Let's Run Away by The Staccatos

#1295: Let’s Run Away by The Staccatos

Peak Month: November 1966
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN ALL CANADIAN TOP TEN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Let’s Run Away

Les Emmerson was born in 1944. In 1963 he formed the Staccatos. The Ottawa group included lead singer and local disc jockey Dean Hagopian. Other bandmates were Vern Craig on guitar, Brian Rading on bass and Rick Bell on drums and backing vocals. Immediately, they began to get a regular gig as the house band at the Chaudiere Club in Alymer, Quebec. Hagopian left the band in 1964 and Les Emmerson stepped in as lead vocalist. Rick Bell also took turns as lead vocalist on some of their emerging set when performing in concert. At the time Vern Craig recalls, “it was the British Invasion at the time. Nobody wanted to talk to anybody about a group unless they were from Jolly Old England.”

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The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Townsmen

#1271: The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Townsmen

Peak Month: October 1966
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN ALL CANADIAN TOP TEN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” lyrics

In the early ’60’s there was a local Ottawa band doing the dance club circuit named the Darnells. They included vocalist Frank Morrison, guitarist Dave Milliken and bassist Wayne Leslie. Meanwhile, another band named the Esquires included a drummer named Paul Huot and guitarist named Andre Legault. Andy Legault learned how to play guitar in his cousins’ basement. Hot and Legault were itching for something bigger. They talked with Morrision, Milliken and Leslie and the five became a band. They eventually settled naming themselves The Townsmen. In the summer of 1965 the Townsmen were regular performers At the Pineland Dance Pavillion in Ottawa.

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#1294: Canada by The Young Canada Singers

Peak Month: March 1967
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN ALL CANADIAN TOP TEN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Canada
“Canada” lyrics

Robert Stead Gimby was born in Cabri, Saskatchewan, in 1918. After a fire burned down his father’s hardware store, the family moved to Chilliwack, British Columbia. While in Chilliwack he learned to play the trumpet and joined the Town Band, which was a hit at local dances. In 1941, he became a member of Canadian band leader Mart Kenny’s touring orchestra. The Winnipeg Free Press referred to Gimby as “The Wizard of the Trumpet.” Gimby also was a member of Mart Kenney’s Western Gentlemen which was based in Vancouver and toured western Canada. In 1944 Bobby Gimby moved to Toronto where he formed his own band. Simpsons was the sponsor of his band and he became very popular at teen dances in “Hogtown.” He made some recordings and in 1945 became a member of the Happy Gang, a popular CBC radio show with over two million listeners daily. During its run, the population of Canada between 1937 and 1959 increased from 11 million to 15 million.

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Ashes To Ashes by David Bowie

#543: Ashes To Ashes by David Bowie

Peak Month: January 1981
7 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #101
YouTube.com: “Ashes To Ashes
“Ashes To Ashes” lyrics

David Robert Jones was born in 1947 in Brixton, a suburb in the southern part of London, UK. From an early age he demonstrated talent as a singer and especially through dance and movement. When he was nine years old his father brought home some 45’s by Elvis Presley, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Fats Domino and others. When David Jones heard Little Richard sing “Tutti Frutti” he later said in an interview that he “heard God.” Growing up, David learned to play the recorder, ukulele, piano and baritone saxophone. In 1962, at the age of 15 he formed a band named the Konrads. In 1964 he formed a band named David Jones and the King Bees. They appeared on the variety show Ready Steady Go! to sing their debut single, “Liza Jane”. Jones briefly moved on to join the Mannish Boys before being the front man for Davy Jones and The Lower Third. They released a single in 1965 titled “You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving”. Due to the growing popularity of another English recording artist named Davy Jones (who went on to become lead singer for The Monkees), David Robert Jones decided to change his professional name to David Bowie. He chose his surname after a 19th Century American pioneer named James Bowie who invented the Bowie knife.

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Audience Reflections by The Painted Ship

#1298: Audience Reflections by The Painted Ship

Peak Month: May 1967
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN ALL CANADIAN TOP TEN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Audience Reflections (From Polyanna’s Dreamworld)

In 1965 a local Vancouver band emerged calling themselves The Wee Beasties. Co-founder, William “Bill” Hay told It’s Psychedelic Baby Mag in 2011 about how the band began. “I met Rob Rowden at the University of British Columbia. I was writing a lot of poetry, mostly bad, at the time. Rob was playing in a commercial R&B band. We became friends over the period of a few months and I told him that I was thinking of starting a band. We talked about it. I warned him that it would be unlike anything that he’d done previously.” Bill Hay got the name The Wee Beasties from 17th century scientist, Van Leeuwenhoek, who looked through a microscope at one drop of water and found it teeming with microscopic life. Leeuwenhoek called the microscopic life – microbes – the “wee beasties.” However, the band changed their name before they began performing. The new name was The Painted Ship.

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The Joker Went Wild by Brian Hyland

#544: The Joker Went Wild by Brian Hyland

Peak Month: August 1966
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #20
YouTube.com: “The Joker Went Wild
“The Joker Went Wild” lyrics

Brian Hyland was born in 1943 in Queens, New York. In his childhood Hyland learned to play the guitar and the clarinet. In 1958, while he was still 14 years-old, he formed a group named the Delfis. Though they tried to get a record contract they were never signed. In 1959 Brian Hyland got a record deal with Kapp and released “Rosemary”. The single had limited success, though it spent six weeks on the pop chart in Vancouver reaching #14 in May 1960. Hyland released his next single at the age of sixteen. His debut release became a #1 hit in 1960 titled “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”. “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” had backing vocals by Peggy Powers who did a duet with Andy Williams in 1957 titled “I Like Your Kind Of Love”. And Trudy Packer provided the the spoken lyrics (i.e. “two, three, four, tell the people what she wore.”)

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(He's A) Big Man by Kathy Kirby

#545: (He’s A) Big Man by Kathy Kirby

Peak Month: February 1963
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “(He’s A) Big Man
“(He’s A) Big Man” lyrics

Kathleen O’Rourke was born in suburban London, UK, in 1938. She was raised by her single mom after her father left the family when she was very young. Her singing talent became apparent early on and she took singing lessons with a view to becoming an opera star. She was discovered by British bandleader Bert Ambrose in 1954 when she was still 16. He was one of the highest-paid musicians in Britain. He performed every Saturday night on BBC radio, recorded countless singles, and was renowned for having an unerring ear for a hit. Bert Ambrose made Kathy Kirby a featured singer in his band from 1956 to 1959. Ambrose went on to become her manager and her lover until his death in 1971 at the age of 74. Because of her looks Kathy Kirby was referred to as the ‘British Monroe.’
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Lovin' You Ain't Easy by Pagliaro

#546: Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy by Pagliaro

Peak Month: December 1971
11 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy
Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy” lyrics

Montreal’s Michel Pagliaro was born in 1948. He picked up guitar when he was eleven years old. At the age of 15 he was in a band les Stringmen. They morphed into les Bluebirds and finally les Merseys. Pagliaro got a break at the age of 18 when he was asked to join the Quebec band les Chanceliers. He was lead vocalist for the group which had a succession of singles and a self-titled album in the mid-60s. Their catalogue included “La generation d’aujourd’hui” (Today’s Generation), “Toi jeune fille”, a French version of “White Christmas”, and “Le p’tit popy” (The Little Poppy). In 1968, at the age of twenty, Pagliaro released some singles as a solo artist. His “Comme d’habitude” became a #1 hit in Quebec. Some of the lyrics in French “Tu the deshabillera come d’habitude” meant in English “you’ll take your clothes off as usual.” Nonetheless, the tune was adapted by Canadian pop singer Paul Anka and became the classic “My Way” popularized by Frank Sinatra.  It was followed with another number one hit for Pagliaro in French Canada in 1968 called “Avec la Tete, Avec la Coeur”.

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Don't Cry For Me Babe by Marti Shannon

#1299: Don’t Cry For Me Babe by Marti Shannon

Peak Month: September 1966
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #26
4 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN ALL CANADIAN TOP TEN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Don’t Cry For Me Babe

Mary Rosalie Bryans was born in Washington D.C. in 1942. She grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her dad was on the Royal Canadian Air Force. After graduation she joined the Royal Canadian Navy and was stationed at HMSC Cornwallis, near Digby, Nova Scotia. A classmate of hers, named Sheila, wrote online in 2010, that Mary Bryans “was a Rebel with a capital R and was always going against the rules. Her father was at the base one day and had their photo taken together. Him in his Air Force blue’s and she with her navy blue’s. She said at that time that they were always butting heads.” Bryans was later stationed in Halifax by 1962. While she was in Halifax she bought a Gibson guitar and went to the Candlelight Lounge where she would play and sing. In 1965, when she was 23, she appeared on the CBC TV show Let’s Sing Out. She was billed as Marti Shannon.
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Daydreams/So Goes The Story by Johnny Crawford

#547: Daydreams/So Goes The Story by Johnny Crawford

Peak Month: July 1961 ~ “Daydreams”
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #70
YouTube.com: “Daydreams
“Daydreams” lyrics

Peak Month: July 1961 ~ “So Goes The Story”
5 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “So Goes The Story

John Ernest Crawford was born in 1946 in Los Angeles. He got into acting as a child star and by the age of  nine was one of the Mouseketeers in the first season caste of the The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. Though he was cut from the show in 1956 after Disney cut the caste from 24 to 12, Crawford continued to get acting roles. Between 1956 and 1958 he appeared in episodes of The Lone Ranger, The Loretta Young Show, Sheriff of Cochise, Wagon Train, Crossroads, Whirlybirds, Mr. Adams and Eve and Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater. The latter featured an episode that became a syndicated TV show called The Rifleman. Johnny Crawford played Mark McCain, son of Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors). In 1959 Crawford was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in The Rifleman. The show ran from 1958 to 1963.
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