Sweet Dreams by Don Gibson

#1079: Sweet Dreams by Don Gibson

Peak Month: November 1960
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #93

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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Ready by Trooper

#1076: Ready by Trooper

Peak Month: December 1976
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #18
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

In 1967 Ra McGuire and Brian Smith played in a Vancouver band named Winter’s Green. The band recorded two songs, “Are You a Monkey” and “Jump in the River Blues” on the Rumble Records Label. “Are You a Monkey” later appeared on a rock collection: 1983’s “The History of Vancouver Rock and Roll, Vol. 3.” In the early seventies Winter’s Green changed their name to Applejack and added drummer Tommy Stewart and bassist Harry Kalensky to their lineup. Applejack became a very popular band in the Vancouver area, and began touring extensively in British Columbia. The band played a few original tunes such as “Raise a Little Hell,” and “Oh, Pretty Lady,” as well as Top 40 songs by artists such as Neil Young, and Chicago.

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Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife ~ Glen Campbell/Wayne Newton

#1037: Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife ~ Glen Campbell/Wayne Newton

Peak Month: August 1968
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #32 (Campbell)/#60 (Newton)

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 that same year was part of a backing band for Rick Nelson on a tour of the Far East.

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Lend Me Your Comb by Carol Hughes

#1109: Lend Me Your Comb by Carol Hughes

Peak Month: January 1958
3 weeks on Teen Canteen chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

In 1942 Carol Hughes was born, likely somewhere in New Jersey. A local paper in West Orange, New Jersey wrote in the winter of 1956 that “…a 14 years old, sophomore at West Orange High School (NJ) (has been) singing since the age of 2. She’s had TV experience appearing on the Arthur Murray Dance Party and the Dean Martin Show….” Carol Hughes’ first single was “Fancy Dance” recorded in October 1956 while she was only 14 years old. She was one of a number of female rockers following in the tradition of Brenda Lee, of which there were very few. In October 1956 male soloists and vocal groups dominated the record charts. At the time Carol Hughes released her first single there were 39 songs in the Top 50 in the USA that were sung by male soloists or male vocal groups. Making up the the difference were three tunes by male/female duos like Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly and eight charted songs by female recording acts. All were traditional pop singers like Patti Page (“Allegheny Moon“), Doris Day (“Whatever Will Be Will Be“) and The Chordettes (“Lay Down Your Arms“).

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I Will Play A Rhapsody by Burton Cummings

#1086: I Will Play A Rhapsody by Burton Cummings

Peak Month: December 1978
5 weeks on CKLG chart
Peak Position #16
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Burton Cummings is the former lead singer and keyboardist for the Winnipeg, Manitoba, based rock ‘n roll band The Guess Who. He was with the band from 1965 to 1975. Cummings sang, wrote or co-wrote many hit songs. These include “American Woman,” “Clap For the Wolfman,” “Hand Me Down World,” “Laughing,” “No Time,” “Share the Land,” “Star Baby” and “These Eyes.” His solo career includes many hit singles, including “I’m Scared,” “My Own Way to Rock” and “Fine State of Affairs.” His first solo hit single was “Stand Tall,” in 1976, which was his biggest hit as a solo recording artist.

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Hawaii by Gene Pitney

#1047: Hawaii by Gene Pitney

Peak Month: August 1964
5 weeks on CFUN chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Gene Pitney was born in 1940 in Hartford, Connecticut. He was a songwriter who became a pop singer, something rare at the time. Some of the songs he wrote for other recording artists include “Rubber Ball” for Bobby Vee, “He’s A Rebel” for The Crystals and “Hello Mary Lou” for Ricky Nelson. Pitney was more popular in Vancouver than in his native America. Over his career he charted 14 songs into the Top Ten in Vancouver, while he only charted four songs into the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Curiously, only two of these songs overlap: “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Vallance” and “I’m Gonna Be Strong.” Surprisingly “Only Love Can Break A Heart,” which peaked at #2 in the USA, stalled at #14 in Vancouver, and “It Hurts To Be In Love” stalled at #11 in Vancouver while it peaked at #7 south of the border.

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9 LB. Hammer by Sanford Clark

#1073: 9 LB. Hammer by Sanford Clark

Peak Month: February 1957
3 weeks on Teen Canteen chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Sanford Clark was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1935. In his early childhood his family moved to Phoenix. Sanford got his first guitar when he was 12 years old. He played around Phoenix until 1953, then he was enlisted at the age of 18 into the U.S. Air Force for four years. He then moved to Johnston Island in the Pacific where he played music when he was off-duty. The Air Force assigned back home in Phoenix where returned to playing clubs again. Local guitar player, Al Casey, had been a friend of Sanford Clark’s since school days told local disc jockey Lee Hazlewood to go listen to Sanford. Hazlewood was impressed with Sanford’s voice. He was looking for somebody to record a song he had just written. About a week later he took Sanford into Floyd Ramsey’s studio with Al Casey. They recorded “The Fool.” Hazlewood gave his wife, Naomi Ford, the songwriting credit for “The Fool.” At the time it was not allowed for a producer or manager to also be a writer of the songs that were being recorded in the studio. Sanford stated that he felt they were a mix between Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and just trying to get something a little different with there sound. People often wonder how the “drum sound” was made on the recording. They found a piece of split bamboo and beat it on the guitar case, then Casey insisted that the drummer use a drumstick.Continue reading →

Tell Me That You Love Me by Paul Anka

#1014: Tell Me That You Love Me by Paul Anka

Peak Month: November 1957
8 weeks on CKWX chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Paul Anka was 16 years old when he had a number one hit with “Diana” in 1957, a song he wrote about a girl in the church he attended. He continued to have a string of Top Ten and Top 20 hits into 1963 in Canada, the United States, the UK and Italy. But with the British Invasion, Paul Anka was sidelined not to return to the pop charts until his #1 hit in 1974, “You’re Having My Baby.” The song was a duet with Odia Coates. The duo enjoyed a string of Top 20 hits in Canada and the USA including 1974’s “One Man Woman/One Woman Man” and 1975’s “I Don’t Like To Sleep Alone” and “(I Believe) There’s Nothing Stronger Than Our Love.”

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Liars by Ian Thomas

#1022: Liars by Ian Thomas

Peak Month: June 1976
7 weeks on CKLG chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

In 1950, Ian Thomas was born in Hamilton, Ontario. Once he began to play piano at the age of six Thomas fell in love with the world of music. He later learned the guitar. By 1969 he was in a folk group called Tranquility Base which began to tour across Canada. They had a #3 hit in Hamilton in 1970 called “If You’re Looking.” This led to an album, but further success eluded them. Thomas became a producer at the CBC. By 1973 he got his own record deal with GRT Records and released “Painted Ladies.” The song climbed to #9 in Vancouver and #34 on the Billboard Hot 100. His self-titled album went Gold. Thomas won the 1974 Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist and toured with April Wine. He got exposure on a number of TV variety shows in Canada which included both his musical and comedic talents.

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D-Darling by Paul Evans

#1001: D-Darling by Paul Evans

Peak Month: November 1962
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
CFUN Twin Pick October 13, 1962

Paul Evans was born in Queens, New York, in 1938. Although he got some fame with his modest success as a teen idol, Evans is more well known for his songwriting for other performing artists. The list of artists in the music industry who’ve recorded a song my Paul Evans include LaVern Baker, Tab Hunter, Cliff Richard, Sammy Turner, Elvis Presley (“I Gotta Know“) Pat Boone (“Johnny Will“), Siw Malmkvist, Bobby Vinton (“Roses Are Red“), The Platters, Mario Lanza (“Lady of Spain“), Hank Locklin, Johnny Tillotson, Bobby Sherman, Chad & Jeremy, Lulu, Kalin Twins (“When“), Ray Coniff, Paul Anka and the Shocking Blue. However, unlike in his native country of America where his chart success was uneven, Evans charted seven songs into the Top 20 in Vancouver. So, in the period between 1959 and 1962, Paul Evans was better known in Vancouver as a teen idol than for his compositions for other recording artists.
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