I Only Want To Be With You by the Bay City Rollers

#88: I Only Want To Be With You by the Bay City Rollers

Peak Month: October 1976
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #12
YouTube.com: “I Only Want To Be With You
Lyrics: “I Only Want To Be With You

Alan Longmuir was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1948. The family was poor and lived in tenement housing with no bath or bathroom. Alan recalls in his memoir, “to have a proper wash we used the Dalry Public Baths in Caledonian Crescent… I remember the Baths had a Brylcreem dispensing machine at a penny squirt.” In 1958 Alan went to the Scotia movie cinema to see Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis Presley. He learned to play acoustic guitar. He had been hanging out with a rough crowd and was known by the teachers at school as a truant. He worked at a dairy, cleaning stables and delivering milk on a horse and cart before he left school in 1963 at the age of 15. He also sang in the Tynecastle School Choir before he quit school. Alan’s father worked as an undertaker, going to work in a top hat and long coat. There was often a hearse outside the Longmuir home. Alan recalls that his father “used to come along the street with the hearse and people would wonder who died, but it was just him coming home for his lunch.”

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A Mess Of Blues by Elvis Presley

#89: A Mess Of Blues by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: August 1960
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #32
YouTube.com: “A Mess Of Blues
Lyrics: “A Mess Of Blues

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”. 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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Leo Sayer - How Much Love Album Cover

#90: How Much Love by Leo Sayer

Peak Month: September 1977
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #17
YouTube.com: “How Much Love
Lyrics: “How Much Love

Gerard HughLeoSayer was born in 1948 in Sussex, England. He left school in 1964 and went to an art college. Sayer also learned to play the harmonica and joined several bands. He moved to London and worked as an illustrator for several magazines and designed record covers. In 1970, he was still known to his friends as Gerry. Sayer was brought to the attention of former English pop star Adam Faith, who by the 70’s was a manager in the music business. He cowrote “Giving It All Away”, which became at Top 5 UK hit for Roger Daltrey in 1973. The song was credited to Leo Sayer. In late 1973, Leo Sayer appeared on stage dressed in a Pierrot costume – recalling the sad clown of 17th century Comédie-Italienne. Such was the reaction to his performance, the entire UK music business noted that a new star was born. Leo went on a British and European tour supporting Roxy Music, now appearing on stage dressed as the Pierrot. The following year, his song “The Show Must Go On”, climbed to #2 in the UK, #3 in Ireland, #10 in Australia and #11 in South Africa.  “The Show Must Go On” was successfully covered by Three Dog Night, peaking in the Top Ten in Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA. His second Top Ten hit in the UK and Ireland, “One Man Band”, was also a Top 20 hit in South Africa and West Germany. A third international Top Ten hit for Sayer was “Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)”. The song was covered by the Canadian band Shooter. And in 1975, Leo Sayer had another international hit with “Moonlighting” which peaked at #1 in Ireland, #2 in the UK, #3 in Rhodesia, #6 in Norway, #7 in Sweden, and Top 20 in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Leo Sayer toured across the USA as an opening act for Hall & Oates.

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Make My Life A Little Bit Brighter by Chester

#91: Make My Life A Little Bit Brighter by Chester

Peak Month: November 1973
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Make My Life A Little Bit Brighter
Lyrics: “Make My Life A Little Bit Brighter

Chester was a band from Toronto that formed in the early 70’s. They were comprised of Glenn Morrow on keyboard, guitar and vocals; Jim Mancel on lead vocals; Mike Argue on lead guitar and vocals, and Glen “Wedge” Monroe on drums, piano, and guitar. Morrow was born in 1946. An obituary with the City of Toronto states Morrow “started playing in bands around Toronto in his early teen years. Hammond B-3 organ and piano were his favorite instruments to perform on. An extremely talented keyboardist-arranger, he played with the Bluenotes, T.K’s., Tarot” and played organ with Canadian Rock Theatre in 1972. Jim Mancel released a single in 1970 titled “I Could Give You The World”.

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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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Come Back by the J. Geils Band

#93: Come Back by the J. Geils Band

Peak Month: April 1980
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #32
YouTube.com: “Come Back
Lyrics: “Come Back

The classic lineup of the J. Geils Band had five members. They are John “J” Geils on lead guitar; Danny Klein on bass guitar; Peter Wolf as lead vocalist and on percussion; Magic Dick on harmonica, saxophone, trumpet; Seth Justman on keyboards and backing vocals; And Stephen Jo Bladd on drums, percussion, and backing vocals. John Warren Geils Jr. was born in 1946, in New York City. He grew up in New Jersey. He learned jazz trumpet and drums and was part of a marching band in school. He dated Meryl Streep in 1962. In the mid-60’s he switched from jazz trumpet to guitar. In 1966, he formed a jug band named Snoopy and the Sopwith Camels, which was rounded out with Danny Klein and Magic Dick. This was different from the San Francisco band Sopwith Camel who had a Top 30 hit in the winter of 1966-67 with “Hello Hello.” Danny Klein was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1946. Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz was born in New London, Connecticut, in 1945. He first learned to play the trumpet, and then harmonica and saxophone. Peter Walter Blankfield was born in the Bronx in 1946. In 1964, billed as Peter Wolf, he formed a Boston-area band called The Hallucinations, which included drummer Stephen Jo Bladd. Wolf was later DJ Woofa Goofa on Boston station WBCN, with an all-night blues and jazz radio show. Stephen Jo Bladd was born in Boston in 1942. Seth Justman was born in 1951 in Washington D.C. The J. Geils Band formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1968. Continue reading →

Stairway To Heaven by Neil Sedaka

#94: Stairway To Heaven by Neil Sedaka

Peak Month: March 1960
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #9
YouTube.com: “Stairway To Heaven
Lyrics: “Stairway To Heaven

In 1939 Neil Sedaka was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Brighton Beach beside Coney Island. His paternal grandparents immigrated to America from Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, in 1910. His fathers side of the family there were Sephardi Jews and his mother’s side Ashkenazi Jews from Russian and Polish background. When Neil was eight years old he listened to a show on the radio called The Make-Believe Ballroom that opened his world to appreciation for music. Within a year Neil had began learning classical piano at the Julliard School of Music. His progress was impressive and Arthur Rubinstein voted Neil as one of the best New York High School pianists after he turned 16 years old.

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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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Little Bitty Girl by Bobby Rydell

#95: Little Bitty Girl by Bobby Rydell

Peak Month: January 1960
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19
YouTube.com: “Little Bitty Girl
Lyrics: “Little Bitty Girl

Robert Louis Ridarelli was born in 1942 in Philadelphia. He displayed a musical aptitude as a young child. At the age of eight, his reputation led to an appearance on a talent show on the national television series, TV Teen Club. He won the contest, and the show’s presenter, Paul “The King of Jazz” Whiteman, recruited him into the cast, where he remained for several years. It was here that his name was Anglicised to Bobby Rydell. When he was 15 in 1957, he played drums for Rocco and the Saints, across from trumpet player Frankie Avalon. In 1958 he released “Dream Age” on the small Veko Record label. Two followup releases on Cameo, “Please Don’t Be Mad” and “All I Want Is You” also failed to make a breakthrough. But his third release on Cameo Records, “Kissin’ Time”, got him national exposure. The single climbed to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #14 in Vancouver’s Sensational Sixty on CKWX in September 1959. A followup, “We Got Love” broke into the Top Ten to peak at #6 on CFUN in Vancouver in late October ’59, matching its peak on the Billboard Hot 100. In all, Bobby Rydell had a hit record on the Vancouver pop charts in 1959 for a total of 21 weeks.

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Message In A Bottle by the Police

#96: Message In A Bottle by the Police

Peak Month: January 1980
16 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #74
YouTube.com: “Message In A Bottle
Lyrics: “Message In A Bottle

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was born in Wallsend on Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, England, in 1951. His mother was a hairdresser and his father was a milkman and engineer. When he was ten-years-old, young Sumner got introduced to Spanish guitar, when a family friend left it at the Sumner residence. After high school he was variously a bus conductor, building labourer and tax officer. He went to college and from 1974-76 was a public school teacher. Sumner performed jazz in the evening, weekends and during breaks from college and teaching, playing with the Phoenix Jazzmen, Newcastle Big Band, and Last Exit. He gained his nickname, “Sting,” due to his habit of wearing a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes with the Phoenix Jazzmen. Bandleader Gordon Solomon thought Sumner looked like a bee which prompted the name “Sting.” According to Sting, in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, “they thought I looked like a wasp, and they’d joke. They called me Sting. They thought it was hilarious…That became my name.”

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