I Just Want To Make Music by Tobias

#911: I Just Want To Make Music by Tobias

Peak Month: December 1973
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “I Just Want To Make Music
“I Just Want To Make Music” lyrics

In 1945 Ken Tobias was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. His family’s home was filled with music and young Ken was featured in a number of tap dancing performances. Though he dreamed of becoming a draftsman, out of high school he and his brother Tony formed the folk group The Ramblers. By the mid-60s Tobias lived in Halifax and was a staple in the roster of performers on CBC TV’s afternoon show, Music Hop. This led to his appearing several years later on Singalong Jubilee with other Canadian music stars Anne Murray, Gene MacLellan.

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Poor Little Puppet by Cathy Carroll

#912: Poor Little Puppet by Cathy Carroll

Peak Month: December 1962
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #91
YouTube.com: “Poor Little Puppet”
“Poor Little Puppet” lyrics

Wikipedia says Cathy Carroll was born Carolyn Stern in 1939. However, both Billboard Magazine and Radio Television Daily wrote in 1963 that Carroll was 17 years old at the time. Doing the math, that puts Carolyn Stern’s birth around 1946. Cathy Carroll seemed from the start to be aiming for an award for drama queen among girl singers in the early rock ‘n roll era. In the previous decade Johnnie Ray would tear at his hair and fall on the floor sobbing before his fans as he sang his 1951 million selling hits “Cry,”and “The Little White Cloud That Cried.” From his histrionic performances Ray earned the nicknames the “Nabob of Sob” and “Mr. Emotion.” Cathy Carroll would later record “Cry” as well, perhaps as a nod to her musical soulmate.

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California Dreamin' by The Beach Boys

#913: California Dreamin’ by The Beach Boys

Peak Month: December 1986
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #57
YouTube.com: “California Dreamin‘”
“California Dreamin'” lyrics

Brian Wilson was born in Inglewood, California, in 1942. In biographer Peter Ames Carlin’s book, Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson Brian Wilson relates how hearing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue had a huge emotional impact on him. As a youngster, Wilson learned to play a toy accordion and sang in children’s choirs. In his teens he started a group with his cousin, Mike Love and his brother, Carl. His named the group Carl and the Passions in order to convince his brother to join. They had a performance at Hawthorne High School, where they attended. Among the people in the audience was Al Jardine, another classmate. Jardine was so impressed with the performance that he let the group know. Jardine would later be enlisted, along with Dennis Wilson to form the Pendletones in 1961. The first song Brian Wilson wrote would become “Surfer Girl.” A demo of the tune was made in February 1962 and would go on to be a Top Ten hit when it was released a year later in 1963. However, their first recording was a doo-wop-surf tune called “Surfin’” in October 1961. It was released in November ’61 on the Candix Enterprises Inc. label. The surprise for the group was that the record label had changed the group’s name from the Pendletones to the Beach Boys. Consequently, as each time the record was played by a DJ in America, radio listeners were being introduced to the Beach Boys. The name Pendletones was now history.

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Turned 21 by Fludd

#914: Turned 21 by Fludd

Peak Month: December 1971
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Turned 21
“Turned 21” lyrics

Fludd had its roots in a band called The Pretty Ones, formed by Ed Pilling and Greg Godovitz. The band was briefly part of Toronto’s Yorkville scene in the 1960s, but broke up before achieving much commercial success. Pilling and his brother Brian then moved to Birmingham, England, where they formed a band called Wages of Sin and spent some time touring as a backing band for Cat Stevens in 1970. However, disagreement over musical direction with Stevens led the brothers to return to Toronto by the end of the year. Inspired by the then-emerging psychedelic blues rock sound of British acts such as Small Faces, they then reunited with Godovitz, and recruited drummer John Andersen and guitarist Mick Walsh to create Fludd.

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Blue Ribbon Baby by Tommy Sands And The Raiders

#915: Blue Ribbon Baby by Tommy Sands And The Raiders

Peak Month: September 1958
7 weeks on Vancouver’s Teen Canteen chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #50
YouTube.com: “Blue Ribbon Baby
“Blue Ribbon Baby” lyrics

In 1937 Thomas Adrian “Tommy” Sands was born in Chicago. His dad was a piano player and his mom was a big-band singer. His family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, when he was seven. He began playing the guitar at eight and within a year had a job performing twice weekly on a local radio station. At the beginning of his teen years, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he attended Lamar High School and joined a band called Jimmie Lee Durden and the Junior Cowboys. It was made up of Sands, Durden, and Billy Reno. They performed on radio, at county fairs, and did personal appearances. He was only fifteen when Colonel Tom Parker heard about Tommy Sands and signed him to RCA Records. Sands became an overnight sensation and instant teen-idol when he appeared on Kraft Television Theater in January 1957 as “The Singin’ Idol.” On the episode Sands played the part of a singer who was very similar to Elvis Presley, with guitar, pompadour hair, and excitable teenage fans. The song Tommy Sands sang during the show was titled “Teen Age Crush.” Soon it climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and in Vancouver.

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A Beatle I Want To Be by Sonny Curtis

#916: A Beatle I Want To Be by Sonny Curtis

Peak Month: March 1964
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
CFUN Twin Pick February 15, 1964
YouTube.com: “A Beatle I Want To Be

Sonny Curtis was born in a dugout in 1937 in Meadow, Texas. His parents were cotton farmers contending with the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. He was a teenage pal and lead guitarist with Buddy Holly in Lubbock, Texas, in a pre-Crickets band called The Three Tunes. Sonny is his actual first name, not a nickname. Although Curtis had gone on the road with other musicians by the time Buddy Holly put together The Crickets in 1957, Curtis joined The Crickets after Holly’s death in 1959. Soon, he took over the lead vocalist role in addition to lead guitar. As the credits show, he was part of the band for the 1960 album In Style with The Crickets. On this album they recorded the original versions of two of Curtis’s best known songs, “I Fought the Law” (a hit for the Bobby Fuller Four in 1966) and “More Than I Can Say” (a hit for Leo Sayer sixteen years later.)

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There Is Love by Jim Valley

#917: There Is Love by Jim Valley

Peak Month: June 1967
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “There Is Love

Jim Valley was born in 1943 in Tacoma, Washington, and grew up in Seattle in a musical family. In the third grade, he won an art scholarship to the Frye Art Museum for young gifted students. In fourth grade Valley took up the trumpet and had dreamed about being as great as the 1940’s big band leader, Harry James. Jim Valley was in grade seven when rock ‘n roll recordings started to appear on the Top Forty. Jim listened to Bill Haley & the Comets, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and others. Valley mastered a dance called The Bop and with his dance partner won several dance contests. When he was in grade nine attending Jane Addams Jr. High School in Seattle, Jim learned to play the piano. He wrote a Doo-Wop type song for one of the people in his junior choir at the school, Cassie Kenyon. He named the song Cassandra. A next door neighbor, Curt Pearson, heard the song and suggested Valley start up a band and make a recording of Casandra. Pearson knew a lad named Greg Thompson who’d just been given drum set for his birthday. Pearson also put Jim Valley in touch with a friend of his who played the saxophone and a guy who had a guitar but couldn’t play it. The band was called Vince Valley and his Chain Gang. Since there was no one who knew how to play the electric guitar, Jim Valley bought one with money from his summer job in his dad’s laundry. Soon after he became the band’s guitarist.

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Home of The Brave by Jody Miller

#918: Home of The Brave by Jody Miller

Peak Month: September 1965
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “Home Of The Brave
“Home Of The Brave” lyrics

Myrna Joy Miller was born in Phoenix in 1941. The youngest of five girls, Miller’s family spent some of her early years in Oakland, California. Around the age of six, her older sister, Pat, would play the guitar and encourage Jody to sing. By the age of seven her parents were entering her in amateur contests around Oakland. A year later Jody was sent to Blanchard, Oklahoma, where she learned to play the piano while living with her fiddle-playing grandmother. In 1949, she heard Mario Lanza sing “La donna è mobile.” Jody Miller recalls once she heard Lanza’s song, she determined she would be a singer. Miller got her start singing in folk clubs in Oklahoma. She moved to Los Angeles and was discovered by western movie actor and fellow Oklahoman, Dale Robertson, while she was performing at the Troubador nightclub.

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It Takes Time by Anne Murray

#919: It Takes Time by Anne Murray

Peak Month: June 1971
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “It Takes Time
“It Takes Time” lyrics

In 1945 Morna Anne Murray was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, a coal-mining town. Her father was a doctor and her mother was a registered nurse. Growing up she took piano lessons for six years and began taking vocal lessons at age fifteen in 1960. Anne loved music. It was the age of rock ‘n’ roll, and growing up she sang along with all her favourites – Buddy Holly, Bobby Darin and Connie Francis. However, Anne was also inspired by a wide variety of musical styles, including the classics, country, gospel, folk, and crooners such as Patti Page, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. She loved them all. In 1962 she gave one of her first public performances singing “Ave Maria” at her high school graduation. She went on to be part of the CBC variety show Singalong Jubilee in 1967. A document on display at the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia, dated May 30, 1966, informed her: “Your signature on four copies of this letter will serve to engage your services for the 1966 Singalong Jubilee series. It is understood that you will be required to function either as a singer for a fee of seventy-one dollars and fifty cents ($71.50) per show or as a soloist for a fee of ninety-nine dollars ($99.00).” Her first album, What About Me, was released in 1968. Her signature song, “Snowbird” went to #6 in Vancouver and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It established a following and 76 singles, 32 studio albums and 55 million record sales later, Anne Murray is one of the most awarded and honored recording artists in the Canadian music industry.

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El Toro by Link Wray

#920: El Toro by Link Wray

Peak Month: November 1961
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “El Toro

Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray Jr. was born in 1929 in Dunn, North Carolina. Both his mother and father were Shawnee Native Americans. Among the instrumentals Wray recorded were three named after American Indian tribes: “Shawnee,” “Apache” and “Comanche.” When Link was eight years old he was sitting in the porch trying to play guitar. An elderly African-American guitar player named Hambone heard Link Wray trying to play the guitar. Hambone gave Link his first guitar lesson and showed him how to play the bottleneck slide guitar. Link moved with his family moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, when he was thirteen years old. His first band was in the late 40’s with his brothers, Vernon and Doug, playing Western Swing. As Link put it, “rock and roll before it was rock and roll.” Vernon “Lucky” Wray was the lead singer. This band also included Wray’s friend  Brantley “Shorty” Horton, who later went on to become part of Link Wray’s backing band the Ray Men. A fourth member of Link Wray’s band in the late 40’s was Dixie Neal. The band was known by Lucky Wray and the Lazy Pine Wranglers, and later Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Hands. The band became popular in Portsmouth, opening for many Country and Western recording artists who played in local fairs and made live appearances on AM radio shows.

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