Scottish Soldier by Andy Stewart

#246: Scottish Soldier by Andy Stewart

Peak Month: February 1961
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #69
YouTube.com: “Scottish Soldier
Lyrics: “Scottish Soldier

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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I Threw It All Away by Bob Dylan

#247: I Threw It All Away by Bob Dylan

Peak Month: June 1969
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #2
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #85
YouTube.com: “I Threw It All Away
Lyrics: “I Threw It All Away

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1941. In his childhood he took up piano and guitar. He was fond of poetry as well as music, especially Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. In university he studied the poetry of Dylan Thomas. When he began to perform folk music in public, Zimmerman chose the name Bob Dylan as a tribute to Dylan Thomas. He moved to New York City and hung out in Greenwich Village, playing in folk clubs. In 1962 he released a self-titled album that reached #13 on the UK albums chart. However, back in North America the album got little notice. But when he released The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in May 1963. One of the tracks from the album was “Blowin’ In The Wind”, a #2 hit for two weeks for Peter, Paul and Mary on the Billboard Hot 100 in August ’63. President John F. Kennedy has signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the USSR on August 5, 1963. And on September 23, by a vote of 80-19, the United States Senate approved the treaty. “Blowin’ In The Wind” was on the Hot 100 throughout the push to ratify the treaty.

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Sing Little Birdie Sing by Rosemary Clooney

#1055: Sing Little Birdie Sing by Rosemary Clooney

Peak Month: June 1957
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #19
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Sing Little Birdie Sing

Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, in 1928. The town of 6,000 is situated on the Ohio River, across from the village of Aberdeen, Ohio. Rosemary and her sister Betty became entertainers in their teens and in 1945 got a spot on Cincinnati radio station WLW. This led to a recording contract for Rosemary Clooney with Columbia Records in 1946. That year she began to sing with Tony Pastor’s Big Band. With Pastor’s band she had three Top 20 hits on the Billboard pop chart: “You Started Something” (1948), “Grieving for You” and “A You’re Adorable” (both in 1949). In 1949 Clooney left the band and began recording solo. In 1950–51, she was a regular on the radio and television versions of Songs For Sale on CBS. Then, in 1951 she recorded “Come On-A My House”. The song topped the pop charts in the USA for six weeks, and was the number-four song for the year of 1951.

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A Country Boy Named Willie by Spring

#248: A Country Boy Named Willie by Spring

Peak Month: April 1970
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #2
1 week Preview
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “A Country Boy Named Willie

After receiving his Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the University of British Columbia, Terry Frewer did post graduate studies in ethnomusicology, specializing in the music of the First Nations, Japan and India. He also did advanced training in jazz orchestration at the Banff School of Fine Arts. He quickly launched into a highly successful career beginning with playing (along with drummer Ross Turney) as a late addition to the Classics, the CBC Let’s Go house band.* The Classics line-up was fronted by Howie Vickers on vocals, with reed player Claire Lawrence and bass player Glenn Miller. The Classics went on to become The Collectors who then morphed into Chilliwack. Meanwhile, in 1968 Terry Frewer helped found the Vancouver band Spring. This quartet scored a huge local hit in 1971 with “A Country Boy Named Willie”. The song peaked at #2 on CKVN for two weeks. Other primary members of Spring included Bob Buckley (vocals, keyboard, sax, woodwinds), Pete McKinnon (bass), and Kat Hendrikse (drums).

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Send Me An Angel by Real Life

#249: Send Me An Angel by Real Life

Peak Month: March 1984
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #29
YouTube.com: “Send Me An Angel
Lyrics: “Send Me An Angel

In late 1980, Richard Zatorski placed an ad in a local newspaper in Melbourne, Australia. The ad was for a violin and keyboard player looking for a guitarist with whom to write songs. Guitarist David Sterry answered the ad. Zatorski and Sterry formed a writing partnership and began work on the material that would eventually become the first songs by Real Life. Sterry recalls “When I was little kid, I heard The Beatles singing “She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah,” and even though I was only eight, I understood what a hit song was. So then I grew up on Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Cream, and then into The Clash, XTC, Kraftwerk, New Order, The Cure etc. etc.” Sterry, born in 1954, was also into science fiction and loved the TV shows Thunderbirds, My Favorite Martian, Lost In Space, and Star Trek.

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Yellow River by Christie

#249: Yellow River by Christie

Peak Month: September 1970
9 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #23
YouTube.com: “Yellow River
Lyrics: “Yellow River

Jeffrey “Jeff” Christie was born in Leeds, England, in 1946. Mike Blakley was born in Greater London in 1947. Victor “Vic” Elmes was born in 1947 in Essex, England. Blakley was the brother of Alan Blakley who was with the Tremeloes. From the age of 18, both Elmes and Mike Blakley were part of a band called the pop band the Epics starting in 1965. They recorded a cover of the Chris Andrews hit single in the UK titled “Yesterday Man”. And in 1966 the Epics did a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Blue Turns To Grey”. However, they got little success on the UK pop chart. In 1967 they changed their name to Acid Gallery. By 1969 the band managed to chart one single in the UK titled “Dance Around The Maypole”. Throughout, Elmes played lead guitar and Mike Blakley played drums. Continue reading →

Jealous Of You by Connie Francis

#250: Jealous Of You by Connie Francis

Peak Month: June 1960
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19
YouTube.com: “Jealous Of You
Lyrics: “Jealous Of You

Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero was born on December 12, 1938. Francis was born in the Italian Down Neck neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey. She spent her firsts years as an infant and toddler in Brooklyn before the family moved back to New Jersey during her childhood. From the age of three, George Franconero recognized his daughter’s promising talent and insisted she start taking accordion lessons. However, her musical ingenuity wasn’t advanced by playing the accordion. An impoverished roofer, her father convinced Concetta to appear on stage at the age of four at the Olympic Amusement Park in Irvington, New Jersey. She played her accordion and then sang Anchors Aweigh in English and O Solo Mio in Italian. When she was ten years old she won third place The Ted Mack Amateur Hour radio for singing St. Louis Blues at the Mosque Theatre in Newark. Growing up in an Italian-Jewish neighborhood, Francis became fluent in Yiddish, which would lead her to later record songs in Yiddish and Hebrew.

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Sittin' In The Balcony by Eddie Cochran

#251: Sittin’ In The Balcony by Eddie Cochran

Peak Month: May 1957
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #18
YouTube.com: “Sittin’ In The Balcony
Lyrics: “Sittin’ In The Balcony

Eddie Cochran was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota, in 1938. His family moved to the Los Angeles area in 1951 where Eddie attended Bell Gardens Junior High. While there he became friends with Connie ‘Guybo’ Smith. Smith was already a promising musical talent who played bass, steel guitar and mandolin. Eddie and Connie began to jam together and gave a concert at their junior high school. Connie “Guybo” Smith went on to become Cochran’s bass player and was one of the musicians heard on most records during Eddie’s brief professional career. In 1953, while still in junior high school, Eddie met another musician named Chuck Foreman. The two experimented with Foreman’s two-track tape recorder. The pair made recordings of a number of songs including “Stardust”, “The Poor People Of Paris”, “Hearts of Stone” and the “Cannonball Rag”. Cochran graduated from Bell Gardens Junior High in 1954.

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Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin

#252: Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin

Peak Month: August 1972
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
1 week Preview
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Stairway To Heaven
Lyrics: “Stairway To Heaven

Robert Anthony Plant was born in 1948 in West Bromwich, six miles northwest of Birmingham, England. He became the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, along with bandmates Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. At an early age Robert Plant was interested in being a pop singer. He said in an interview in 1994 on the Denton Show in Australia, “When I was a kid I used to hide behind the curtains at home at Christmas and I used to try and be Elvis. There was a certain ambience between the curtains and the French windows, there was a certain sound there for a ten-year-old. That was all the ambience I got at ten years old … And I always wanted to be … a bit similar to that.”

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Time Of The Day by Gino Vannelli

#1178: Time Of The Day by Gino Vannelli

Peak Month: December 1990
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #19
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Time Of The Day
Lyrics: “Time Of The Day

Gino Vannelli was born in Montreal in 1952. During his childhood he was exposed to jazz music and cabaret. His father was a cabaret singer and his mother had a good ear for music. Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Ed Thigpen were among the drummers that inspired young Gino. At the age of eleven, Gino was one of a group of elementary school-age drummers trying to audition for a Montreal band named The Cobras. He arrived home from school later than usual to announce he had been picked to be the new drummer for the band after impressing them with his rendition of “Wipeout”.

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