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

#604: 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
YouTube.com: “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.
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Wild Horses by Gino Vanelli

#605: 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
YouTube.com: :”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.
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Memories Of Maria by Jerry Byrd

#606: 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
YouTube.com: “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.”

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What The World Needs Now by Tom Clay

#608: What The World Needs Now by Tom Clay

Peak Month: August 1971
5 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #8
YouTube.com: “What The World Needs Now Is Love
What The World Needs Now Is Love

Thomas Clague was born in New York City in 1929. He got involved in radio in the early fifties while he was in his early twenties and was a radio personality in Buffalo on WWOL-AM as “Guy King.” On July 3, 1955, Guy King did a publicity stunt from the top of a billboard in Buffalo’s Shelton Square. From his perch he broadcast “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets over and over again. The stunt resulted in Guy King being fired from WWOL  and being arrested. Local Vancouver DJ, Red Robinson was also known for publicity stunts, though none landed him in jail. Thomas Clague moved to Cincinnati and then back to Detroit on WJBK. He got to DJ school dances and other events around town in addition to his regular paycheck from the pop station. But then, in 1959, Clague was caught up in the Payola Scandal while there were hearings in Washington D.C. about corruption of youth in America because of rock ‘n roll. Alan Freed was fired, so was Tom Clay for accepting bribes of $6,000 to spin certain discs on air. In 1959 $6,000 was about as much as $52,000 with inflation factored in for earners in 2018. We worked briefly at WQTE in Detroit before moving to California.

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Attack by The Toys

#609: Attack by The Toys

Peak Month: January 1966
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #18
YouTube.com: “Attack
“Attack” lyrics

The Toys were a girl group that consisted of Barbara Ann Harris, Barbara Parritt and June Montiero. Both Harris and Parritt came from east coast cities in North Carolina and were born in 1945 and 1944, respectively. June Montiero was born in Queens, New York, in 1946. From an early age Barbara Ann Harris began to sing at her church at the age of six, and by the age of eight she was singing in churches across Elizabeth City, North Carolina. In a 2011 interview with New Jersey.com, Harris commented, “I would go and sing my little heart out…. They would give me a chance to do it. They pulled me up front and said, ‘Go ahead and sing!’ ” She moved with her family to Queens, New York, in 1956. Once she was in high school in the late 50’s, Harris joined a doo-wop quintette of female singers.  “We would come home from school and sing and make harmonies. Then we would go out and sing on the street corner or do talent shows or sing at people’s homes — wherever someone invited us to sing. We would sing stuff we heard on radio — R&B and even pop songs. Only in church did we sing church songs; on the street corner, it was rock ‘n’ roll.” The members of the quintette were Betty Stokes, Betty Blocker, Barbara Parritt Toomer, June Montiero and Harris.

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Yellow Balloon by The Yellow Balloon

#610: Yellow Balloon by The Yellow Balloon

Peak Month: May 1967
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “Yellow Balloon
“Yellow Balloon” lyrics

Don Louis Agrati was born in 1944 in San Diego. His dad, Lou Anthony Agrati, was a sausage maker. His mother was talent agent. By the age of three Don was playing drums. Young Don became a child actor by the age of ten and took the show name Don Grady. When he was 13 Grady became one of the Mouseketeers on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1957. He got the role on the TV show due to being able to play the accordion, clarinet, drums, saxophone, trumpet, guitar and piano. In addition, he was able to sing and dance. For his audition he played five instruments while singing “Cry,” a hit for Johnnie Ray in 1951. In December 1957 Grady appeared in an episode of The Restless Gun. In 1958 and 1959 Don Grady appeared in selected episodes of the first two seasons of The Rifleman. In 1958, Don Grady also appeared in the western TV series BuckskinHe also appeared on several occasions in both Have Gun – Will Travel and Wagon Train. In 1960 Don appeared in three films: Cash McCall, Ma Barker’s Killer Brood and The Crowded Sky. Grady became an actor in the TV series My Three Sons. The TV series ran from 1960 to 1971 and Grady played the part of Robbie Douglas for all twelve years.

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Road Hog by John Loudermilk

#611: Road Hog by John Loudermilk

Peak Month: November 1962
8 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #65
YouTube.com: “Road Hog
“Road Hog” lyrics

John D. Loudermilk was born in Durham, North Carolina, in 1934. Although he had a middle initial, D, the “D” wasn’t short for any middle name. His father was an illiterate carpenter, John D Loudermilk Sr. John D Jr. When he was seven his dad gave him a ukulele made from a cigar box. Young John D Jr. learned to play guitar in his youth and began to write poems and songs. His poetry was inspired after he began to read the works of Kahlil Gibran. In his late teens, in the early 50’s, John D Jr. wrote a poem titled “A Rose And A Baby Ruth.” It concerned a teenage couple who have a quarrel and the boy gives his girlfriend a rose and a Baby Ruth candy bar to make up. Loudermilk put notes to the poem and played the sung version on a local TV station. This caught the attention of country singer, George Hamilton IV. The song was published in 1956 and became a Top Ten hit on both the Country and Pop charts on Billboard Magazine. The following year, Loudermilk penned “Sittin’ In The Balcony” for Eddie Cochran. Once that became a hit, Loudermilk’s songwriting career was launched. He co-wrote “Waterloo,” a #1 country hit and #4 pop hit in 1959 for country singer, Stonewall Jackson.
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(I Wanna) Love My Life Away by Gene Pitney

#612: (I Wanna) Love My Life Away by Gene Pitney

Peak Month: January 1961
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #39
YouTube.com: “(I Wanna) Love My Life Away
“(I Wanna) Love My Life Away” lyrics

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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Hey St. Peter by Flash And The Pan

#661: Hey St. Peter by Flash And The Pan

Peak Month: October 1979
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #76
YouTube.com: “Hey St. Peter
“Hey St. Peter” lyrics

Johannes Hendrikus Jacob van den Berg was born in the Netherlands in 1946. When he turned 13 he taught himself to play guitar in his family’s tenement home. He played guitar in a band called The Starfighters, based in The Hague. When he was seventeen his family moved to Australia in 1963. The following year, going by the anglicized name of Harry Vanda, he became the lead guitar player for a Sydney band called The Easybeats. A co-founder of the band was George Young. Also an immigrant to Australia, in his case from Glasgow, Scotland, George Redburn Young was a rhythm guitarist. After one of the coldest winters in Scotland on record in 1962, the Young family saw a Television ad from the Australian government promising travel assistance for families seeking a new start with a life in Australia. In 1964 The Easybeats often held band practices in a local laundromat. Vanda and Young became a songwriting duo and scored an international hit in 1966 titled “Friday On My Mind”. The song climbed to #9 in Vancouver, #1 in The Netherlands and Australia, #2 in New Zealand and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.

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You've Gotta Love Someone by Elton John

#614: You’ve Gotta Love Someone by Elton John

Peak Month: March 1991
12 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #43
YouTube.com: “You’ve Gotta Love Someone
“You’ve Gotta Love Someone” 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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