July 1970
8 weeks on CKVN chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #75

Dion Francis DiMucci was born in the Bronx, NY, in 1939. His parents named him Dion in honor of the French Canadian Dionne quintuplents who captured the interest of millions around the world after the five infants were born in May 1934. Dion’s dad, Pasquale DiMucci, was a vaudeville performer and Dion accompanied him to see his dad on stage. As a child he was given an $8 dollar guitar by his uncle while he lived on 183rd Street. Dion’s childhood was set in the midst of conflict between his parents. In an interview with New York Magazine in 2007, Dion remembers “…There was a lot of unresolved conflict in my house… My pop, Pasquale, couldn’t make the $36-a-month rent on our apartment at 183rd and Crotona Avenue.” He was a dreamer, a failed vaudevillian, and sometimes Catskills puppeteer. He’d talk big and lift weights he’d made from oilcans, while Frances, Mrs. DiMucci, took two buses and the subway downtown to work in the garment district on a sewing machine. “When they’d start yelling, I’d go out on the stoop with my $8 Gibson and try to resolve things that way.” Dion began singing in Bronx bars at 13, doing a Hank Williams nasal twang imitation fused with street-corner aesthetic. As a teenager growing up in the Bronx, Dion DiMucci began singing on street corners at the age of 13. When he was 14, in 1955, he started hanging out at the Apollo Theatre on 125th Street in Harlem. It was there he’d hear group like the Cleftones singing “Little Girl Of Mine” and the Cadillacs singing “Speedoo.” From these black doo-wop groups Dion got some ideas for making harmony and choreography moves.

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The Rebel - Johnny Yuma by Johnny Cash

#785: The Rebel – Johnny Yuma by Johnny Cash

Peak Month: May 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #108

John R. “Johnny” Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, in 1932. At the age of five he started working with his sharecropping parents and siblings in the cotton fields. During his childhood his family home was flooded twice. He began singing and playing guitar by the age of 12. He moved to Detroit in his late teens for work. He was drafted and served in the U.S. Air Force as a Morse Code Intercept Operator for Soviet Army transmissions at a base in Germany from 1950 to 1954. When he was discharged from the military he and his new wife, Liberto, moved to Memphis. Cash worked as an appliance salesman while trying to get a break in the music industry. Cash got to audition with Sun Records in 1954. He had his first charting single on the Billboard Country charts in 1955 titled “Cry! Cry! Cry!” Subsequently single releases, “So Doggone Lonesome” and “I Walk The Line” climbed to #4 and #1 on the Country charts. The latter hit also was his first debut on the Billboard pop charts where it made it to #17 in 1956.

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Looking At A Baby by The Collectors

#786: Looking At A Baby by The Collectors

Peak Month: April 1967
10 weeks on CFUN chart
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

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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New Orleans by Stampeders

#787: New Orleans by Stampeders

Peak Month: October 1975
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

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 →

Great Airplane Strike by Paul Revere and The Raiders

#788: Great Airplane Strike by Paul Revere and The Raiders

Peak Month: October 1966
5 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #20
1 week Hitbound ~ CKLG September 24, 1966

A band called The Downbeats formed in Boise, Idaho, in 1958. Paul Revere Dick started the band originally as an instrumental group. They had their first chart single in Vancouver in 1960. It was an instrumental riff on the piano tune, Chopsticks, which they titled “Beatnik Sticks. They changed their name to Paul Revere And The Raiders in 1960. Between 1960 and 1976 they released 41 singles. They charted five songs into the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA beginning in 1966 with songs like Kicks,” and “Hungry” (1966), “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” (1967) and their cover of Don Fardon’s 1968 single “Indian Reservation,” which peaked at #1 for the band in 1971. They were even more popular in Vancouver where they charted over fifteen songs into the Top Ten on the local charts here on the West Coast.
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Can't Make No Sense by Blue Northern

#788: Can’t Make No Sense by Blue Northern

Peak Month: October 1980
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Blue Northern was a Vancouver band that got their start in 1977. The founding members were Garry Comeau on guitar and fiddle, Lee Roy Stephens on bass, steel and rhythm guitar player Jimmy Wilson and Brady Gustafson on drums. As they developed their sound the band wanted to broaden their audience appeal. It happened that one of the audience members who enjoyed Blue Northern in concert was Billy Cowsill. William “Bill” Joseph Cowsill, Jr., was born in the USA in 1948 and had moved to Vancouver in 1977. He had been the lead singer of The Cowsills, a family pop singing group from Newport, Rhode Island. The Cowsills had several hits between 1967 and 1969, including “The Rain, The Park & Other Things” and “Hair.” The Cowsills appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dick Cavett Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. They also were the spokespersons for the American Dairy Association. Billy Cowsill got used to appearing in two hundred concerts a year for several years. His addition to Blue Northern gave them a talking point for MCs who introduced them when performing in the late 70s and early 80s. Cowsill also brought his considerable experience in the music industry.
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What Kind Of Love Is This by Streetheart

#790: What Kind Of Love Is This by Streetheart

Peak Month: May 1982
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #13
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Kenny Shields was from Nokomis, Saskatchewan in 1947. When he was six years old he won an amateur talent contest. Once he graduated from high school he pursued music and in 1967 formed a band in Saskatoon named Witness Inc. The band had several Top Ten hits in local radio markets in the Canadian Prairies and in Ontario. These include “I’ll Forget Her Tomorrow,” “Jezebel” and “Harlem Lady.” In 1969 Sheilds had a near fatal car accident and had to undergo therapy and rehab for a number of years. This meant he had to quit the band. In 1975 Shields was back with Witness Inc. and by that time he was the only original member in the band. But the pseudo-psychedlic sound that Witness Inc. was known for was no longer in vogue. The band changed its name to Streetheart and with it got a newer rock ‘n roll sound. Bass player Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve and keyboard player, Daryl Gutheil, made the transition from Witness Inc. As Streetheart, they were joined by Paul Dean and Matt Frenette who both moved on to form Loverboy.
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I Put A Spell On You by Creedence Clearwater Revival

#791: I Put A Spell On You by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Peak Month: December 1968
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #58
1 week Hitbound

In 1959 John Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford formed a trio named the Blue Velvets. Based in El Cerrito, California, just north of Berkeley, they were joined in 1960 by John’s brother, Tom, who had been in a band called The Playboys. The Blue Velvets were influenced by Little Richard and other rock ‘n roll greats. They played a number of hits on the radio and their cover of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want To Dance,” was an audience favorite. In 1964 the Blue Velvets changed their name to the Golliwogs. They had a Top Ten hit called “Brown Eyed Girl” in San Jose (#7), Fresno (#3) and Miami (#8) in the winter of 1965-66. It was a blues infused tune, but not the same-titled song that Van Morrison would take up the charts the following year. In 1966 John Fogerty was drafted into the U.S. Army reserves and was stationed in Fort Bragg, NC, and then in Fort Knox, KY, and finally Fort Lee, VA.  Meanwhile, Doug Clifford went into the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Fogerty and Clifford finished their respective service in ‘Reserves in 1967. And in 1967 the Golliwogs changed their name to Creedence Clearwater Revival. This was because Saul Zaentz bought Fantasy Records and offered the Golliwogs a chance to record a studio  album provided that they change their name.

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No Good To Cry by The Poppy Family

#792: No Good To Cry by The Poppy Family

Peak Month: December 1971
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #7 CKLG/#9 CKVN*
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #84
1 week Hitbound ~ CKVN ~ November 5, 1971

Susan Pesklevits was born in 1948 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. When she was seven years old she was a featured singer on a local radio station. At the age of eight her family moved to the Fraser Valley town of Haney, British Columbia. When she was 13 years old she had her own radio show. In a December 1966 issue of the Caribou newspaper, the Quesnel Observer noted that Susan Pesklevits had auditioned for Music Hop in the summer of 1963 when she was only 15 years old. She had her first public performance at the Fall Fair in Haney when she was just 14 years old. It was noted she liked to ride horseback, ride motorcycles and attend the dramatic shows. Asked about what she could tell the folks in Quesnel about trends in Vancouver, Pesklevits had this to report, “the latest things in Vancouver are the hipster mini-skirts, bright colored suit slacks, and the tailored look. The newest sound is the “Acid Sound,” derived from L.S.D…. it is “pshodelic” which means it has a lot of fuzz tones and feed back. As an example, she gave “Frustration” recorded by the Painted Ship” a local band from Vancouver. Pesklevits added that on the West Coast “the latest dance is the Philly Dog. It mainly consists of two rows, one of girls and one of boys. The idea is to take steps, move in unison, while doing jerking motions and using a lot of hand movement.” In the summer of 1966 Pesklevits formed a trio with Tom Northcott and Howie Vickers called The Eternal Triangle who released one single titled “It’s True.” Vickers went on to form The Collectors which later morphed into Chilliwack.

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