Gemini Dream by the Moody Blues

#65: Gemini Dream by the Moody Blues

Peak Month: July-August 1981
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #12
YouTube.com: “Gemini Dream
Lyrics: “Gemini Dream

Born in 1941 in wartime England, Ray Thomas picked up harmonica at the age of nine. He was in the Birmingham Youth Choir and in October 1958 he joined a skiffle group called The Saints and Sinners. The band split up in June 1959. The Saints and Sinners helped Ray discover how well his vocals were received by audiences. Next, he formed El Riot and the Rebels, featuring Ray Thomas as El Riot dressed in a green satin Mexican toreador outfit. The band won a number of competitions in the Birmingham area. It was here that Ray became known for making an entrance onstage by sliding to center stage on his knees. On one occasion Thomas sent a row of potted tulips flying into the audience. El Riot and the Rebels appeared several times on a local variety show called Lunchbox. They made their debut on Lunchbox on November 14, 1962, and played “Guitar Tango” and “I Remember You”. Mike Pinder joined El Riot and the Rebels on keyboards. On April 15, 1963, El Riot and the Rebels performed at The Riverside Dancing Club in Tenbury Wells as the opening act for The Beatles. Pinder went off to serve in the British Army. When he returned, Thomas and Pinder left El Riot and the Rebels and formed a new band called the Krew Kats.

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No Reply At All by Genesis

#92: No Reply At All by Genesis

Peak Month: November 1981
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #29
YouTube.com: “No Reply At All
Lyrics: “No Reply At All

Genesis formed in Surrey, UK, in 1967. The band consisted of keyboard player Tony Banks, bass and guitar player Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins on drums and vocals, and Peter Gabriel as lead vocalist. Peter Gabriel left the band in the mid-70’s. However, with Gabriel’s departure, Phil Collins became the primary lead vocalists. The bands name was suggested by their producer, Jonathan King, of “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” fame on the pop charts in 1965. King had earlier suggested the band go by the name of Gabriel’s Angels. Though the band initially adopted that name, they soon changed their name to From Genesis to Revelation. Soon, they shortened their name to Genesis. It was a band name that led to many possibilities, including a riff off of their name on their first album, Genesis to Revelation.

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A Little In Love by Cliff Richard

#94: A Little In Love by Cliff Richard

Peak Month: March 1981
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #3
3 weeks Preview
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #17
YouTube.com: “A Little In Love
Lyrics: “A Little In Love

Cliff Richard was born Harry Roger Webb on October 14, 1940, in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1940 Lucknow was part of the British Raj, as India was not yet an independent country. Webb’s father worked on as a catering manager for the Indian Railways. His mother raised Harry and his three sisters. In 1948, when India had become independent, the Webb family took a boat to Essex, England, and began a new chapter. At the age of 16 Harry Webb was given a guitar by his father. Harry then formed a vocal group called the Quintones. Webb was interested in skiffle music, a type of jug band music, popularized by “The King of Skiffle,” Scottish singer Lonnie Donegan who had an international hit in 1955 called “Rock Island Line”.

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Whip It by Devo

#101: Whip It by Devo

Peak Month: January 1981
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #14
YouTube.com: “Whip It
Lyrics: “Whip It

Mark Allen Mothersbaugh was born in 1950 in Akron, Ohio. He attended Kent State University in Ohio and met fellow students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis. Mothersbaugh played in a rock band called Flossy Bobbitt. Gerald Vincent Pizzute was born in 1948 in a suburb of Akron. Gerald’s father had changed his name to his foster parents whose surname was Pizutte. But when Gerald was four-years-old, his dad changed his name back to his birth name Robert Casale, and Gerald Pizutte became Gerald Casale. Gerald grew up in Kent, Ohio, and attended the university.

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Looking For Clues by Robert Palmer

#118: Looking For Clues by Robert Palmer

Peak Month: January 1981
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
2 weeks Playlist
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #105
YouTube.com: “Looking For Clues
Lyrics: “Looking For Clues

Robert Allen Palmer was born in the market town of Batley, in West Yorkshire, about 9 miles southwest of Leeds, England. Palmer’s father was a British naval intelligence officer stationed in Malta. Growing up Palmer heard jazz, blues and soul music on American Forces Radio. At the age of 15, Robert Palmer joined a band called the Mandrakes. At the age of 20 he was invited to be a backing vocalist for a single by The Alan Bown Set in 1969 titled “Gypsy Girl”. In 1970 he joined a 12-piece-jazz fusion group named Dada that included Elkie Brooks. In 1971 Palmer, Brooks and her husband guitarist Peter Gage, formed a band called Vinegar Joe. Dada once opened for Jimi Hendrix, and Vinegar Joe once opened a concert for The Who. After they disbanded in 1974, Brooks went on to have a number of Top Ten hits on the UK singles chart including “Pearl’s a Singer”, “Sunshine After the Rain”, and “No More the Fool”.

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Fire And Ice by Pat Benatar

#159: Fire And Ice by Pat Benatar

Peak Month: August 1981
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #17
YouTube.com: “Fire And Ice
Lyrics: “Fire And Ice

Patricia Mae Andrzejewski was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City in 1953. She was raised near the city of Babylon, Long Island. Her dad was a sheet-metal worker and her mom was a beautician. At the age of eight she began to take voice lessons. After high school, she spent a year to study health education, but dropped out to marry high school sweetheart Dennis Benatar, who was drafted into the United States Army. She was 19. While her husband was stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia, she worked as a bank teller near Richmond (VA). She quit her job and formed the Pat Benatar Band. Dennis Benatar was discharged from the Army and the couple moved to New York in May 1975 so Benatar could pursue a singing career. She performed at an amateur night at the Catch a Rising Star comedy club in Manhattan. Later in 1975, Pat Benatar got a part in Harry Chapin’s rock musical The Zinger showing at a theatre in Huntington Station, Long Island.

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The Waiting by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

#172: The Waiting by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Peak Month: July 1981
13 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19
YouTube.com: “The Waiting
Lyrics: “The Waiting

Thomas Earl Petty was born in 1950 in Gainesville, Florida. His father was a traveling salesman, and his mom worked at a tax office. While still ten years old, Tom Petty met Elvis Presley on the film set for Follow That Dream. But it was seeing the Beatles on TV in February 1964, that gave Tom Petty his inspiration. He recalls, “The minute I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show—and it’s true of thousands of guys—there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you’re a self-contained unit. And you make the music. And it looked like so much fun. It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports. … I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in the Beatles that here’s something I could do. I knew I could do it. It wasn’t long before there were groups springing up in garages all over the place.” He dropped out of high school at age 17 to play bass with his newly formed band.

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A Life Of Illusion by Joe Walsh

#173: A Life Of Illusion by Joe Walsh

Peak Month: August 1981
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #34
YouTube.com: “A Life Of Illusion
Lyrics: “A Life Of Illusion

Joe Walsh was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1947. He got a guitar at age ten in 1957. When he heard the Ventures “Walk Don’t Run” in 1960, he dreamed of a life as a musician. He was part of several groups in the Sixties. One of these, The Measles, were a band of Kent State University students. Two tracks on the Ohio Express’ 1967 Beg Borrow and Steal album, “I Find I Think Of You” and “And It’s True” (both featuring Joe Walsh vocals) were actually recorded by the Measles, led by Walsh. He studied English and music at Kent State College in Ohio. Walsh was present when the Kent State massacre happened in 1970. In 2012, Walsh said “Being at the shootings really affected me profoundly. I decided that maybe I don’t need a degree that bad.”

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Arc Of A Diver by Steve Winwood

#195: Arc Of A Diver by Steve Winwood

Peak Month: July 1981
Peak Position #2
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #48
YouTube.com: “Arc Of A Diver
Lyrics: “Arc of a Diver

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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In The Mood by the Wildroot Orchestra

#236: In The Mood by the Wildroot Orchestra

Peak Month: August 1981
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “In The Mood
Lyrics: “In The Mood

Around 1971 a band called Wildroot formed in Vancouver (BC). An article by Canadianbands.com identifies Howie Vickers was the lead vocalist, Frank Allison was on guitar, Ian Berry was on keyboards and saxophone, Charles Faulkner was on bass guitar and Jim McGillveray was on drums. who formed in the 70s. Charles Faulkner was previously a member of Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck, a psychedelic rock band from Vancouver (1967-71). Jim McGillveray is credited with being one of the last members of the Painted Ship, a Vancouver (BC) band that folded in 1968. McGillveray, Ian Berry and Frank Allison were all previously members of Vancouver’s New Breed, a band that formed in 1966.

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Teacher Teacher by Rockpile

#262: Teacher Teacher by Rockpile

Peak Month: February 1981
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #51
YouTube.com “Teacher Teacher
“Teacher Teacher” lyrics

Dave Edmunds was born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1944. At the age of twelve, he heard a 45 RPM recording of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”. From that moment Dave Edmunds began to play the guitar, learning songs by Bo Diddley, Carl Perkins, Duane Eddy and others inspired the youngster. He formed a few bands in the late 50s and early 60s that gave him experience playing before audiences. One of the bandmates from his teen years was a drummer named Tommy Riley. By 1968, they formed a trio with John Williams named Love Sculpture. The trio had a #5 hit in the UK titled the “Sabre Dance”. This was a cover of Aram Khachaturian’s 1942 ballet Gayane. It was popularized in 1948 by Woody Herman who had a #3 hit in America. In 1970, Edmunds released a solo recording of the 1955 R&B classic, “I Hear You Knocking”, by Smiley Lewis. In the winter of 1970-71, the song climbed to #1 in the UK, #4 in the USA and #2 in Vancouver.
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I Missed Again by Phil Collins

#266: I Missed Again by Phil Collins

Peak Month: May 1981
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19
YouTube: “I Missed Again
Lyrics: “I Missed Again

Philip “Phil” Collins was born in 1951 in Middlesex, England. From the age of five he began to play drums. He never learned to read and write conventional musical notation, and instead used a system he devised himself. He later regretted this, saying: “I never really came to grips with the music. I should have stuck with it. I’ve always felt that if I could hum it, I could play it. For me, that was good enough, but that attitude is bad. He formed a band at the age of 14, and was an extra in the Beatles film A Hard Days Night. Collins played one of the screaming teenagers in the audience for a concert at a TV station. In 1967 Collins played a lead role as one of Farmer Grant’s children in the film Calamity the Cow. Also in 1967, he acted in a scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, where children storm a castle, but the scene was cut to shorten the film.

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If I Was A Dancer by the Rolling Stones

#1194: If I Was A Dancer by the Rolling Stones

Peak Month: April 1981
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #13
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com:”If I Was A Dancer
Lyrics: “If I Was A Dancer

Michael Philip Jagger was born in Dartford, Kent, England, in 1943, some 18 miles east of London. Though his father and grandfather were both teachers by profession, and he was encouraged to be a teacher, the boy had different aspirations. “I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing. Some kids sing in choirs; others like to show off in front of the mirror. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers on the radio–the BBC or Radio Luxembourg –or watching them on TV and in the movies.” In 1950 Mick Jagger met Keith Richards while attending primary school. They became good friends until the summer of 1954 when the Jagger family moved to the village of Wilmington, a mile south of Dartford. The pair bumped into each other at a train station in 1961 and resumed their friendship.

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This Beat Goes On/Switching To Glide by the Kings

#315: This Beat Goes On/Switching To Glide by the Kings

Peak Month: January 1981
12 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #43
YouTube.com: “This Beat Goes On/Switching To Glide
Lyrics: “This Beat Goes On
Lyrics: “Switching To Glide

The Kings were a band from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Oakville, Ontario. consisting of bass guitarist and lead vocalist David Diamond, guitarist Mister Zero, keyboard player Sonny Keyes, and drummer Max Styles. In 1977 keyboardist Sonny Keyes met John Picard in Vancouver. Picard then recruited fellow Oakville Trafalgar High School students, Max Styles and David Diamond, and the band was established.
It took three years before they got a record contract, but they kept playing small venues and getting a word-of-mouth buzz.

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Talking Out Of Turn by the Moody Blues

#333: Talking Out Of Turn by the Moody Blues

Peak Month: December 1981
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #65
YouTube.com: “Talking Out Of Turn
Lyrics: “Talking Out Of Turn

Born in 1941 in wartime England, Ray Thomas picked up harmonica at the age of nine. He was in the Birmingham Youth Choir and in October 1958 he joined a skiffle group called The Saints and Sinners. The band split up in June 1959. The Saints and Sinners helped Ray discover how well his vocals were received by audiences. Next, he formed El Riot and the Rebels, featuring Ray Thomas as El Riot dressed in a green satin Mexican toreador outfit. The band won a number of competitions in the Birmingham area. It was here that Ray became known for making an entrance onstage by sliding to center stage on his knees. On one occasion Thomas sent a row of potted tulips flying into the audience. El Riot and the Rebels appeared several times on a local variety show called Lunchbox. They made their debut on Lunchbox on November 14, 1962, and played “Guitar Tango” and “I Remember You”. Mike Pinder joined El Riot and the Rebels on keyboards. On April 15, 1963, El Riot and the Rebels performed at The Riverside Dancing Club in Tenbury Wells as the opening act for The Beatles. Pinder went off to serve in the British Army. When he returned, Thomas and Pinder left El Riot and the Rebels and formed a new band called the Krew Kats.

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Thirsty Ears by Powder Blues

#346: Thirsty Ears by Powder Blues

Peak Month: September 1981
11 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
2 weeks Top 20 Extras
Peak Position ~ #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Thirsty Ears
“Thirsty Ears” lyrics

In 1978 Prism band member, Tom Lavin, left the group to form Powder Blues. Lavin had also recorded and been a member of Denise McCann’s backing band. Powder Blues was made up of Tom Lavin on guitar and vocals, Jack Lavin on bass, Mark Hasselbach on trumpet, Duris Maxwell on drums, Wayne Kozak, Gordon Bertram and David Woodward all on saxophone, Bill Hicks on drums and Will MacCalder on keyboards and vocals. Jack Lavin had been a member of Teen Angel. Willie MacCalder was formerly a member of Willie and The Walkers. Duris Maxwell was a former member of Skylark and Doucette. Gordie Bertram had been a member of Foreman Byrnes. Mark Hasselbach had been with Airbrush, a jazz band. David Woodward, born in Arlington, Virginia, had been a member of Toronto’s Downchild Blues Band since 1971.

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Her Town Too by James Taylor and J.D. Souther

#372: Her Town Too by James Taylor and J.D. Souther

Peak Month: May 1981
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #11
YouTube.com: “Her Town Too
Lyrics: “Her Town Too

James Vernon Taylor was born in Boston in 1948. From the age of three, he lived with his family in North Carolina. Taylor would say later “Chapel Hill, the Piedmont, the outlying hills, were tranquil, rural, beautiful, but quiet. Thinking of the red soil, the seasons, the way things smelled down there, I feel as though my experience of coming of age there was more a matter of landscape and climate than people.” During his childhood he took cello lessons, and picked up guitar at the age of 12. James Taylor got to know people in the folk music scene on Martha’s Vineyard, where his family had a vacation home. In 1963 he was playing coffeehouses on the island as part of a duo named Jamie & Kootch. But in 1961 he was enrolled in a boarding school in Milton, Massachusetts. The pressures of the school were too much for the very sensitive James, even though he was doing well academically. Back in North Carolina he became depressed and by 1965 was sleeping for 20 hours a day.

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Sausalito Summernight by Diesel

#379: Sausalito Summernight by Diesel

Peak Month: October 1981
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “Sausalito Summernight
Lyrics: “Sausalito Summernight

Wilhelmus FrederikusPimKoopman was born in the North Holland town of Hilversum in 1953. In 1972 he co-founded a progressive rock band called Kayak. They had a number of Top 30 hits in the Netherlands, with “Ruthless Queen” peaking in the nation at #6 in 1979. Koopman left Kayak in 1976 due to health problems and interpersonal conflicts with the band’s manager. Next, Koopman began to focus on being a producer of other recording acts records. These included the Dutch singing duo Maywood (comprised of sisters Aaltje (“Alie”) and Doetje (“Edith”) de Vries; pop singer José Hoebee; multi-instrumentalist Valensia; and Dutch classical-pop crossover singer Petra Berger. In 1978 Pim Koopman founded Nederpop band Diesel.
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Stealin' The Night by J.C. Stone

#496: Stealin’ The Night by J.C. Stone

Peak Month: March 1981
Peak Position #7
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Stealin’ The Night

J.C. Stone was a Vancouver recording artist in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1974 he released “Carrie’s Gone”, which peaked at #9 in Vancouver (BC), and cracked the Top 30 in Windsor (ON), Charlottesville (WV) and Kelowna (BC). In 1976 he released a single “Don’t Shoot Me”/”Woman In Spring” which flopped commercially. In 1980 J.C. Stone released his only album, Stealin’ The Night. 

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In Your Letter by REO Speedwagon

#543: In Your Letter by REO Speedwagon

Peak Month: October 1981
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #20
YouTube.com: “In Your Letter
Lyrics: “In Your Letter

Neal Allan Doughty was born in Evansville, Indiana, in 1946. Growing up he learned to play piano, organ and keyboards. He attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, in 1966. At the start of the school year he met Alan Gratzer. Alan Franklin Gratzer was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1948. He learned to play drums when he was given a toy drum set at the age of seven. He was in several rock bands during high school before moving to Champaign for university. Gary Dean Richrath was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1949. He learned to play saxophone and then switched to guitar, adding slide guitar to his resume. He joined REO Speedwagon in 1970. Kevin Patrick Cronin was born in 1951 in Oak Lawn, Illinois. He learned to play piano and guitar. He joined the band in 1972-73, and was invited back in 1976. Bruce William Hall was born in Champaign in 1953. He learned to play bass guitar in his teens and joined REO Speedwagon in 1977. These five musicians became the core of REO Speedwagon. But along the way there were ten other bandmates that came and went between 1967 and 1977.

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Tempted by Squeeze

#651: Tempted by Squeeze

Peak Month: August 1981
11 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #49
YouTube.com: “Tempted
Lyrics: “Tempted

Squeeze was a new wave-synth pop band from the UK. Christopher Henry Difford was born in South East London in 1954. Glenn Martin Tilbrook was born in London in 1957. Julian Miles “Jools” Holland was born in South East London in 1958. The trio formed Squeeze in 1974 in London. After a year Squeeze settled on Gilson Lavis as the bands drummer. David Leslie Gilson Lavis was born in 1951 and Bedford, England. Before he joined Squeeze in 1975 he toured with Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Skeeter Davis and Dolly Parton. In 1978 Squeeze released their debut self-titled album which included their UK Top 20 hit “Take Me I’m Yours”.

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Time Out Of Mind by Steely Dan

#445: Time Out Of Mind by Steely Dan

Peak Month: June 1981
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #22
YouTube.com: “Time Out Of My Mind
Lyrics: “Time Out Of My Mind

Donald Jay Fagen was born into a Jewish household in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1948. The first record he bought was “Reelin’ and Rockin'” by Chuck Berry in 1958. In 1959, when he was eleven years old, a cousin of Donald Fagen suggested he explore jazz music. So he attended the Newport Jazz Festival. Fagen recalled later “I lost interest in rock ‘n’ roll and started developing an anti-social personality.” By 1960, after he’d turned twelve, Fagen began frequenting the Village Vanguard jazz club. He was able to see Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, and Miles Davis. He learned to play the piano, and he played baritone horn in the high school marching band. Fagen also drew inspiration from the Boswell Sisters, Henry Mancini, Ray Charles, Sly and the Family Stone and a variety of Motown recording acts.

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Real Enough by Doug and the Slugs

#526: Real Enough by Doug and the Slugs

Peak Month: November-December 1981
Peak Position #12
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
1 week Top 20 Extras
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Real Enough
Lyrics: “Real Enough

Doug Bennett was born in Toronto in 1951. He worked as a graphic designer after his schooling and at the age of 22 moved to Vancouver in 1973. He got a job as a cartoonist and editor for the weekly alternative paper the Georgia Strait. He also played with a number of bands. By 1977 Bennett was in search of some new outlets for his creativity and was introduced to guitarist John Burton. Burton had been in a group called The Ugly Slugs. Bennett and Burton began performing locally and added bassist Dennis Henderson, drummer Ted Laturnus and and Drew Neville on keyboards. They became Doug and The Slugs.

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Ashes To Ashes by David Bowie

#436: 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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One Step Ahead by Split Enz

#486: One Step Ahead by Split Enz

Peak Month: August 1981
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #104
YouTube.com link: “One Step Ahead
“One Step Ahead” lyrics

Split Enz is a folk-rock band that formed in 1972. For the first several years they spelled their name The Split Ends. They released their first single in New Zealand and Australia in 1973. The co-founders of the band were Tim Finn and Phil Judd. Finn was the lead vocalist and played acoustic and electric guitar and piano. Phil Judd also played guitar and added vocals. Judd eventually left the band in 1978. In the late 70’s and early 1980’s, Split Enz’ membership consisted of Tim Finn, his younger brother Neil Finn on vocals and guitar, bass player Nigel Griggs, drummer Malcolm Green, keyboard player Eddie Rayner and percussionist Noel Crombie. During the 1970’s, they had two singles in the Top 50 in New Zealand which made the Top 20 in Australia. Continue reading →

Take Off by Bob and Doug McKenzie

#557: Take Off by Bob and Doug McKenzie

Peak Month: December 1981
7 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #16
YouTube.com: “Take Off
“Take Off” lyrics

Frederick Allan Moranis was born in 1953 in Toronto. Raised in a Jewish family, Moranis got work as a DJ in the mid-70s. In 1977 he began to appear in the CBC comedy show 90 Minutes Live. Moranis got invited to join Second City Television (SCTV) in 1980. He was teamed up with Dave Thomas. William David Thomas was born in 1949 in St. Catharines, Ontario. Out of high school, Thomas got work as a copywriter for an advertising agency. He ended up being in charge of the Coca-Cola ads by 1975. Thomas was cast in a Toronto production of Godspell alongside Eugene Levy, Victor Garber, Martin Short, Gilda Radner and Andrea Martin. The troupe formed the first wave of comedians in Second City Theatre and Second City Television. Others who Dave Thomas worked with included John Candy and Catherine O’Hara.

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You Don't Know by Jim Byrnes

#1275: You Don’t Know by Jim Byrnes

Peak Month: September 1981
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “You Don’t Know
You Don’t Know” ~ Sam & Dave (original version)
“You Don’t Know” lyrics

James Thomas Kevin Byrnes was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1948. He lived in the north side of the city where one of the neighbourhood bars featured Ike and Tina Turner as the house band. Byrnes recalls when he was a teenager going to music clubs, he and his buddy were often the only white people in the place. “We never had any problems. We were too naïve, and had too much respect for the music and culture – they knew it, they could tell.” From the age of thirteen Jim Byrnes taught himself to play blues guitar. In 1964 he got a taste of a professional life as a musician when he was paid to perform. In the rich blues scene in St. Louis, Byrnes was able to appear onstage with John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal and Muddy Waters and others. In 1964 he also appeared in stage productions with a St. Louis repertory company.

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Wired For Sound by Cliff Richard

#564: Wired For Sound by Cliff Richard

Peak Month: November 1981
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN’s chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #71
YouTube.com: “Wired For Sound
“Wired For Sound” lyrics

Cliff Richard was born Harry Roger Webb on October 14, 1940, in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1940 Lucknow was part of the British Raj, as India was not yet an independent country. Webb’s father worked on as a catering manager for the Indian Railways. His mother raised Harry and his three sisters. In 1948, when India had become independent, the Webb family took a boat to Essex, England, and began a new chapter. At the age of 16 Harry Webb was given a guitar by his father. Harry then formed a vocal group called the Quintones. Webb was interested in skiffle music, a type of jug band music, popularized by “The King of Skiffle,” Scottish singer Lonnie Donegan who had an international hit in 1955 called “Rock Island Line”.

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Another One Rides The Bus by Weird Al Yankovic

#851: Another One Rides The Bus by Weird Al Yankovic

Peak Month: June 1981
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position: #9
1 Play List
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #104
YouTube.com link: “Another One Rides The Bus
“Another One Rides The Bus” lyrics

Alfred Matthew Yankovic was born in 1959 in suburban Los Angeles. His paternal grandparents were Yugoslavian. At the age of five, a door-to-door salesman came to the Yankovic home and offered to teach either guitar or accordion lessons to young Alfred. His parents chose the accordion. Growing up, Alfred was influenced by comedians Stan Freberg, Allan Sherman, Shel Silverstein and Frank Zappa. He was also a fan of Monty Python, Mad magazine and the Dr. Dimento radio show. During high school Al was a part-time accordion teacher. In 1975, he graduated at the age of 16 and gave the class valedictorian.

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Generals And Majors by XTC

#600: Generals And Majors by XTC

Peak Month: December 1980-January 1981
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position: #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #103
YouTube.com link: “Generals And Majors
“Generals And Majors” lyrics

Colin Ivor Moulding was born in 1955 in Swindon, England. Moulding is self-taught as a bass player; he was learning rock riffs at the age of 15. Terry Peter Chambers was born in 1955 in Swindon. At age 14 he bought a drum kit and learned to play drums.  Andrew John Partridge was born in Malta in 1953. He grew up in Swindon and wrote his first song at the age of 15. In 1970 he formed a band called Stiff Beach, which by 1972 was a four-piece band renamed Star Park. Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers both joined Star Park in 1972. The band opened for Thin Lizzy in 1973. Subsequently, the renamed their band the Helium Kidz. The UK pop music magazine, New Musical Express, wrote an article about them. Swindon, in Wiltshire, England, was known for several other notable musicians including Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, Gilbert O’Sullivan (“Alone Again Naturally”), late 90s UK pop singles chart topper Billie Piper (“Because We Want To”, “Girlfriend”), and Josh Kumra who provided vocals on the #1 UK single, “Don’t Go” with Wretch 32 in 2011.

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You're Not The Same Girl by Blue Northern

#715: You’re Not The Same Girl by Blue Northern

Peak Month: August 1981
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “You’re Not The Same Girl

Blue Northern was a Vancouver band that got their start in 1977. The founding members were Garry Comeau on guitar and fiddle, Lee Roy Stephens on bass, steel and rhythm guitar player Jimmy Wilson and Brady Gustafson on drums. As they developed their sound the band wanted to broaden their audience appeal. It happened that one of the audience members who enjoyed Blue Northern in concert was Billy Cowsill.

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High School Confidential by Rough Trade

#721: High School Confidential by Rough Trade

Peak Month: April 1981
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “High School Confidential
“High School Confidential” lyrics

Kevan Staples was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1950. His parents were musicians and artists. Carole Pope was born in Manchester, UK, also in 1950. Her father was a stilt walker and her mother a music hall performer. The Popes moved from Manchester to Montreal in 1955. They later moved to Toronto. Growing up, Carole studied sculpture. Kevan Staples and Carole Pope met at an audition in 1968 for Deva Loca Sideshow, a band that never ended up forming. In 1969, Staples and Pope began performing as a folk duo named O. They appeared in clubs in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood. In the 1960’s, Yorkville showcased the hippie movement for the rest of Canada, at least on the TV news. Yorkville was hyped as a magnet for intellectuals, artists and musicians. Writers, Margaret Atwood and Gwendolyn MacEwan, and singer-songwriters Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young were all part of the scene. Staples and Pope subsequently formed the Bullwhip Brothers in 1971. Finally, they changed their name to Rough Trade in 1974. O, Bullwhip Brothers and Rough Trade each drew on sexual satire, the latter from gay male iconography. In 1976, Carole Pope appeared in a concert titled Torch Showcase at a venue named A Space, in Toronto. She performed “The One Who Really Loves You” by Mary Wells and “You’re My World” by Cilla Black.

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Tube Snake Boogie by ZZ Top

#783: Tube Snake Boogie by ZZ Top

Peak Month: October 1981
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #104
YouTube.com link: “Tube Snake Boogie
“Tube Snake Boogie” lyrics

ZZ Top was formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has had three members since it began. Guitar player, Billy Gibbons, is the lead vocalist for the trio. Dusty Hill also shared lead vocals and plays bass guitar. The bands’ drummer is Frank Beard. Gibbons and Hill wear beards, however Frank Beard is clean-shaven. The band has sold over 25 million records of their blues-rock infused recordings. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. They credit the rock group Cream as one of their major influences. Among their early singles was “La Grange”, in 1973. This was a song about a brothel actually called the Chicken Shack on the outskirts of La Grange, Texas, from 1905 to 1973. The Chicken Shack was the basis for a play called The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas that debuted on Broadway in 1978. The song peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100, but did not chart in Vancouver.

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Lonely Nights by Bryan Adams

#1187: Lonely Nights by Bryan Adams

Peak Month: October 1981
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #84
YouTube.com: “Lonely Nights
“Lonely Nights” lyrics

Born in Kingston, Ontario, in November 1959, Bryan Adams parents immigrated from the UK in the 1950s. His dad, Captain Conrad J. Adams, was a diplomat in the Canadian foreign service. While growing up his family was posted to Portugal, Austria and Israel. By the age of 15 Adams was playing with the band Sweeney Todd as a frontman.  By the time he turned 17, Bryan Adams had landed work as a background vocalist for the CBC. His first salary came from working for Robbie King, a keyboard musician with Motown. During his senior years in high school he began playing music with his guitarist, Keith Scott.

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Sweetheart by Marianne Faithfull

#1293: Sweetheart by Marianne Faithfull

Peak Month: December 1981
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Sweetheart
“Sweetheart” lyrics

Marianne Faithfull’s story has been well documented, not least in her insightful 1994 autobiography Faithfull. Born in December, 1946, in Hampstead, a borough of Greater London, Faithfull’s career as the crown princess of swinging London was launched with “As Tears Go By”. At the time she was 16 years old. Her 1964 hit single was the first song ever written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Two folk albums, two pop albums and a singles collection followed. Marianne Faithfull also embarked on a parallel career as an actress, both on film in Girl On A Motorcycle (1968) and on stage in Chekhov’s Three Sisters (1967) and Hamlet (1969) By the end of the Sixties personal problems halted Marianne’s career and her drug addiction took over.

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