Lightfoot by The Guess Who?

#912: Lightfoot by The Guess Who?

Peak Month: January 1969
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Lightfoot
“Lightfoot” lyrics

The Winnipeg band, The Guess Who?, had morphed from it’s earlier line-up as Chad Allen & The Expressions. They had a hit in Canada in 1965 called “Shakin’ All Over” a cover version of the original by the UK’s Johnny Kidd And The Pirates in 1960. The Guess Who? tried to tour in the UK themselves in 1967 to support their single, “His Girl.” However, they didn’t have the proper documentation to perform, and “His Girl” only ended up spending one week on the British singles charts.

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Bluejean Bop by Gene Vincent

#913: Bluejean Bop by Gene Vincent

Peak Month: October 1956
4 weeks on Vancouver’s Red Robinson chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #49 “Bluejean Bop
“Bluejean Bop” lyrics

Vincent Eugene Craddock was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1935. He later took the stage name Gene Vincent and is best known for the rockabilly hit from 1956 titled “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” From a young age he was interested in classical music as well as country and rhythm and blues. He received his first guitar at the age of twelve as a gift from a friend. Norfolk, Virginia, was the home of a large naval base and Vincent’s parents opened a general store and sailors’ tailoring shop. Vincent Eugene Craddock dropped out of school at 17 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1952. His completed a Korean War deployment though he never saw combat. Craddock planned a career in the Navy. However, in 1955, he used his $612 re-enlistment bonus to buy a new Triumph motorcycle. In July 1955 his left leg was shattered in a motorcycle crash in Norfolk. In hospital, his leg was saved. But the injury left him with a limp and chronic pain. He wasn’t suitable for the U.S. Navy anymore. He wore a steel sheath around the leg from then onward. The female driver in a Chrysler who who ran a red light and struck him was drunk. Craddock changed his name to Gene Vincent, with his first name, Vincent, as his surname and his shortened middle name, Eugene, as his first name.

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Milk And Honey by Eddie Fisher

#914: Milk And Honey by Eddie Fisher

Peak Month: March 1962
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Cashbox chart ~ #104
Peak Position on Music Vendor ~ #107 “Milk And Honey
“Milk And Honey” lyrics

Edwin John “Eddie” Fisher was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1928 in Russian Jewish immigrants. His father’s surname was originally Tisch, but was changed to Fisher by the time of the 1940 USA census. From childhood Eddie had a vocal talent. He made his radio debut on WFIL, a local Philadelphia radio station. He also performed on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, a popular radio show that later moved to television. Because he became a local star, Fisher dropped out of high school in the middle of his senior year to pursue his career. By 1946, Fisher was crooning with the bands of Buddy Morrow and Charlie Ventura. He was heard in 1949 by Eddie Cantor at Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in the Borscht Belt. Cantor’s so-called discovery of Fisher was later described as a totally contrived, “manipulated’ arrangement by Milton Blackstone, Grossinger’s publicity director. After performing on Cantor’s radio show he was an instant hit and gained nationwide exposure. He then signed a recording contract with RCA Victor.

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Playgirl by Thee Prophets

#915: Playgirl by Thee Prophets

Peak Month: May 1969
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #49 “Playgirl
“Playgirl” lyrics

Based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Thee Prophets included Brian Lake on lead vocals and organ, Jim Anderson on lead guitar, David Leslie on bass and vocals, and Chris Michaels on drums. On a Wisconsin Garage Bands 1960s Facebook page, Brian Lake writes that he formed the band in 1962 and it dissolved in 1972. What more is known about these bandmates seems to be off the radar, at least where the Internet is concerned. Big things were in store for Thee Prophets with a record deal with Kapp in New York City. But in the end their most notable claim to fame was their debut single, “Playgirl.”

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Trouble by Elvis Presley

#916: Trouble by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: September 1958
4 weeks on Vancouver’s Red Robinson chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Trouble
“Trouble” lyrics

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 #1065 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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Apple Green by June Valli

#917: Apple Green by June Valli

Peak Month: May 1960
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #29 “Apple Green
“Apple Green” lyrics

In 1928 June Foglia was born in the Bronx, New York. Both her parents spoke Italian. Her dad, from Naples, Italy, worked as a plasterer during the day and was a part-time street singer. He taught her to sing and they listened to opera together all the time. June could hit double high Cs and go way down below an F and still be clear. She worked as a bookkeeper after her high school graduation. June was very shy and “discovered” quite by accident. In late 1950, June’s mother couldn’t attend a friend’s wedding, so June went to represent the family. The big Italian wedding was held on the second floor of a rented hall on Fordham Road, just off Arthur Avenue. After the ceremony, someone invited June up to the microphone. Although she was terrified, never having sung in public before, June managed to get through a couple choruses of the one song she knew well enough, “Stormy Weather.” Well, that “Stormy Weather” brought a lightning strike. Sid Gilbert, uncle of comedian Abe Burrows, was at the same wedding and was so impressed with June’s singing he arranged an audition for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts T.V. show where she won. She subsequently appeared on Perry Como’s and Ed Sullivan’s TV shows.

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Greatest Moments In A Girls Life by The Tokens

#918: Greatest Moments In A Girls Life by The Tokens

Peak Month: August 1966
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Greatest Moments In A Girls Life
“Greatest Moments In A Girls Life” lyrics

In 1955 a doo-wop group called The Linc-Tones formed in Brooklyn, New York. Neil Sedaka was a founding member of the group but left in 1957. They renamed themselves in 1957 as The Tokens. That year they appeared on TV for the first time on The Ted Steele Dance Time. In 1959 the Tokens recorded “Picture In My Wallet” under the name of Darrell & The Oxfords, which became a Top Ten hit in San Bernardino. The Tokens are known best for their number one 1961 hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” The song was originally a Zulu folk song called “M’bube” and Anglicized to “Wimoweh.” The Tokens consisted of Jay Siegel, Hank Medress and brothers Mitch and Phil Margo. True rock pioneers, they were among the first to successfully use the falsetto lead voice, a sound that influenced groups such as the Four Seasons and the Beach Boys. The group had their first Top 20 hit in the USA billed as The Tokens with “Tonight I Fell In Love,” in 1961. The song peaked at #27 in Vancouver.

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Look Who's Blue by Don Gibson

#919: Look Who’s Blue by Don Gibson

Peak Month: November 1958
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #58 “Look Who’s Blue
“Look Who’s Blue” lyrics

In 1928 Donald Eugene Gibson was born in Shelby, North Carolina. His family was poor and he stopped attending school in grade two to help out his sharecropping parents. He developed an interest in music at an early age and was inspired by recording artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford. Don Gibson began performing at local clubs before he was 18. In his late teens he held down a number of jobs including a as soda jerk, baby diaper deliveryman and dishwasher. A friend came home from Paris, France, after World War II with records by the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. This enhanced Gibson who began to experiment with different styles by his mid-teens. In 1946, he became a regular with the Tennessee Barn Dance in Knoxville, but things weren’t what Gibson expected. The fans wanted old-time country, not Gibson’s brand of crooning. He hung on to the radio job but struggled on $30 a week earned playing beer joints.

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Carolina Caroline by Jonathan Edwards

#920: Carolina Caroline by Jonathan Edwards

Peak Month: June 1977
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Carolina Caroline
“Carolina Caroline” lyrics

In 1946 Jonathan Edwards was born in Aitkin, Minnesota. He was adopted when he was nine months old and was an only child. His adoptive father, who worked for the FBI, moved the family to Virginia when Jonathan was six years old. By the time he was eight Jonathan joined a church choir and began play piano by ear. Later, in high school at a military school, he picked up guitar and started songwriting. Edwards recalled later on in an interview, “I started on a $29 guitar and immediately started putting a band together, writing songs and learning all the contemporary folk songs of the time. I just loved it, loved everything about it, loved being in front of people playing music.” His love of music continued when he went to get a degree in Fine Arts at Ohio University, studying art and painting. Edwards was a regular at local clubs, joining in with bands variously playing rock, folk and blues.

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Masquerade by Edward Bear

#921: Masquerade by Edward Bear

Peak Month: July 1972
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Masquerade
“Masquerade” lyrics

In the mid-60’s Larry Evoy and Paul Weldon were jamming in basements and experimenting with blues rock tunes. In 1966 bass player Craig Hemmings and drummer Dave Brown formed a band with Evoy and Weldon. They got guitarist Danny Marks to join them after he answered an ad. (Marks left the band in 1970 and was replaced by Roger Ellis). After a year they settled on the name The Edward Bear Revue. They got the name from A.A. Milne’s children’s book, Winnie The Pooh, whose central character has the proper name of Edward Bear. In time the band shortened their name to Edward Bear. The band originally was a blues and rock band and opened in 1968 for a Toronto concert with Led Zeppelin as the headliner.

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