Kathaleen by Sonny James

#831: Kathaleen by Sonny James

Peak Month: March 1958
4 weeks on Vancouver’s Red Robinson’s Teen Canteen chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

James Hugh Loden was born on a farm outside of Hackleburg, Alabama, in 1928. Sonny remembers from the age of three how people would gather in each others’ homes to play music amid the bronze glow of Aladdin and coal-oil lamps. He recalls “That’s when Pop decided, ‘Well, I’ll give him something that he can at least play around on.’ That’s when he cut the molasses bucket in half and used the bottom of it and put a neck on it and then reversed it. It became the top of a little banjo, but it was tuned like a mandolin- So then I graduated to a mandolin and long about that time -I must have been about three or something – I began singing.” Now that he could play the mandolin and sing James was given the nickname “Sonny boy.” In 1933, with his parents and a sister, Sonny began to appear regularly on Saturday nights on a WMSD radio in Muscle Shoals in northwestern Alabama. Soon the family was billed as Sonny Loden and the Southerners. An adopted daughter also joined the family to make them a singing group of five. In 1946 the family moved to anchor a program with radio station WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina. James, now 18, roomed with two musicians who were in a band called Johnny and Jack’s Tennessee Mountain Boys, Chet Atkins and fiddler Paul Warren. “We’d just pick up a storm” James recalled.

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Gimmie Shelter by The Rolling Stones

#832: Gimmie Shelter by The Rolling Stones

Peak Month: July 1970
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

The Rolling Stones first gig was at the Marquee Club in London on July 12, 1962. At that first show, the group was billed as the Rollin’ Stones and, of what would become the band’s original lineup, only Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and keyboardist Ian Stewart performed. Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts would formally join in January of 1963, and Stewart officially left the band in May. Though Stewart continued on as the Stones’ road manager and occasionally played with them both on stage and in the studio until his death in 1985. When the Rolling Stones began playing gigs around London in 1962, the notion that a rock & roll band would last five years, let alone fifty, was an absurdity. After all, what could possibly be more elusive than rock & roll, the latest teenage fad? Besides, other factors made it unlikely that such a momentous occasion would ever come to pass. “I didn’t expect to last until fifty myself, let alone with the Stones,” Keith Richards says with a laugh. “It’s incredible, really. In that sense we’re still living on borrowed time.”

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Bend It by Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick And Tich

#833: Bend It by Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick And Tich

Peak Month: November 1966
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

In the late 1950’s there were a number of bands playing in Salisbury, England. Trevor “Dozy” Davies was in a band called the Beatnicks. He cross paths with Ian “Tich” Amey who was playing in a band called Eddy and the Strollers. Dozy got Tich to join the Beatnicks. Looking for new members for the Beatnicks, a bandmate with the Coasters and also the Big Boppers, named David “Dave Dee” Harman, was added to the Beatnicks. Then Tich suggested to his buddy from school days, John “Beaky” Dymond, to also leave the Big Boppers and join the Beatnicks. Soon the band was named Ronnie Blonde and the Beatnicks. But when Ronnie didn’t appear for a gig, Dave Dee did the lead vocals. The performance went so well that Dave Dee became the lead vocalist. Meanwhile, Dozy met a bloke named Michael “Mick” Wilson while riding on a bus. Mick joined the band who soon changed their name to Dave Dee & the Bostons. By the end of 1961 most of the bandmates, who were painters and auto-mechanics by trade, quit their jobs to become musicians. Continue reading →

Memphis by Donnie Brooks

#834: Memphis by Donnie Brooks

Peak Month: March 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #90
CFUN Twin Pick February 18, 1961

In 1936 John Dee Abohosh was born in Dallas, Texas. His family moved to Ventura, California when he was in his youth. In his teens he was adopted by his stepfather, John D. Fairecloth, who supported young John in developing his voice. John Dee Abohosh was than given the surname Fairecloth. While growing up in southern California, he studied under the same vocal coach who previously instructed Eddie Fisher. In high school John Dee Fairecloth made his professional debut on a classical music showcase broadcast by Ventura-based station KBCC. After graduating from high school, Fairecloth earned his living singing at local clubs, fairs, and weddings, embracing rock & roll and in 1957 signing to local indie Fable Records to cut his debut single, “You Gotta Walk the Line,” credited to Johnny Faire. He was twenty-one years old.

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Ringo's Theme by George Martin Orchestra

#835: Ringo’s Theme by George Martin Orchestra

Peak Month: September 1964
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #53

Sir George Henry Martin CBE was born in Wiltshire, England, in 1926. When he was six years old he developed an affinity for the piano when his parents bought one. He briefly took piano lessons and went on to be self-taught. In World War II George Martin worked as a surveyor and then as a clerk in the War Office. He joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy in 1943 and was stationed in England for the duration of the war. In 1947 Martin went on to study oboe and piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1950 Martin got a position working for Parlophone Records. At the time it was a company with a roster of comedy and novelty recordings. In 1955 he became the head of Parlophone while they had success with records by the Goons, Dudley Moore, Rolf Harris, Alan Bennett, Peter Sellers and others.
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One Track Mind by The Knickerbockers

#836: One Track Mind by The Knickerbockers

Peak Month: April 1966
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #46

The Knickerbockers were a pop/rock group, best remembered for their 1966 Beatles sound-alike hit single, “Lies,” which peaked at #20 in the USA and #6 in Vancouver. Buddy Randell’s lead vocal sounded similar to John Lennon, as well as the vocal whoops, before Beau Charles guitar solo. Charles guitar also reminded radio listeners to Paul McCartney’s guitar playing.
The Kinckerbockers was a band that formed in 1962 in Bergenfield, New Jersey. The band consisted of vocalist and guitar player, Beau Charles, his brother John Charles on bass and vocals and, by 1964 they had a permanent vocalist and saxophone player named William “Buddy” Randell. The Charles brothers birth names were Robert (born 1944) and John Carlos Cecchino. Buddy Randell had earlier been a member of the Rockin’ Saints and the Royal Teens. The later group had enjoyed a hit in 1958 titled “Short Shorts.” Jimmy Walker was the bands’ drummer. The bandmates took their name from Knickerbocker Road, which ran through the town next to Bergenfield, two miles to the east. Knickerbocker Road stretched six miles between Englewood, NJ, and Closter, NJ, west of the Hudson River and across from the Bronx and Yonkers.
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Girl From The North Country by Tom Northcott

#837: Girl From The North Country by Tom Northcott

Peak Month: August 1968
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
Plus 1 week Hitbound on CKLG

Tom Northcott is a Vancouver folk-rock singer with hits on the local pop charts from the mid-60s into the early 70s. He became known to a Canadian audience by his regular appearances on CBC Television’s Let’s Go music program in 1964-68. He was nominated as best male vocalist for a Juno Award in 1971. Later he co-founded Mushroom Studios in Vancouver and produced records. His hits are played regularly on Canadian oldies music stations.

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Judy by Elvis Presley

#838: Judy by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: July 1961
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #78 (in 1967)

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon Presley, was stillborn. When he was eleven years old his parents bought him a guitar at the Tupelo Hardware Store. As a result Elvis grew up as an only child. He and his parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948. The young Presley graduated from high school in 1953. That year he stopped by the Memphis Recording Service to record two songs, including “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” song #1062 on this Countdown. Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, Elvis began his singing career recording “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” at Sun Records in Memphis.

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My Song by Glass Tiger

#839: My Song by Glass Tiger

Peak Month: October 1988
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Discovered in the summer of 1984 when a band from Newmarket, Ontario, Glass Tiger was initially called Tokyo. As Tokyo, they spent two evenings performing before capacity crowds at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens opening for Boy George and Culture Club. Their dynamic original sound captured the moment, and the race to sign them was on. Tokyo, which had become a major force in suburban high schools and the Ontario club circuit, officially became Glass Tiger early into 1985 when a record deal was finally signed with Capitol Records. The band consisted of Alan Frew on vocals and guitar, Sam Reid on keyboards, Al Connelly on guitar, Wayne Parker on bass and Michael Hanson on drums.

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Donald Where's Your Troosers? by Andy Stewart

#840: Donald Where’s Your Troosers? by Andy Stewart

Peak Month: March 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #5 (CFUN)/#6 CKWX
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #77

The use of tartan patriotism and stereotypical Scottish humor goes back to Sir Harry Lauder and music hall songs at the turn of the 20th Century. In the 1960s, this genre was showcased by the entertainer Andy Stewart. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1933, Stewart enjoyed a number of international hits including “Donald Where’s Your Troosers?” and “A Scottish Soldier.” In his school years he appeared in numbers of acting roles and eventually studied acting in college. Out of college he was immediately scouted to perform in dramas, variety shows and stand-up comedy. After opening for Billy Eckstine in Manchester, Stewart appeared across Scotland and England as a comedy impressionist with James Stewart, James Cagney, Elvis Presley, Petula Clark, Charles Laughton, Perry Como, Johnnie Ray, Al Jolson and Louis Armstrong among his repertoire. One of his most popular routines was to perform the well-known and peculiarly Scottish song, “Ye Cannae Shove yer Granny Aff a Bus,” in the voices of American stars like Jolson or Armstrong.

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