Twisting By The Pool by Dire Straits

#609: Twisting By The Pool by Dire Straits

Peak Month: May 1983
11 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Twisting By The Pool
“Twisting By The Pool” lyrics

Dire Straits is a band that formed in 1977 comprised of Mark and David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers. Mark Freuder Knopfler was born in 1949 in Glasgow, Scotland. His Jewish-Hungarian father fled Hungary in 1939 before the outbreak of World War II. He learned to play guitar when he was a child and appeared on a local TV station in 1965 as part of a duo. Mark was influenced by Django Reinhardt, Hank Marvin of The Shadows, B.B. King, Chet Atkins and others. He studied journalism and kept his hand in music playing in the Duolian String Pickers and the Café Racers. Younger brother, David, was born in 1952. He was playing guitar, drum and piano by age eleven. At the age of 14 David Knopfler was playing in folk clubs. He went into social work and was living in London in the mid-70’s and sharing a flat with a promising guitarist named John Illsley. John Edward Illsley was born in Leister, England, in 1949. By the 1970’s Illsley was involved with a timber firm, studying sociology and opening a record shop. David Knopfler was impressed with Illsley’s talent and introduced him to Mark. Mark, David and John began jamming together, and Mark invited Illsley to join his band the Café Racers.
Continue reading →

Friends/Honey Roll by Elton John

#615: 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.
Continue reading →

Freedom Blues by Little Richard

#601: Freedom Blues by Little Richard

Peak Month: July 1970
8 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #47 “Freedom Blues
“Freedom Blues” lyrics

Richard Wayne Penniman was born in 1932 in Macon, Georgia. His father ran the Tip In Inn in Macon. He had eleven siblings. At the age of 13, Richard heard plenty of recording artists passing through his city at the Macon City Auditorium where he worked selling Coca-cola. Some of the recording artists who impressed him the most were Cab Calloway, Lucky Millender and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. He was taught to play gospel piano at a young age and sang gospel songs. He recalled that time in his life stating “there was so much poverty, so much prejudice in those days” that they sang gospel to try to keep their spirits up. In fifth grade, Penniman learned to play alto saxophone while in a school marching band. By his late teens ‘Lil Richard, as he was known in his family because of his skinny frame, was a member Doctor Nubillo’s traveling show, a vaudeville revue. He developed a theatrical style from his exposure to vaudeville that included wearing turbans and capes. It was a natural persona for the young man who was a prankster from his childhood. At the age of 16, in 1949, Little Richard joined Doctor Hudson’s Medicine Show and performed the Louis Jordan hit “Caldonia”. He got a record deal with RCA Victor in 1951.
Continue reading →

Needles And Pins by Jackie DeShannon

#602: Needles And Pins by Jackie DeShannon

Peak Month: June 1963
12 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #84 “Needles And Pins
“Needles And Pins” lyrics

Sharon Lee Myers was born in Hazel, Kentucky, in 1941, a town on the Tennessee and western Kentucky border. When she was only two years old she received her first vocal training. By 1947, she was appearing on a local radio station as a child country and western singer. And by 1952, Sharon Lee Myers was hosting her own radio show. In 1954, with the family farm posing mounting challenges, the family moved to her mother’s home town of Aurora, Illinois, a seven hour drive north of Hazel. A year later, when she was in 8th grade, the family moved to nearby Batavia, Illinois. Her dad became a barber and young Sharon got instant recognition in the local paper. A headline in on May 5, 1955, in the Batavia Herald read “Sharon Lee Myers, Only 13, Is Talented Batavia Vocalist.” The paper enthused, “Though only 13, the youngster can boast almost 11 years of voice training and experience and in the past she has toured most of the south making personal appearances. Also she has sung on radio with a rhythm band for 2 years and has appeared on television 3 times.”

Continue reading →

Just Came Back by Colin James

#603: Just Came Back by Colin James

Peak Month: September 1990
12 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Just Came Back
“Just Came Back” lyrics

Colin James Munn was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1964. He is a neo-swing artist who mixes swing, jump blues, rockabilly, ska and contemporary rock ‘n roll into his performances and recordings. In 1984 he was playing with a Regina. As luck would have it American rocker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, was in town to appear in concert. Vaughan was fresh from the releases of his 1983 album, Texas Flood, and his 1984 album, Couldn’t Stand The Weather. Vaughan had also been given a spotlight as a guitarist playing numbers of songs on David Bowie’s 1983 Let’s Dance album. The opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan was unable to perform, and with just a few hours to prepare, Colin James Munn was asked to be the opener for the Regina concert with members of a local band called Flying Colours. James knocked it out of the ballpark and was asked by Stevie Ray Vaughan to join him for the rest of the tour as the opening act. James played the rest of the tour with his backing band, the Hoodoo Men. But it was Stevie Ray Vaughan who suggested that Munn drop his last name and just go by Colin James. Munn sounded too much like “mud” over the distortion from the loudspeakers at the concert venues.

Continue reading →

Summertime by Billy Stewart

#604: Summertime by Billy Stewart

Peak Month: August 1966
7 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #2
1 week CKLG Up ‘N Comers ~ July 16, 1966
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #10 “Summertime
“Summertime” lyrics

William Larry Stewart II was born in Washington D.C. in 1937. In 1949, at the age of 12 Stewart he and his three younger brothers began singing under the billing The Four Stewart Brothers. Singing gospel music, they were given a weekly spot on Sundays from 1949 to 1954 on WUST-AM in Washington D.C. In his teens he also won a talent singing contest performing George Gershwin’s “Summertime”. In 1955 Bo Diddley encountered Billy Stewart playing piano. Diddley was impressed and invited Stewart to become one of his backing musicians. During his time with Bo Diddley, Billy Stewart was able to expand his musical repertoire to include playing organ, bass and drums. In 1956 Bo Diddley played guitar on Stewart’s first single titled “Billy’s Blues” recorded on the Chess label. In 1957, Stewart released “Billy’s Heartache” which featured backing vocals from 18-year-old Marvin Gaye. In 1962, Stewart recorded a tune based on his nickname called “Fat Boy”. The song climbed to #18 on the Billboard R&B charts.

Continue reading →

Hold On! I'm Comin' by Sam & Dave

#605: Hold On! I’m Comin’ by Sam & Dave

Peak Month: June 1966
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #21 “Hold On! I’m Comin’
“Hold On! I’m Comin'” lyrics

Samuel David Moore was born in Miami, Florida, in 1935. Dave Prater, Jr. was born in Ocilla, Georgia, in 1937. Prater was one of ten children. When he was in his teens he sang with a group called The Sensational Hummingbirds. He moved to Miami in 1957 and got some gigs at local nightclubs. But it wasn’t enough to pay the bills. One night a local Miami R&B singer named Sam Moore was performing at the King of Hearts Club. Prater ended up singing a few duets with Moore onstage. The response was electric. Sam Moore had been raised in gospel music in his parents church. He sang with two the gospel quartets: The Gales and The Mellionaires. He was once invited to join the Soul Stirrers when Sam Cooke went solo in 1957, but Moore turned down the opportunity and kept on performing as a solo act in Miami.

Continue reading →

And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind by Mark Lindsay

#606: And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind by Mark Lindsay

Peak Month: November 1970
7 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #44 “And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind
“And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind” lyrics

A band called The Downbeats formed in Boise, Idaho, in 1958. Paul Revere Dick started the band originally as an instrumental group. They had their first chart single in Vancouver in 1960. It was an instrumental riff on the piano tune, Chopsticks, which they titled “Beatnik Sticks. They changed their name to Paul Revere And The Raiders in 1960. Between 1960 and 1976 they released 41 singles. They charted five songs into the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA beginning in 1966 with songs like “Kicks,” and “Hungry” (1966), “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” (1967) and their cover of Don Fardon’s 1968 single “Indian Reservation,” which peaked at #1 for the band in 1971. They were even more popular in Vancouver where they charted over fifteen songs into the Top Ten on the local charts here on the West Coast. The lead singer of the band was Mark Lindsay who was born in Eugene, Oregon, in 1942.
Continue reading →

Wild Horses by Gino Vanelli

#607: Wild Horses by Gino Vanelli

Peak Month: April 1987
9 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #55 :”Wild Horses
“Wild Horses” lyrics

Gino Vannelli was born in Montreal in 1952. During his childhood he was exposed to jazz music and cabaret. His father was a cabaret singer and his mother had a good ear for music. Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Ed Thigpen were among the drummers that inspired young Gino. At the age of eleven, Gino was one of a group of elementary school-age drummers trying to audition for a Montreal band named The Cobras. He arrived home from school later than usual to announce he had been picked to be the new drummer for the band after impressing them with his rendition of “Wipeout”. In 1964, five years prior to the Jackson 5’s debut hit “I Want You Back” on Motown, Gino Vanelli happened to join a band in Montreal called the Jacksonville Five. And that Montreal band happened to tailor itself to Motown-sound-alike tunes when The Supremes, The Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and Mary Wells were all topping the charts. By 1966, Gino Vannelli became the lead singer of the Jacksonville Five when he replaced the current lead singer who couldn’t hit the high notes on Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual”.  He was fourteen.
Continue reading →

Memories Of Maria by Jerry Byrd

#608: Memories Of Maria by Jerry Byrd

Peak Month: January 1962
7 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #74 “Memories Of Maria

Gerald Lester “Jerry” Byrd was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1920. As he retells it in his autobiography, Byrd was taken to a “tent” show at the age of 13. It was the during the Great Depression. But for his friend, Richard Bennett, who came from a wealthier family, Byrd would never have seen the show. His friend suggested they go and the friend told Byrd he would pay for the  “one dollar ticket” after Byrd told him “I can’t. I don’t have any money.” Byrd says at the age of eleven he had never seen a one dollar bill. In inflation adjusted dollars $1.00 in 1933 is equivalent to $19.40 in 2019. Byrd recalls “nobody has any money in those days. There would be maybe two shows a year that came to town, and the show would come for one day and be gone the next. So if you had the money to go, you went.” At the “tent” show he saw a band from Hawaii. Byrd recalls “There were six or eight of them, and the stage drop was a scene with palm trees along an ocean shoreline, and a volcano erupting. All that exotic stuff, like in the movies. And the music – you couldn’t have captured my attention any more if you hit me on the head with a hammer. But it was the sound of the steel guitar that captivated me the most.”

Continue reading →

Sign Up For Our Newsletter