More Than This by Roxy Music

#860: More Than This by Roxy Music

Peak Month: October 1982
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #102

In 1945, Bryan Ferry was born in Washington, near Durham, England. His dad worked on a farm and took care of pit ponies. After he got his undergraduate degree, he took courses in fine art at Newcastle University in the mid’60’s. While he was studying, he was part of a student band named the City Blues. With his fine arts degree he started to teach pottery at a girl’s school in London. Concurrently, Ferry founded a band called Banshees. After that he formed a band that included Graham Simpson named the Gas Board. In 1968 he took up residence in London. Ferry was fired from his teaching post for hosting sessions with the students where they listened to records. Ferry moved on and assembled a band with bass player, Graham Simpson, saxophone and oboe player, Andy MacKay, synthesizer player, Brian Eno, guitarist, Phil Manzanera, and Paul Thompson on drums and percussion being the musicians who endured in the midst of a few minor lineup changes in the early years. He called the band Roxy Music.

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#861: A.P.B. by Toulouse

Peak Month: August 1977
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Heather Gauthier and her sister Mary Lou Gauthier, and Judi Richards were backing vocalists. In the mid-70’s they had been singing backup for various local groups in Montreal in recording studios. However, it wasn’t lucrative enough. In 1975 they decided to become their own performing act. By 1976 their line-up was composed of Heather Gauthier, Judi Richards and Lorri Zimmerman. Their first single on Magique Records, off the Toulouse album, was the French hit “It Always Happens This Way (C’est toujours à recommencer).” It only contained two lines in English but managed to chart outside of Quebec. In April 1977 it reached #39 on RPM Top Singles Chart, #29 in Toronto, #8 in Vancouver and #6 in Ottawa. Toulouse were the first bilingual disco recording act who comfortably sang in English and French. With the cross-over potential of their debut single, Toulouse re-released the album in 1977 with all the vocals re-recorded in English for the American market.

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Your Back Yard by Burton Cummings

#862: Your Back Yard by Burton Cummings

Peak Month: January 1978
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #14
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Burton Cummings is the former lead singer and keyboardist for the Winnipeg, Manitoba, based rock ‘n roll band The Guess Who. He was with the band from 1965 to 1975. Cummings sang, wrote or co-wrote many hit songs. These include “American Woman,” “Clap For the Wolfman,” “Hand Me Down World,” “Laughing,” “No Time,” “Share the Land,” “Star Baby” and “These Eyes.” His solo career includes many hit singles, including “I’m Scared,” “My Own Way to Rock” and “Fine State of Affairs.” His first solo hit single was “Stand Tall,” in 1976, which was his biggest hit as a solo recording artist.

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Softly Whispering I Love You by The English Congregation

#863: Softly Whispering I Love You by The English Congregation

Peak Month: February 1972
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #28

Roger John Reginald Greenaway was born in 1938 and Roger Frederick Cook was born in 1940. Both were born in a suburb of Bristol, England. Roger Greenaway was one of the founding members of a close harmony group called The Kestrels, who formed in 1955. The group provided backing vocals for recording artists Billy Fury, Eden Kane, Lonnie Donegan and singer/comedian Benny Hill. Roger Cook joined The Kestrels in 1964. It was when Greenaway and Cook got to know each other as members of The Kestrels they glimpsed a creative fusion they wanted to pursue. In 1965 the pair co-wrote “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” which became a Top Ten intentional hit for The Fortunes. Between 1965 and 1967 the pair billed themselves as David and Jonathan, after two characters in the Hebrew scriptures who had name recognition in the wider culture. As David and Jonathan they recorded a cover version of The Beatles song, “Michelle,” followed by a song they wrote titled “Lovers of the World Unite”.

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Heart And Soul by Jan And Dean

#864: Heart And Soul by Jan And Dean

Peak Month: August 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Jan and Dean were a pop duo who formed in 1958. They met in 1957 while they were students at Emerson Junior High School in Los Angeles. A year later they were on the football team of University High School. They had adjoining lockers and began singing and harmonizing in the showers with a number of other football players. Dean Torrence was drafted into the US Army Reserve in 1958. Jan Berry went on to record his first single with Arnold P. “Arnie” Ginsburg under the name Jan & Arnie. (Ginsburg happened to have a namesake, Arnie “woo woo” Ginsburg, who was a career DJ in Boston including on WMEX). The hit, “Jennie Lee,” was penned by Ginsburg and inspired by a poster of a local Hollywood burlesque performer. Jan and Arnie performed on American Bandstand in May and the tune went to #8 on the Billboard charts. When Dean Torrence returned Jan & Dean recorded their first Top Ten hit, “Baby Talk,” peaking at #10 in 1959 (#20 on CKWX in Vancouver).

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Preacher Boy by Les Vote And The Emperors

#865: Preacher Boy by Les Vote And The Emperors

Peak Month: August 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Les Vogt and the Prowlers were a rockabilly band from Vancouver. Formed in Vancouver, Canada in 1955, the Fraserview Drifters performed songs by Hank Snow, Frankie Laine, Eddie Arnold and Homer & Jethro. With the arrival of rock ‘n roll, they abruptly changed direction. Now influenced by Elvis Presley, they changed their name to suit their new style. They became The Prowlers, and one of Canada’s first rock ‘n roll bands in 1956, named after a popular radio program in Vancouver called the Owl Prowl. The Owl Prowl was the name of the radio program hosted by local DJ Jack Cullen. The band played with Gene Vincent, Bill Haley, Earl Bostic and Ivory Joe Hunter.
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Happy Happy Birthday by Wanda Jackson

#866: Happy Happy Birthday by Wanda Jackson

Peak Month: December 1960
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
CFUN Twin Pick ~ November 19, 1960

Wanda Lavonne Jackson was born in 1937 in Maud, Oklahoma. According to Wolf Kurt in his essay, “You Can’t Catch Me: Rockabilly Bursts Through The Door,” Jackson’s dad was a musician. In search of a better life, he relocated the family to Bakersfield, California, in the 1940’s. While in Bakersfield, her dad purchased Wanda a guitar and taught her to play. Tom Jackson also took his daughter to live concerts by Spade Cooley, Tex Williams and Bob Wills, which opened her eyes and ears to the exciting world of country and western music. It was when she was eleven years old that her family returned to Oklahoma in the fall of 1948. In 1954, while she was still sixteen years old, Wanda Jackson started to sing professionally in Oklahoma City. While in high school, Jackson had been discovered by country music recording artist, Hank Thompson, who heard Wanda singing KLPR-AM in Oklahoma City. Thompson asked Wanda to sing with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys. This led to her recording several  songs with Capitol Records. Among those was a duet with the Brazos Valley Boys bandleader, Billy Gray titled “You Can’t Have My Love.” The song climbed to #8 on the Billboard country chart. From her initial success, Wanda Jackson approached Capitol Records to give her a record contract. However, she was told by producer Ken Nelson that Capitol wasn’t interested because “Girls don’t sell records.” Subsequently, Wanda Jackson got a record deal with Decca Records.

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Build A Tower by Brahman

#867: Build A Tower by Brahman

Peak Month: September 1971
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Brahman was a band from Vancouver that formed in 1971 and disbanded in 1972. They played at local clubs like Gassy Jacks Place in Vancouver’s historic Gastown. Robbie King, on organ, founded the band and went on to play keyboards with another Vancouver band called Chilliwack. David Lanz played piano, Duris Maxwell played drums, Paul Blaney played bass, Ed Patterson played guitar, Victor Stewart was the groups vocalist and Ian McKay performed as a mime when Brahman played in concert. Local Vancouver music critic/DJ, Richard Skelly, remembers Victor Stewart had “a big voice that sort of predated Eddie Vedder.”
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Walkin' Back To Happiness by Helen Shapiro

#868: Walkin’ Back To Happiness by Helen Shapiro

Peak Month: December 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #100
CFUN Twin Pick November 25, 1961

In 1946 Helen Kate Shapiro was born in East End, London. She is the granddaughter of Russian Jewish immigrants and her parents, who were piece-workers in the garment industry, attended Lea Bridge Road Synagogue. Although too poor to own a record player, Shapiro’s parents encouraged music in their home. Helen had to borrow a neighbor’s record player to hear her first hit single. Shapiro played banjolele as a child and sang occasionally with her brother, Ron, in his youth club skiffle group. Helen had a deep timbre to her voice, atypical in a girl who was still a child. Her elementary school friends gave her the nickname “Foghorn.” When she turned ten years old, Helen Shapiro became a member of Susie and the Hula Hoops, with her cousin, 60’s pop singer, Susan Singer. Shapiro also participated in a school band which included Marc Bolan (then using his real name of Mark Feld, and later founder of glam rock group T. Rex) as guitarist.
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A Question Of Temperature by The Balloon Farm

#869: A Question Of Temperature by The Balloon Farm

Peak Month: April 1968
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #37

Before The Balloon Farm formed, Don Henny and Ed Schnug first played together in a band called Adam, which made one single for the Mala label entitled “Eve” in 1966. Adam’s gimmick was that all four members of the group adopted the first name  of Adam: Adam Taylor, Adam Dawson, Adam Schnug and Adam London. After the band named Adam disbanded, Henny and Schnug were joined by Mike Appel and Jay Saks and adopted the name The Balloon Farm. They took the name from a New York City nightclub.

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