The Happy Song by Otis Redding

#784: The Happy Song by Otis Redding

Peak Month: June 1968
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position: #5
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com link: “The Happy Song
“The Happy Song (Dum Dum)” lyrics

Otis Ray Redding Jr. was born in Dawson, Georgia, in 1941. At the age of two he moved to Macon, Georgia. His dad was a sharecropper and subsequently worked at the Air Force base at Macon. In his childhood he sang at a local African-American church choir and learned to play the guitar and piano. While he was a teenager, Otis performed gospel songs on Sundays on a local radio station, WIBB, earning $6 for each appearance. When his father got tuberculosis in 1956, Otis quit school to earn extra cash for his family. He worked as a well digger and a gas station hop. In 1958 he won a $5 prize at a teenage talent contest fifteen weeks in a row. In 1958 he joined Pat T. Cake and the Mighty Panthers and toured the chitlin circuit in the Deep South. Soon afterward, he joined the Upsetters to replace Little Richard who had given up rock ‘n roll for religion.

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She Knows Me Too Well/Wendy by The Beach Boys

#568: She Knows Me Too Well/Wendy by The Beach Boys

Peak Month: September 1964
Wendy: 7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
She Knows Me Too Well: 9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position for both sides: #7
Wendy: Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #44
She Knows Me Too Well: Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #101
YouTube.com link: “She Knows Me Too Well
“She Knows Me Too Well” lyrics
YouTube.com link: “Wendy
“Wendy” 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, he relates that when Brian Wilson first heard George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” it 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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Werewolf by the Five Man Electrical Band

#569: Werewolf by the Five Man Electrical Band

Peak Month: May 1974
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #64
YouTube.com link: “Werewolf
“Werewolf” lyrics

The Five Man Electrical Band was a Canadian mainstream rock band from Ottawa. They had an international hit in 1970 called “Signs.” Their other hits did well in Canada, including “Absolutely Right” and “I’m A Stranger Here.” In 1970 the band released an album called Good-byes and Butterflies. The cover of the album prominently displayed a marijuana plant. The ensuing controversy led to the album being withdrawn and given a different cover with a butterfly composed of neon lights. “Signs” was initially the b-side of “Hello Melinda, Goodbye.” But by accident, the sides were reversed, making “Signs” the A-side, which radio listeners started began calling DJ’s for requests to hear it again.

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Nice To Luv You by 54-40

#640: Nice To Luv You by 54-40

Peak Month: July 1992
13 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #11
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Nice To Luv You
“Nice To Luv You” lyrics

54-40 is a band from Tsawwassen, British Columbia. Bass player Brad Merritt teamed up with guitarist and vocalist Neil Osbourne had met at South Delta High School in Tsawwassen in 1978. In 1981 they decided to form a band and asked drummer, Ian Franey, to join them. Neil Osbourne’s father had a position with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Consequently, the family moved as Osbourne’s dad got new postings variously from Regina, rural Nova Scotia, Ottawa, Edmonton and finally Tsawwassen. Ian Franey’s father was the director of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

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Music Man by 54-40

#740: Music Man by 54-40

Peak Month: November 1992
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Music Man
“Music Man” lyrics

54-40 is a band from Tsawwassen, British Columbia. Bass player Brad Merritt teamed up with guitarist and vocalist Neil Osbourne had met at South Delta High School in Tsawwassen in 1978. In 1981 they decided to form a band and asked drummer, Ian Franey, to join them. Neil Osbourne’s father had a position with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Consequently, the family moved as Osbourne’s dad got new postings variously from Regina, rural Nova Scotia, Ottawa, Edmonton and finally Tsawwassen. Ian Franey’s father was the director of the Vancouver International Film Festival.
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Situation Critical by Platinum Blonde

#812: Situation Critical by Platinum Blonde

Peak Month: November 1985
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Situation Critical
“Situation Critical” lyrics

Mark Holmes was born in the UK and lived in Manchester until the family moved to Toronto. He met several other musicians and formed a punk band that played covers to The Police and other new wave bands. After a lineup change, Holmes was playing guitar and the lead vocalist, Chris Steffler was the drummer and Sergio Galli was a second guitarist. The trio became Platinum Blonde. They got a record deal with CBS in 1983. Their debut album, Standing In The Dark, earned them two Video Of The Year nominations at the 1984 Juno Awards. But it was their second album, Alien Shores, which included “Crying Over You,” a #1 single on the Canadian RPM charts in 1985, and in Vancouver.

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Was It You by Stonebolt

#875: Was It You by Stonebolt

Peak Month: February 1979
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #18
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Was It You

In 1969 guitar player Ray Roper, drummer Brian Lousley and bass player Dan Atchison were high school students. They decided to form a band named Perth Amboy, possibly after the city in New Jersey. (In 1968 a band from Michigan called the Amboy Dukes had a Top 20 hit titled “Journey To The Center Of Your Mind”). Roper was from England. Perth Amboy played at high school dances and many small venues in the Lower Mainland. In 1973 they changed their name to Stonebolt, after adding John Webster on keyboards and David Willis on vocals. Willis left the Seattle band, Shaker, to join Stonebolt.
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Enid by Barenaked Ladies

#876: Enid by Barenaked Ladies

Peak Month: September 1992
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Enid
“Enid” lyrics

Lloyd Edward Elwyn “Ed” Robertson was born in Scarborough, Ontario, in 1970. He began to play guitar when he was in grade five. Steven Jay Page was also born in Scarborough in 1970. He took piano lessons for ten years and was a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir. Page and Robertson crossed paths in elementary school. But they didn’t become friends until 1988 when they found themselves co-counsellors at a summer Scarborough Schools Music Camp. Later that year there was a charity and Robertson asked Page to join him in a performance. The duo named themselves the Barenaked Ladies.

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Courage by The Tragically Hip

#899: Courage by The Tragically Hip

Peak Month: May 1993
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Courage
“Courage” lyrics

In the early 1980’s bass player Gord Sinclair and guitar player Rob Baker were students at Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute in Kingston, Ontario. They had performed at the collegiate’s Variety Show in a band they called The Rodents. In 1984 Baker and Sinclair were in their early twenties. The Tragically Hip formed in 1984 in Kingston, Ontario when the duo added drummer Johnny Fay and lead singer Gordon Downie. Their name came from a skit in the movie Elephant Parts, directed by former Monkee’s guitarist Michael Nesmith. The Tragically Hip added Paul Langois, a guitar player, to their line-up in 1986. When they performed at the Horeshoe Tavern in Toronto in the mid-80’s, they were sign to a recording contract with MCA after the company president, Bruce Dickinson, saw the band at the tavern. A self-titled EP (Extended Play) was released in 1987 with a couple of singles that got some airplay. The group was launched.

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Suspicion by Elvis Presley

#902: Suspicion by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: July 1962
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #103
YouTube.com: “Suspicion
“Suspicion” 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 #1097 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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