The Way You Fell by The Chessmen

#662: The Way You Fell by The Chessmen

Peak Month: May 1965
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “The Way You Fell

In 1959 Guy Sobell became a member of a Vancouver band called The Ken Clark Trio. They drew inspiration from The Shadows, The Beatles and Sweden’s instrumental group the Spotnicks. For the first few years the trio subsisted by playing at frat parties at the University of British Columbia. In 1962 Sobell decided to form a new band. Among the musicians responding to an ad was Terry Jacks, who was 17 years old and studying architecture and a member of a band called The Sand Dwellers. Jacks band had released a single called “Build Your Castle Higher.” Written along with bandmade John Crowe, it was Jacks’ first recording. It was covered by Jerry Cole and His Spacemen as a track on their debut album, Outer Limits. The track was retitled “Midnight Surfer” and Jerry Cole went on to be part of Phil Spector’s group of now legendary session musicians called the Wrecking Crew who played on over 40 #1 hits in the USA. Prior to His Spacemen band, Jerry Cole was a member of the instrumental group The Champs who had a #1 hit in 1958 called “Tequila.” I don’t know if The Sand Dwellers got any royalties from Jerry Cole and His Spacemen.

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Bobby by Neil Scott

#663: Bobby by Neil Scott

Peak Month: July 1961
7 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #58 “Bobby

Neil Scott was the pseudonym for Neil E. Bogart who was born in 1943 in the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. Born Neil Scott Bogatz was raised in Brooklyn. Neil’s mother, Ruth, was verbally and physically abusive. She had high expectations of her Neil and his baby sister, Bonnie. His dad, Al, worked for the United States Navy. When he was stationed thousands of miles away, the stress of being a parent on her own drove Ruth to deal with young Neil as a toddler very roughly. On the upside, when Al Bogartz returned from World War II, he began to work as a postman. The family listened to Neil’s parents records and when they got an RCA TV set, Neil would imitate what was going on during a variety show. If there was dancing on the TV screen, Neil tried to do the dance steps. If there were comical jokes, Neil committed them to memory and repeated them to his sister, Bonnie, who laughed uncontrollably. They moved into the Glenwood Projects once these six story apartment buildings  were built in 1950. With 2,700 residents from many different backgrounds living in 1,186 apartments, there were inevitably conflicts between neighbors.

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Poor Little Fool by Frank Mills

#664: Poor Little Fool by Frank Mills

Peak Month: January 1972
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #106 “Poor Little Fool
“Poor Little Fool” lyrics “Poor Little Fool” (Ricky Nelson version)

In 1942, Frank Mills was born into a musical household in Montreal. His older sister and mother both played the piano. Young Frank learned to play piano by ear. He also learned to play trombone in high school and played in a school band. His parents both died of cancer by the time Frank was seventeen. Initially, he entered McGill University in pre-med. However, his marks weren’t good enough to continue. When he scored 98% on a Music Department entrance exam, his direction was certain.  and grew up in Verdun, Quebec.In 1970, Mills joined The Bells and the group released their second single “Fly Little White Dove Fly.” The song was part of a genre of anti-war/peace movement songs finding their way onto AM radio at the time. Other songs at the time included “War” by Edwin Starr, “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)” by Melanie and “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine” by the Fifth Dimension. The Bells offered a gentle nudge for radio listeners to move toward one another in love instead of pulling back from each other due to fear or division. The Bells went on to have a number of hits but none was bigger than “Stay Awhile,” which peaked at #2 in Vancouver, #9 in Australia and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. At the time they appeared on the Merv Griffin Show. 

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Levon by Elton John

#665: Levon by Elton John

Peak Month: January 1972
8 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #24 “Levon
“Levon” 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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Big League by Tom Cochrane & Red Rider

#666: Big League by Tom Cochrane & Red Rider

Peak Month: December 1988
13 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #13
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Big League
“Big League” lyrics

Tom Cochrane was born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba, in 1953. When he was eleven he got his first guitar. In his late teens and early twenties, he performed in coffee houses across Canada in the early 70’s. His debut album, Hang On To Your Resistance, was released in 1974. Then Tom Cochrane made his way to Los Angeles. In 1975, Cochrane got work composing theme music for the movie My Pleasure Is My Business. This was a film about Xavier Hollander, the call girl and adult film star who authored her own memoir, The Happy Hooker, in 1971. Unable to get subsequent work in Hollywood, Cochrane returned to Canada for drive a taxi and work on a cruise line. At a concert at the El Mocambo for Red Rider in 1978, Tom Cochrane met the band. Soon after Cochrane was invited to join Red Rider.

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Morning Dew by Lulu

#667: Morning Dew by Lulu

Peak Month: September 1968
6 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #52 “Morning Dew
“Morning Dew” lyrics

Born in 1948 as Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, Lulu is a singer and actress from Scotland. In a 2015 interview with the Telegraph in the UK, she said “I’ve been one of the luckiest people but I’ve been thrown from pillar to post, emotionally. I’ve dealt with demons, sadness … anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. I wasn’t happy. I don’t want people to really see me, I don’t want you to see my pain, I don’t want to have to tell you about the angst and craziness going on in my head. And I was trained to do that, as a very young girl. I’ve always tried not to be vulnerable. I’m fine, that’s what I always say. I’m fine. Let me tell you what my brother says FINE means? F—ing Incapable of Normal Expression!” She told reported Neil McCormick that her emotional roller coaster ride stems from her childhood.

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Tonight's The Night by The Shirelles

#668: Tonight’s The Night by The Shirelles

Peak Month: November 1960
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #39 “Tonight’s The Night
“Tonight’s The Night” lyrics

The Shirelles were a girl group that formed in 1957 in order to enter a talent show at their high school. The foursome were Shirley Owens, Beverly Lee, Addie “Micki” Harris and Doris Coley. Owens was born Shirley Alston Reeves in Henderson, North Carolina, in 1941. Harris was born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1940. Lee was also born in Passaic, in 1941. Coley was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in 1941. Their performance at that 1957 high school talent show led to a record contract with Decca Records. In 1958 they had a minor hit titled “I Met Him on a Sunday.” It was written by the foursome. The song concerned a girl who meets a guy on a Sunday. She misses him the next day, goes out on a date with him on Wednesday, kisses him on Thursday. And by Saturday she says “bye bye baby.” Such were the fates of some teens in the late 50’s checking out if there momentary crushes were solid enough to go steady.
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Done Too Soon by Neil Diamond

#669: Done Too Soon by Neil Diamond

Peak Month: June 1971
7 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position on CKVN ~ #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #65 “Done Too Soon
“Done Too Soon” lyrics

Neil Leslie Diamond was born in Brooklyn in 1941. His parents were Russian and Polish immigrants and both Jewish. His dad was a dry-goods merchant. When he was in high school he met Barbra Streisand in a Freshman Chorus and Choral Club. Years later they would become friends. When he was sixteen Diamond was sent to a Jewish summer camp called Surprise Lake Camp in upstate New York. While there he heard folk singer, Pete Seeger, perform in concert. That year Diamond got a guitar and, influenced by Pete Seeger, began to write poems and song lyrics. While he was in his Senior year in high school, Sunbeam Music Publishing gave Neil Diamond an initial four month contract composing songs for $50 a week (US $413 in 2017 dollars). and he dropped out of college to accept it.

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Who Do You Love by Tom Rush

#670: Who Do You Love by Tom Rush

Peak Month: May 1971
9 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position on CKVN ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Who Do You Love
“Who Do You Love” lyrics

Tom Rush was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1941. By the age of twenty he had a weekly gig at a folk music coffee house named Club 47 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His appearances at The Unicorn in Boston resulted in his 1962 debut album, Tom Rush at the Unicorn. His 1963 album, Got A Mind To Ramble, included a cover of “Nine Pound Hammer.” His 1968 album, The Circle Game, helped a wider audience appreciate the songwriting abilities of Joni Mitchell. Between 1962 and 1975, Tom Rush released twelve studio albums and one compilation LP. He had a break from studio recording until 1982 when he released two more albums. But back in 1966 Tom Rush released the album, Take A Little Walk With Me. It included a song titled “Who Do You Love.” In 1967 a Michigan band named The Woolies had a #11 hit in Vancouver with “Who Do You Love.” It would be four years later that Tom Rush’s version of the song made the Vancouver pop charts on CKVN.

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Zip Code by The Five Americans

#671: Zip Code by The Five Americans

Peak Month: September 1967
6 weeks on CKLGs Vancouver Chart
Peak Position: #4
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #36 “Zip Code
“Zip Code” lyrics

The Five Americans were originally a group called The Mutineers. They consisted of guitarist Mike Rabon, keyboard player Jim Durrill, guitar and harmonica player Norman Ezell, bass player Jim Grant and drummer Johnny Coble. From Durant, Oklahoma, they graduated as students from the local Southeastern State College and moved to Dallas, Texas. Coble was replaced by Jimmy Wright. Once in Texas their style shifted from mostly instrumental versions of tunes by Duane Eddy to a garage band sound. They recorded “I See The Light” in 1965 and it became a Top 30 hit in the USA the following year. It featured the Vox Continental electric organ and shouting out lyrics such as “you tried to fool me, but I got wise, now I won’t listen to none of your lies…. From now on baby, I’m gonna beware. I’ll be sorry baby, but I don’t care…”
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