China Doll by Bobby Swanson

#385: China Doll by Bobby Swanson

Peak Month: November 1960
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “China Doll

Bobby Swanson was born in Denver, Colorado, in January, 1943. He attended South High School. When he was just 15, in the summer of 1958, Bobby Swanson traveled with his parents to Memphis. The Swansons went to Sun Records and Bobby auditioned for Sam Philips. Bobby remembers “I kept thinking this is the same microphone that Elvis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash recorded into!” Philips told Bobby to come back to Memphis when he was 18-years-old. Subsequently, Bobby’s dad was doing a job as an electrician at the home of Officer Carol MacTavish. The officer told Bobby’s father that she’d written a song titled “Rockin’ Little Eskimo”, and was trying to get it recorded by someone. Bobby’s father suggested his son. Subsequently, Bobby Swanson recorded a demo backed with a song he wrote titled “Ballad Of Angel”. It was sent to Igloo Records in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Still In The Game by Steve Winwood

#657: Still In The Game by Steve Winwood

Peak Month: September-October 1982
Peak Position #8
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #47 “Still In The Game
Lyrics: “Still In The Game

Stephen Lawrence Winwood was born in 1948 in suburban Birmingham, UK. Winwood began playing piano from the age of four, being raised in a musical family. He joined a boys choir and added drums and guitar to his repertoire. At age 14 he joined The Spencer Davis Group in 1963, with his older brother Muff. In 1965 the band had a number-one hit in the UK with “Keep On Running“. The single climbed into the Top Ten in Vancouver (BC) in 1966. A follow up single, “Somebody Help Me”, also topped the UK Singles chart in 1966, and was covered by Vancouver band the Shockers in 1967. Spencer Davis Group had two more notable hits in both the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, finally making the Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten with “Gimme Some Lovin'” (#7) and “I’m A Man” (#10) in 1967. “Gimme Some Lovin'” climbed to #1 in Vancouver, while “I’m A Man” peaked at #12. In each case, Stevie Winwood was the lead vocalist.

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Jenny Let Him Go by Antoinette

#386: Jenny Let Him Go by Antoinette

Peak Month: April 1964
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Jenny Let Him Go

Marie Antoinette Daly was born in Southend, Essex, UK in 1951. She landed her first recording contract, with the Decca label, in 1964, at the age of just 13. Her debut single, “Jenny Let Him Go”, was produced by Charles Blackwell, who worked with a number of gems for girl singers of the period, including French yé-yé singer Françoise Hardy and Britain’s Samantha Jones. “Jenny Let Him Go” sounded like a cover of an American song – albeit with a distinctly British tang – and suited Antoinette’s bratty vocals perfectly.

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The Flower Children by Marcia Strassman

#387: The Flower Children by Marcia Strassman

Peak Month: July 1967
9 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #103 “The Flower Children
Lyrics: “The Flower Children

Marcia Ann Strassman was born in New York City in 1948. She replaced Liza Minelli in the Off-Broadway musical reprise of Best Foot Forward in 1963, after Minelli left to rehearse for Carnival! In their September 11, 1963, issue Variety described Strassman as “a winning comedienne.” At the age of 15, Strassman appeared in three episodes of The Patty Duke Show in 1964 in the role of Adeline. In the summer of ’64, Strassman worked with Shelley Winters and Robert Walker in a Westport (CT) production of Days of the Dancing, described by Variety as a story of “beatniks wasting their lives in at a beach bar in Venice, Cal.” When she turned 18 in 1966, Marcia Strassman moved to Los Angeles in search of new opportunities. One of the first things she did was get a recording contract with Uni Records.

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You Won't Dance With Me by April Wine

#388: You Won’t Dance With Me by April Wine

Peak Month: May 1977
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “You Won’t Dance With Me
Lyrics: “You Won’t Dance With Me”

April Wine is a Canadian rock band that has released 34 singles, 16 studio albums and 9 live albums. They formed in Waverly, Nova Scotia, in 1969. The founding members were brothers David Henman (guitar) and Ritchie Henman (drums) and Myles Goodwyn (lead vocals, guitar). The Henman brothers cousin Jim Henman was also part of the band, but was replaced by bass player Jim Clench in 1971, a year after the band moved to Montreal and released their self-titled debut album. With the release of their second album, On Record, the band had a Top Ten hit nationally in Canada in 1972 with “You Could Have Been A Lady”.

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What's Your Hurry Darlin' by Ironhorse

#654: What’s Your Hurry Darlin’ by Ironhorse

Peak Month: June 1980
Peak Position #9
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #89 “What’s Your Hurry Darlin’
Lyrics: “What’s Your Hurry Darlin’

Randolph Charles Bachman was born in 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. When he was just three years old he entered the King of the Saddle singing contest on CKY radio, Manitoba’s first radio station that began in 1923. Bachman won the contest. When he turned five years he began to study the violin through the Royal Toronto Conservatory. Though he couldn’t read music, he was able to play anything once he heard it. He dropped out of high school and subsequently a business administration program in college. He co-founded a Winnipeg band called The Silvertones with Chad Allan in 1960. In 1962 the band became Chad Allan and the Expressions, and was renamed The Guess Who in 1965 with their first big hit, “Shakin’ All Over“.

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She Can't Find Her Keys by Paul Petersen

#330: She Can’t Find Her Keys by Paul Petersen

Peak Month: February 1962
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
6 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19 “She Can’t Find Her Keys
Lyrics: “She Can’t Find Her Keys

Paul William Petersen was born in Glendale, California, in 1945. He  started his career at the age of eight and began appearing on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. From there he was cast as Jeff Stone on the Donna Reed Show where he starred in that role from 1958 to 1966. When he first started playing Jeff Stone, Paul was just 4’3″ tall, which is one reason he got the job. Donna herself was a petite 5’4″. Paul got this part the day after he turned thirteen. While appearing on the Donna Reed Show both he and his sister, Mary Stone, sang songs that would become hit singles. The actress playing Mary Stone was child actor Shelley Fabares who had a number one hit in 1962 called “Johnny Angel.” Paul Petersen also sang songs in the Donna Reed Show including “She Can’t Find Her Keys”, “My Dad” and “Keep Your Love Locked”.

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The Cheater by Bob Kuban & the In-Men

#389: The Cheater by Bob Kuban & the In-Men

Peak Month: February 1966
9 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #12 “The Cheater
Lyrics: “The Cheater

Robert “Bob” Kuban was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1940. In 1963 he graduated from the St. Louis Institute of Music and became a music teacher at Bishop DuBourg High School. Kuban was also in a local brass band By 1964 Kuban was also interested in forming a pop group and found organist and songwriter Greg Hoeltzel, who agreed to join his band. Hoetzel was a pre-med student at Washington University in St. Louis. Next, Kuban searched for a lead singer and frontman for the group. One night he heard a singer named Walter Scott, who was part of a lounge act named The Pacemakers. Scott was born Walter Simon Nothius Jr. and grew up in St. Louis, and working a day job as a crane operator. Immediately, Kuban offered Scott the position as lead singer for Kuban’s band. The name of the band was the Rhythm Masters. Other bandmates were bass guitarist and songwriter John Mike Krenski (born in St. Louis in 1944), tenor saxophone and trumpet player Patrick Hixon, and vocalist  who was from the Carolinas. Krenski was doing a Masters Degree in Math at St. Louis University, and also a Bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering. Other members, Harry Simon and Skip Weisser, were students at the St. Louis Institute of Music. The eighth member of the band was lead guitarist Ken Smith.

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Wings Of A Dove by Paul Clayton

#390: Wings Of A Dove by Paul Clayton

Peak Month: January 1961
10 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart N/A
Lyrics: “Wings Of A Dove

Paul Clayton Worthington was born in New Bedford – the whaling city – on the south coast of Massachusetts, in 1931. From his childhood, he heard his grandfather, Paul hardy – who was a whaler’s outfitter,  sing songs of the seafarers’ life. While grandmother, Elizabeth Hardy, sang him folksongs she learned when she grew up in Prince Edward Island. When he turned eleven, Paul was given a guitar. From his teens, Paul started to research old folksongs after a visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It was there that he discovered a collection of original manuscripts of seafaring songs. He told DJs at WBSM in New Bedford about his interest in folk music. This led to Paul Clayton Worthington hosting a weekly series of folk programs on WBSM. For the show, Clayton wrote his own material and sang live music on his program. At first the program was a ten minute spot, but was later expanded to one hour.

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Piano Man by Billy Joel

#687: Piano Man by Billy Joel

Peak Month: May 1974
Peak Position #5
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25 “Piano Man
Lyrics: “Piano Man

William Martin Joel was born in 1949 in The Bronx. His father, Helmut “Howard” Joel, was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and sold his textile business at a fraction of its value to be able to move to Switzerland. From there his father traveled to Cuba and was able to enter the United States from the Caribbean. Billy Joel’s mother, Rosalind Nyman, was born in Brooklyn, also to Jewish parents. Young William was coerced by his mother to take piano lessons at the age of four. He kept taking piano lessons until he was sixteen. His parents divorced when he was eight, and in his later years in high school Billy Joel played at a piano bar to make some extra income to support his single mother, his sister and himself. Though his parents were Jewish, Billy Joel did not identify as Jewish and began to attend a Roman Catholic parish at age eleven. In 1964, at the age of 15, Joel was the pianist on the recording of “Remember (Walking In The Sand)” for the Shangri-Las. Later, he played piano on the demo for “Leader Of The Pack”, which the Shangri-Las later recorded and became a number-one hit in November 1964. He took up boxing and was in the Golden Gloves, winning 22 fights, but quit after he got his nose broken.

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