Fire by Platinum Blonde

#622: Fire by Platinum Blonde

Peak Month:  April 1988
10 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Fire
“Fire” lyrics

Mark Holmes was born in the UK and lived in Manchester until the family moved to Toronto. He met several other musicians and formed a punk band that played covers to The Police and other new wave bands. After a lineup change, Holmes was playing guitar and the lead vocalist, Chris Steffler was the drummer and Sergio Galli was a second guitarist. The trio became Platinum Blonde. They got a record deal with CBS in 1983. Their debut album, Standing In The Dark, earned them two Video Of The Year nominations at the 1984 Juno Awards. But it was their second album, Alien Shores, which included “Crying Over You,” a #1 single on the Canadian RPM charts in 1985, and in Vancouver.
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It'll Be Me by Cliff Richard

#623: It’ll Be Me by Cliff Richard

Peak Month:  August 1963
11 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “It’ll Be Me
“It’ll Be Me” lyrics

Cliff Richard was born Harry Roger Webb on October 14, 1940, in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1940 Lucknow was part of the British Raj, as India was not yet an independent country. Webb’s father worked on as a catering manager for the Indian Railways. His mother raised Harry and his three sisters. In 1948, when India had become independent, the Webb family took a boat to Essex, England, and began a new chapter. At the age of 16 Harry Webb was given a guitar by his father. Harry then formed a vocal group called the Quintones. Webb was interested in skiffle music, a type of jug band music, popularized by “The King of Skiffle,” Scottish singer Lonnie Donegan who had an international hit in 1955 called “Rock Island Line.”

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Little Liar by Terry Black

#624: Little Liar by Terry Black

Peak Month: June 1965
8 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Little Liar

Terrance Black was born in Vancouver in 1949. Local DJ, Red Robinson, has said about Terry Black: “Back in the British Invasion days, a young Vancouver singer took the city by storm. He was discovered by Buddy Clyde on Dance Party, a teen show on CHAN TV (now Global). Buddy was able to get the attention of the owner of Dunhill records, the same label that the Mamas and Papas recorded for as well as P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and others of the day.” Terry Black’s first single, “Sinner Man,” was a minor hit in Canada in 1964. His vocal style mimicked the sound of many male vocalists who were part of the British Invasion. While he was fifteen years old, Black had a #2 hit in Vancouver with “Unless You Care.” His single was kept out of the #1 spot in September ’64 by Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman.” “Unless You Care” was written and produced by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. Two of the studio musicians on the single were Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, who both went on to have recording careers. The song was a major hit in Canada and also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at #99. In Canada, Black was awarded the Male Vocalist of the Year award at the Maple Music Awards in 1964.

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Life In The Bloodstream by The Guess Who

#625: Life In The Bloodstream by The Guess Who

Peak Month: December 1971
8 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Life In The Bloodstream
“Life In The Bloodstream” lyrics

Originally there was a band in Winnipeg called Al & The Silvertones. The band had some lineup changes and became Chad Allen & The Expressions. In time they changed their name again to The Guess Who ?, with a question mark at the end of their name. They had a hit in Canada in 1965 called “Shakin’ All Over”, a cover version of the original by the UK’s Johnny Kidd And The Pirates in 1960. The Guess Who tried to tour in the UK themselves in 1967 to support their single, “His Girl”. However, they didn’t have the proper documentation to perform, and “His Girl” only ended up spending one week on the British singles charts.

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#626: Teenland by Northern Pikes

Peak Month: September 1987
10 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Teenland
“Teenland” lyrics 

In 1984, The Northern Pikes became a band. They were from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The band was made up of members from three existing bands in the city: Doris Daye, The Idols and 17 Envelope. John Peter “Jay” Semko was from Saskatoon and was already a gifted singer, songwriter, bass guitar player and pianist. Bryan Anthony Potvin was born in 1963 in Ottawa and his family moved to Victoria where he began playing guitar. Merl Bryck, born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, was a backing vocalist and rhythm guitarist. There were a number of lineup changes. In 1986 The Idols drummer, Don Schmid, made The Northern Pikes a permanent quartet, playing drums and percussion. Schmid was born in Saskatoon. Initially, the band released several EPs. The first was the self-titled The Northern Pikes in 1984. The second EP was Scene In North America, released in 1985. They recorded both EPs at a studio near Pike Lake, SK.

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#627: Never To Leave by Two Bits

Peak Month: January 1967
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Never To Leave

The Two Bits are rumored to have been the American band The Cascades, who had a big hit in 1963 with “Rhythm of the Rain”. The origins of The Cascades, a smooth pop harmony group, were born in 1960 aboard the U.S.S. Jason AR-8. When the ship wasn’t overseas in Sasebo, Japan, it docked in San Diego. The group initially consisted of singer and lead guitarist Lenny Green, singer and drummer Dave Wilson, bass player Dave Stevens and rhythm guitarist Art Eastlink. On and off ship they were known to other servicemen and local San Diegans’ as The Silver Strands. Fellow friend and serviceman on the U.S.S. Jason, John Gummoe, was a huge fan and started to serve as the group’s manager. Gummoe booked the group for five gigs a week. He also performed duets with Dave Wilson as part of the Silver Strands’ concerts. The group left the U.S. Navy and became billed as The Thundernotes. They released an instrumental surf single in the fall of 1961. “Pay Day” got airplay on the local San Diego radio station KDEO. Lenny Green left the group and John Gummoe officially joined the band as lead vocalist.

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I Am Here by Grapes Of Wrath

#628: I Am Here by Grapes Of Wrath

Peak Month: October 1991
13 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “I Am Here
“I Am Here” lyrics

When they were eight years old Kevin Kane and Chris Hooper met. Four years later they became good friends and formed a band at the age of 13, enlisting Chris’ younger brother Tom to play bass. In the late 70’s they formed a punk band they called Kill Pigs. They eased of the harsh sound and reformed in 1983 as the Grapes Of Wrath. The band’s name came from the iconic 1939 novel by John Steinbeck about the dust bowl and the hopeless circumstances of tenant farmers trying to make a living during the Great Depression. The phrase comes from a line in “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic” from 1861, and references several verses from the Book of Revelation 14:18-19 about an angel pressing grapes into the wrath of God. Their debut album, September Bowl Of Green, was released in 1985. Their second album, Treehouse, featured backing vocals by Tom Cochrane, who also produced the 1987 album. In 1989, the band added Vincent Jones to their lineup and released Now And Then. In the fall of 1989, their single, “All The Things I Wasn’t”, made the Top 30 in Vancouver and Hamilton. That fall they toured as the opening act for the Canadian singer, Sarah McLauchlan.

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Lover Of Mine by Alannah Myles

#629: Lover Of Mine by Alannah Myles

Peak Month: April 1990
12 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Lover Of Mine
“Lover Of Mine” lyrics

Alannah Byles was born in Toronto in 1958. She rode horses in the Royal Winter Fair by the age of twelve. At age nine she began to play musical instruments and write songs. She performed some songs at a Kiwanis Music Festival in Toronto when she was twelve. Later, in her teens, she formed a band and began to perform in concert by her late teens. At the age of 19, she changed her surname from Byles to Myles. In 1984, she made a guest appearance in the Canadian TV show, “The Kids of Degrassi Street.” Her role was a single mom who wanted to become a singer. In 1989, Alannah Myles released her self-titled debut album with the single, “Black Velvet,” a power ballad that became an international hit. For that performance she would win a Grammy Award in 1991 for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Another single, “Love Is,” was a prior single release in Canada, but was released after “Black Velvet” in America.

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Boy Inside The Man by Tom Cochrane & Red Rider

#630: Boy Inside The Man by Tom Cochrane & Red Rider

Peak Month: August 1986
11 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #12
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Boy Inside The Man
“Boy Inside The Man” 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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Out Of Time by Chris Farlowe

#631: Out Of Time by Chris Farlowe

Peak Month: October 1966
6 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #1
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #122 “Out Of Time
“Out Of Time” lyrics

Chris Farlowe was born in Islington, in suburban London, in 1940. His birth name was John Henry Deighton. During World War II he learned to join in at family sing-alongs where his mum played piano. In the late ‘50’s Farlowe was part of a skiffle group named the John Henry Skiffle Group. Skiffle was a genre of music that drew on jazz, roots, blues and folk influences. They entered and won a number of local talent contests and played at local venues. He became an amateur boxer and eventually a carpenter while he continued to play in a band he formed called Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. The name Farlowe was inspired by the American jazz guitarist, Tal Farlow, while Thunderbirds was after the name of a popular American car. The Thunderbirds included Nicky Hopkins, Dave Greenslade, Ricky Chapman, Albert Lee, Pete Solley and Carl Palmer. In 1961, the band recorded a number of demos that were produced by Jimmy Page.

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