Friends/Honey Roll by Elton John

#611: Friends/Honey Roll by Elton John

Peak Month: May 1971
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN’s chart
Friends Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #34
Honey Roll:
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Honey Roll Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart link: “Friends
“Friends” lyrics link: “Honey Roll
“Honey Roll” lyrics

Reginald Kenneth Dwight was born in 1947. When he was three years old he astounded his family when he was able to play The Skater’s Waltz by Émile Waldteufel by ear at the piano. When he was eleven years old he won a scholarship as a Junior Exhibitor at the Royal Academy of Music. Between the ages of 11 and 15  he attended the Academy on Saturday mornings. In 1962, by the age of 15, he was performing with his group, The Corvettes, at the Northwood Hills Hotel (now the Northwood Hills Public House) in a northern borough of London. While he was playing with a band called Bluesology in the mid-60s he adopted the stage name Elton John. His stage name, which became his legal name in 1967, was taken from Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean, and their lead singer, Long John Baldry.
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Believe Me by Royal Teens

#587: Believe Me by Royal Teens

Peak Month: November 1959
6 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #26 “Believe Me
“Believe Me” lyrics

Drummer Tom Austin was a founding member of The Royals in 1956 when he was 17 years old. He had been playing the drum since he was a child growing up in Fort Lee, Bergen County, New Jersey. Pianist Bob Gaudio was 14 years old when he became the group’s co-founder. Gaudio had been playing piano since he turned eight in 1950. Gaudio was born in November 1942 in Bergenfield, New Jersey. The two other members of the band were 14-year-old saxophonist, Billy Crandall, from Dumont, New Jersey, and 16-year-old Billy Dalton from Fort Lee.  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. Rogers promised them that they’d have a shot at recording a record sometime later in 1957.

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Loving You by Elvis Presley

#588: Loving You by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: June 1957
4 weeks on Red Robinson’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #28 “Loving You
“Loving You” lyrics

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon Presley, was stillborn. When he was eleven years old his parents bought him a guitar at the Tupelo Hardware Store. As a result Elvis grew up as an only child. He and his parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948. The young Presley graduated from high school in 1953. That year he stopped by the Memphis Recording Service to record two songs, including “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”, song #1083 on this Countdown. Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, Elvis began his singing career recording “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” at Sun Records in Memphis.

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Moonshine by John Kay

#589: Moonshine by John Kay

Peak Month: June 1973
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #105 “Moonshine (Friend of Mine)
“Moonshine (Friend of Mine)” lyrics

Joachim Fritz Krauledat was born in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany, in 1944. His father, Fritz, was killed in the war the month before his birth. In 1945, Soviet troops advanced across what became East Germany. His mother fled with him in what the child recalled as “a daring nighttime escape” into what became the British occupied zone to Hanover, West Germany. Young Joachim was influenced by British newsreels of the People’s Uprising in 1953 in East Germany. The uprising took place three months after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, on June 16-17, 1953. It involved over a million people going on strike across 700 towns and cities. The uprising was crushed by 20,000 Soviet soldiers and 8,000 East German police. Joachim was also stirred by the Hungarian Revolution of October 23 to November 10, 1956. Joachim Krauledat moved to Canada in 1958.

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Thirsty Ears by Powder Blues

#590: Thirsty Ears by Powder Blues

Peak Month: March 1981
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Thirsty Ears
“Thirsty Ears” lyrics

In 1978 Prism band member, Tom Lavin, left the group to form Powder Blues. Lavin had also recorded and been a member of Denise McCann’s backing band. Powder Blues was made up of Tom Lavin on guitar and vocals, Jack Lavin on bass, Mark Hasselbach on trumpet, Duris Maxwell on drums, Wayne Kozak, Gordon Bertram and David Woodward all on saxophone, Bill Hicks on drums and Will MacCalder on keyboards and vocals. Jack Lavin had been a member of Teen Angel. Willie MacCalder was formerly a member of Willie and The Walkers. Duris Maxwell was a former member of Skylark and Doucette. Gordie Bertram had been a member of Foreman Byrnes. Mark Hasselbach had been with Airbrush, a jazz band. David Woodward, born in Arlington, Virginia, had been a member of Toronto’s Downchild Blues Band since 1971.

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The Return Of The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen

#591: The Return Of The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen

Peak Month: March 1967
6 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #15 “Return Of The Red Baron
“Return Of The Red Baron” lyrics

The Posmen were a band from Ocala, Florida. They were all students at Lake Weir High School. With the British Invasion, they decided to change their name to the Royal Guardsmen, giving themselves a British sounding name. When their debut single, “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron,” became a hit single late in 1966, they began touring. The band consisted of Billy Taylor on organ, Tom Richards and Barry Winslow on guitar, drummer John Burdett, bass player Bill Balough and singer Chris Nunley. Their first single, “Baby, Let’s Wait,” climbed to #11 in Sarasota, Florida in the fall of 1966. They recorded “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” which became a #2 hit in the US and a #1 hit in Vancouver. Initially, the Royal Guardsmen got into legal trouble with their records about Snoopy since they hadn’t got permission from Peanuts cartoonist, Charles Schultz, to use Snoopy and the Red Baron in their songs.

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You're My Love by Della Reese

#592: You’re My Love by Della Reese

Peak Month: February 1960
6 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “You’re My Love

Delloreese Patricia Early was born in the Black Bottom neighborhood of Detroit in 1931. The neighborhood got its name from French colonial settlers impressed by the regions fertile soil. She told The Times in 1997, “Everything was a bill in our house. There was a grocery bill. Rent was a bill and the cleaning was a bill.” Her father would take what money was left and gamble. “Sometimes he’d win and it’d be good times, and if he didn’t win, it wouldn’t be such a good time.” By the age of six Delloreese was singing gospel in a local church. When she was twelve one of her cousins were killed in the Detroit Riots. When she was thirteen she was paid to sing in Mahalia Jackson’s gospel choir. After graduating from high school at the age of 15, her mother died. When her father started a new dating relationship and had his new girlfriend move into the house, Delloreese moved out and got work as a dental receptionist, elevator operator and truck driver. She also performed in clubs and changed her name on the billing from Delloreese Early to Della Reese.

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Shindig by The Shadows

#593: Shindig by The Shadows

Peak Month: December 1963
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Shindig

Brian Robson Rankin was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1941. He learned how to play the banjo and the piano in his childhood. But when he heard Buddy Holly, Rankin decided to learn the guitar. He had several buddies named Brian and so he got the nickname, “Hank”, to distinguish him from his namesakes. He liked the rockabilly singer, Marvin Rainwater, and his 1957 hit “Gonna Find Me A Bluebird”. Subsequently, Brian Rankin took the stage name Hank Marvin. Marvin and his boyhood chum, Bruce Welch, formed a band named The Railroaders in 1956. In early 1958 they released a song titled “Jean Dorothy” credited to The Five Chestnuts. Bruce and Hank moved to London later that year and briefly performed as The Geordie Boys. At the age of seventeen, Hank Marvin got a lucky break and was selected as guitarist in Cliff Richard’s backing band, The Drifters, as they were known in 1958. Fellow guitarist, Bruce Welch, also joined The Drifters.
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The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage by Smokey Robinson And The Miracles

#594: The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage by Smokey Robinson And The Miracles

Peak Month: March 1967
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #20 “The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage
“The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage” lyrics

William “Smokey” Robinson Jr. was born in Detroit in 1940. An uncle gave him the nickname “Smokey Joe” when he was a child. From the age of five he became acquainted with Aretha Franklin, who lived a few doors from his home in the Belmont neighborhood. In 1955 he formed a doo-wop group named the Five Chimes and renamed them the Matadors in 1957. Later that year they changed their name again to the Miracles. The other members of the Miracles were Robert Edward “Bobby” Rogers, who was born in 1940 in Detroit in the same hospital as Robinson. Bobby Rogers joined the Five Chimes in 1956. Born in 1942, Claudette Annette Rogers was from New Orleans and joined the Miracles in 1957. Ronald Anthony “Ronnie” White co-founded the Five Chimes with Smokey Robinson. Warren Thomas “Pete” Moore was born in Detroit in 1938 and was an original member of the Five Chimes.  Moore and Robinson met at a musical event in public school in Detroit. Marv Tarplin was born in Atlanta in 1941. He became the Miracles guitarist in 1959 after the group had a dismal reception at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in 1959. With a guitarist backing the five singers, they were headed for stardom.
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Billy, Billy Went A Walking by The Beau Marks

#595: Billy, Billy Went A Walking by The Beau Marks

Peak Month: November 1960
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Billy, Billy Went A Walking

Originally named the Del Tones when they formed in Montreal in 1958, the groups’ first single, called “Moonlight Party,” climbed to #1 in Montreal in May 1959. However, there were other bands with the same name. The Deltones had a single on Vee-Jay Records that was a minor hit in Chicago. That group had a minor hit in Philadelphia on another label in 1960 called “Strollin’ the Blues.” There was also a band from Australia called the Delltones. To avoid confusion, the Del Tones from Montreal changed their name to the Beau-Marks in 1959 in response to a political controversy. Their new name was a pun on the Bomarc, the worlds first supersonic long-range, anti-aircraft missile, developed by Boeing. The development of the Bomarc missile was accompanied by problems with its propulsion system. In 1958 the Conservative Government, led by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, was faced with two strategies for Canadian air defense. One was to produce the Avro Arrow, a very fast missile at a cost of over 12 Million per aircraft. It was created by the Canadian company, Avro Canada. The other option was to purchase Bomarc missles made by Boeing in Seattle, Washington, for 2 Million. The later missiles would be tipped with nuclear warheads. However, the Conservatives opted eventually not to have nuclear tipped missiles in Canada. With the cancellation of the Avro Arrow, the company lost over 14,000 jobs.

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