Norwegian Wood/Michelle by The Beatles

#563: Norwegian Wood/Michelle by The Beatles

Peak Month: February 1966
4 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” lyrics
YouTube.com link: “Michelle
“Michelle” lyrics

Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool in 1942. He attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys and met fellow classmates  George Harrison on a school bus. When Paul was 14 his mom died from a blockage in one of her blood vessels. In his early teens McCartney learned to play trumpet, guitar and piano. He was left-handed and restrung the strings to make it work. In 1957, Paul met John Lennon and in October he was invited to join John’s skiffle band, The Quarrymen, which Lennon had founded in 1956. After Paul joined the group his suggested that his friend, George Harrison, join the group. Harrison became one of the Quarrymen in early 1958, though he was still only 14. Other original members of the Quarrymen, Len Garry, Rod Davis, Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths and Pete Shotton left the band when their set changed from skiffle to rock ‘n roll. John Duff Lowe, a friend of Paul’s from the Liverpool Institute, who had joined the Quarrymen in early 1958 left the band at the end of school. This left Lennon, McCartney and Harrison as remaining trio. On July 15, 1958, John Lennon’s mother died in an automobile accident.

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Generals And Majors by XTC

#564: Generals And Majors by XTC

Peak Month: January 1981
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position: #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #103
YouTube.com link: “Generals And Majors
“Generals And Majors” lyrics

In Swindon, UK, Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers invited Andy Partridge to be their guitar player and join Moulding on vocals. It was 1972 and the bands initial name was the Helium Kidz. The UK pop music magazine, New Musical Express, wrote an article about them. Swindon, in Wiltshire, England, was known for several other notable musicians including Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, Gilbert O’Sullivan (“Alone Again Naturally”), late 90s UK pop singles chart topper Billie Piper (“Because We Want To”, “Girlfriend”), and Josh Kumra who provided vocals on the #1 UK single, “Don’t Go” with Wretch 32 in 2011.

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Talk It Over In The Morning by Anne Murray

#565: Talk It Over In The Morning by Anne Murray

Peak Month: September 1971
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position: #7 on CKVN
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #57
YouTube.com link: “Talk It Over In The Morning
“Talk It Over In The Morning” lyrics

In 1945 Morna Anne Murray was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, a coal-mining town. Her father was a doctor and her mother was a registered nurse. Growing up she took piano lessons for six years and began taking vocal lessons at age fifteen in 1960. Anne loved music. It was the age of rock ‘n’ roll, and growing up she sang along with all her favourites – Buddy Holly, Bobby Darin and Connie Francis. However, Anne was also inspired by a wide variety of musical styles, including the classics, country, gospel, folk, and crooners such as Patti Page, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. She loved them all. In 1962 she gave one of her first public performances singing “Ave Maria” at her high school graduation. She went on to be part of the CBC variety show Singalong Jubilee in 1967. A document on display at the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia, dated May 30, 1966, informed her: “Your signature on four copies of this letter will serve to engage your services for the 1966 Singalong Jubilee series. It is understood that you will be required to function either as a singer for a fee of seventy-one dollars and fifty cents ($71.50) per show or as a soloist for a fee of ninety-nine dollars ($99.00).” Her first album, What About Me, was released in 1968. Her signature song, “Snowbird” went to #6 in Vancouver and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It established a following and 76 singles, 32 studio albums and 55 million record sales later, Anne Murray is one of the most awarded and honored recording artists in the Canadian music industry.

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Bangla Desh by George Harrison

#566: Bangla Desh by George Harrison

Peak Month: September 1971
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position: #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #23
YouTube.com link: “Bangla Desh
“Bangla Desh” lyrics

George Harrison was born in Liverpool in 1943. Harrison remembers cycling past a home in his neighborhood that was playing “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley. The encounter with the song got him hooked on rock ‘n roll. He subsequently was influenced by Little Richard and Buddy Holly. Harrison’s father bought him his first guitar in 1956 when Harrison was 13 years old. After Paul McCartney joined John Lennon’s group, the Quarymen, McCartney suggested that his friend, George Harrison, join the group. Harrison became one of the Quarrymen in early 1958, though he was still only 14. They changed their name to the Silver Beatles and then the Beatles in the spring of 1960. They group headed to Hamburg, Germany, on August 17, 1960, for a three-and-a-half month stint. In early 1961 the Beatles returned for more engagements in Germany. On June 22, 1961, Bert Kaempfert produced “My Bonnie”, “Ain’t She Sweet” and eight other songs. Later in 1961, “My Bonnie” climbed to #4 on the Hamburg pop charts and #32 on the German pop charts.
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#567: Snake In The Garden by Jerry Howard

Peak Month: February 1960
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Snake In The Garden

Not much is known about Jerry Howard. In 1959 he co-wrote “Feelin’ Low” for George Roberts And His Big Bass Trombone. The single was not a hit record. On November 16, 1959, Billboard reported that “Snake In The Garden” was “breaking” into the record and radio market in Miami. Indeed, the song was #17 on the WAME-AM survey the following week. After the single was released it got a review in the November 30, 1959, issue of Billboard magazine in their “Very Strong Sales Potential” section: “Snake In The Garden – strong performance by Howard on an interesting rockaballad with folksy flavor and the lyric based on Adam and Eve theme. Effective backing.”

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She Knows Me Too Well/Wendy by The Beach Boys

#568: She Knows Me Too Well/Wendy by The Beach Boys

Peak Month: September 1964
Wendy: 7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
She Knows Me Too Well: 9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position for both sides: #7
Wendy: Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #44
She Knows Me Too Well: Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #101
YouTube.com link: “She Knows Me Too Well
“She Knows Me Too Well” lyrics
YouTube.com link: “Wendy
“Wendy” lyrics

Brian Wilson was born in Inglewood, California, in 1942. In biographer Peter Ames Carlin’s book, Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, he relates that when Brian Wilson first heard George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” it had a huge emotional impact on him. As a youngster, Wilson learned to play a toy accordion and sang in children’s choirs. In his teens he started a group with his cousin, Mike Love and his brother, Carl. His named the group Carl and the Passions in order to convince his brother to join. They had a performance at Hawthorne High School, where they attended. Among the people in the audience was Al Jardine, another classmate. Jardine was so impressed with the performance that he let the group know. Jardine would later be enlisted, along with Dennis Wilson to form the Pendletones in 1961. The first song Brian Wilson wrote would become “Surfer Girl.” A demo of the tune was made in February 1962 and would go on to be a Top Ten hit when it was released a year later in 1963. However, their first recording was a doo-wop-surf tune called “Surfin’” in October 1961. It was released in November ’61 on the Candix Enterprises Inc. label. The surprise for the group was that the record label had changed the group’s name from the Pendletones to the Beach Boys. Consequently, as each time the record was played by a DJ in America, radio listeners were being introduced to the Beach Boys. The name Pendletones was now history.

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Werewolf by the Five Man Electrical Band

#569: Werewolf by the Five Man Electrical Band

Peak Month: May 1974
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #64
YouTube.com link: “Werewolf
“Werewolf” lyrics

The Five Man Electrical Band was a Canadian mainstream rock band from Ottawa. They had an international hit in 1970 called “Signs.” Their other hits did well in Canada, including “Absolutely Right” and “I’m A Stranger Here.” In 1970 the band released an album called Good-byes and Butterflies. The cover of the album prominently displayed a marijuana plant. The ensuing controversy led to the album being withdrawn and given a different cover with a butterfly composed of neon lights. “Signs” was initially the b-side of “Hello Melinda, Goodbye.” But by accident, the sides were reversed, making “Signs” the A-side, which radio listeners started began calling DJ’s for requests to hear it again.

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Silhouettes by The Nylons

#570: Silhouettes by The Nylons

Peak Month: December 1982
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN’s chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Silhouettes
“Silhouettes” lyrics

The Nylons are an a cappella group that formed in 1978, based in Toronto. The original members were all gay men: Dennis Simpson, Paul Cooper, Claude Morrison and Marc Connors. They released their self-titled album in 1982. There were some lineup changes after 1979 when Dennis Simpson left. By the time the Nylons released their first album, Arnold Robinson was the newcomer joining the other original group members.

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All I See Is You by Dusty Springfield

#571: All I See Is You by Dusty Springfield

Peak Month: October 1966
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN’s chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #20
YouTube.com link: “All I See Is You
“All I See Is You” lyrics

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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I'll Cry Instead by The Beatles

#572: I’ll Cry Instead by The Beatles

Peak Month: August 1964
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN’s chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com link: “I’ll Cry Instead
“I’ll Cry Instead” lyrics

Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool in 1942. He attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys and met fellow classmates  George Harrison on a school bus. When Paul was 14 his mom died from a blockage in one of her blood vessels. In his early teens McCartney learned to play trumpet, guitar and piano. He was left-handed and restrung the strings to make it work. In 1957, Paul met John Lennon and in October he was invited to join John’s skiffle band, The Quarrymen, which Lennon had founded in 1956. After Paul joined the group his suggested that his friend, George Harrison, join the group. Harrison became one of the Quarrymen in early 1958, though he was still only 14. Other original members of the Quarrymen, Len Garry, Rod Davis, Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths and Pete Shotton left the band when their set changed from skiffle to rock ‘n roll. John Duff Lowe, a friend of Paul’s from the Liverpool Institute, who had joined the Quarrymen in early 1958 left the band at the end of school. This left Lennon, McCartney and Harrison as remaining trio. On July 15, 1958, John Lennon’s mother died in an automobile accident.

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