Old Brown Shoe by the Beatles

#46: Old Brown Shoe by the Beatles

Peak Month: June 1969
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Old Brown Shoe
Lyrics: “Old Brown Shoe

Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool in 1942. He attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys and met fellow classmates  George Harrison on a school bus. When Paul was 14 his mom died from a blockage in one of her blood vessels. In his early teens McCartney learned to play trumpet, guitar and piano. He was left-handed and restrung the strings to make it work. In 1957, Paul met John Lennon and in October he was invited to join John’s skiffle band, The Quarrymen, which Lennon had founded in 1956. After Paul joined the group his suggested that his friend, George Harrison, join the group. Harrison became one of the Quarrymen in early 1958, though he was still only 14. Other original members of the Quarrymen, Len Garry, Rod Davis, Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths and Pete Shotton left the band when their set changed from skiffle to rock ‘n roll. John Duff Lowe, a friend of Paul’s from the Liverpool Institute, who had joined the Quarrymen in early 1958 left the band at the end of school. This left Lennon, McCartney and Harrison as remaining trio. On July 15, 1958, John Lennon’s mother died in an automobile accident.Continue reading →

Robbin' The Cradle by Tony Bellus

#47: Robbin’ The Cradle by Tony Bellus

Peak Month: August 1959
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “Robbin’ The Cradle
Lyrics: “Robbin’ The Cradle

Anthony J. Bellusci was born in Chicago in 1936. On his debut album, NRC Records wrote “Tony has been a professional entertainer since he was fifteen years old. Graduating from Bradley, Illinois High, he was offered scholarships in both teaching and dramatics. He was not long in making up his mind, and immediately checked in at the famed Goodman Theatre in Chicago for the basic training in dramatics that has been of so much value to him in his personal appearances.”  

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#48: SOS by ABBA

Peak Month: December 1975
16 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #15
YouTube.com: “SOS
Lyrics: “SOS

ABBA is a pop band from Sweden. Agneta Fältskog was born in 1950 in the lakeside city of Jönköping in southern Sweden. Fältskog wrote her first song at the age of six, which she named “Två små troll” (“Two Small Trolls”). In 1958, she began taking piano lessons, and also sang in a local church choir. In early 1960, Fältskog formed a musical trio, the Cambers. At age 15 she left school to pursue a career in music. She considers Connie Francis, Lesley Gore, Aretha Franklin and Marianne Faithfull as her prime influences on her musical style. Fältskog worked on reception for a car firm while performing with the Bernt Enghardt band. In 1967 she wrote “Jag var så kär” (“I Was So in Love”), after a dating relationship ended. The single topped the Swedish pop charts in early 1968. That year she met Björn Ulvaeus, a member of the Hootenanny Singers. Ulvaeus was born in the western coast city of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1945. In the early Sixties, Ulvaeus joined the Hootenanny Singers. They had a #5 hit in Sweden in 1964 with “Gabrielle”, based on the Russian folksong “May Here Always Be Sunshine”. The folk group had many Top Ten hits in Sweden into the early 70s, including a cover of “Green, Green Grass of Home” (“En sång en gång för längese’n”).

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You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care) by Elvis Presley

#59: You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care) by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: November 1957
8 weeks on Vancouver’s Red Robinson’s Teen Canteen Survey
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care
Lyrics: “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care

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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Pass The Dutchie by Musical Youth

#48: Pass The Dutchie by Musical Youth

Peak Month: February 1983
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #10
Billboard Top 100 for 1983 ~ #91
YouTube.com: “Pass The Dutchie
Lyrics: “Pass The Dutchie

Dennis Michael Seaton was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1967. Kelvin Grant was born in 1971 in Birmingham.  Michael Grant was born in Birmingham in 1969. Patrick Waite was born in Birmingham in 1969. Junior Waite was born in Birmingham in 1967. The Waites’ father, Frederick Waite Sr., had been a member of the Jamaican reggae group the Techniques. At the start of Musical Youth’s career, he sang lead with Junior. It was decided that it was more fitting that the lead singer be a similar age to the rest of the bandmates. An audition was held and Dennis Seaton was the only person who responded to the ad.

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Roll On Down The Highway by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

#49: Roll On Down The Highway by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Peak Month: March 1975
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #14
YouTube.com: “Roll On Down The Highway
Lyrics: “Roll On Down The Highway

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”. The Guess Who dropped the question mark in their title a few years later.

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Walking On Broken Glass by Annie Lennox

#50: Walking On Broken Glass by Annie Lennox

Peak Month: November 1992
19 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #14
YouTube.com: “Walking On Broken Glass
Lyrics: “Walking On Broken Glass

Ann Lennox was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1954. Lennox recalls, “When I was very young, we had a salmon pink Dansette record player. Someone gave me birthday money and the first record I think I bought was Mary Poppins followed by Procul Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale“. Both records are magical and transporting. I used to visit my grandparents in the countryside and would always go into the recesses of a cupboard to pull out a box full of old 78 rpm records which I’d play over and over again, especially the Vilja song from The Merry Widow, which I was obsessed with. My dad blew my mind when I was six years old because he built his own Gramophone. He had the albums for every Rodgers & Hammerstein musical and he switched his homebuilt record player on and you heard this crackling sound and then ‘Boom!’ I remember walking to school singing “I Enjoy Being A Girl”. To buy a vinyl album, you had to record player and you have to have speakers, and this is a great thing because that means people are going to listen to your music not on a cell phone, but they’re going to listen to it out of a sound system, which is what we all did when we were growing up. The important thing about vinyl releases is that people buy them and actually put them on the turntable and listen to a side, because we chose the tracks to be played in a particular order, and that was really important.”

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Earache My Eye by Cheech & Chong

#64: Earache My Eye by Cheech & Chong

Peak Month: October 1974
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #9
Peak Position on Cashbox Top 100 Singles chart ~ #4
YouTube.com: “Earache My Eye
Lyrics: “Earache My Eye
Spoken word skit: “Earache My Eye

Richard AnthonyCheechMarin was born in 1946 in Los Angeles. His nickname “Cheech” is short for chicharron (which is a dish generally featuring fried pork belly, or fried pork rind). In a 2017 NPR interview, Marin attributed the nickname to his uncle: “I came home from the hospital, I was like a couple of days old or something, my uncle came over and he looked in the crib and he said [in Spanish], ‘Ay, parece un chicharrón.’ Looks like a little chicharrón, you know?” Cheech moved to Vancouver, BC, in September 1967, to avoid being drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Thomas B. Kin Chong was born in 1938 in Edmonton, Alberta. Growing up in Calgary, Chong stated in an interview, “when I was 16 but probably just before they were going to throw me out anyway.” He played guitar to make money. “I discovered that music could get you laid, even if you were a scrawny, long-haired, geeky-looking guy like me.”

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One Tin Soldier by the Original Caste

#64: One Tin Soldier by the Original Caste

Peak Month: December 1969/August 1973
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #34
YouTube.com: “One Tin Soldier
Lyrics: “One Tin Soldier

The Original Caste were a band from Calgary, Alberta, that formed in 1966. The band’s leader was Bruce Innes. He was born in Calgary (AB) in 1943. He was playing professionally at the age of eleven, supported by his musical father who had lots of connections in the city. At the University of Montana, in Missoula (MT), Innes sang with the Big Sky Singers. After college, he accompanied civil rights activist,  blues and folk singer Josh White on a tour that ended in New York City. Josh White had a promising career and had toured with Eleanor Roosevelt to Europe in 1950. But he returned home from the tour to be interrogated as a suspected communist, having made it on a “Red” list of subversives during the McCarthy hysteria. White was blacklisted and his career suffered. But by 1963-64, a new wind was blowing across America, and Bruce Innes was grateful to be able to accompany Josh White on guitar. They toured all the way to New York City.

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Tears Are Not Enough by Northern Lights

#51: Tears Are Not Enough by Northern Lights

Peak Month: April-May 1985
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Tears Are Not Enough
Lyrics: “Tears Are Not Enough

Northern Lights is the name given to the ensemble of Canadian pop music performers who recorded a charity single in 1985 to raise funds in response to the famine in Ethiopia. The single, “Tears Are Not Enough”, featured solo vocals by Gordon Lightfoot, Burton Cummings, Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Dan Hill, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Corey Hart, Bruce Cockburn, lead singer with Rush – Geddy Lee, and lead singer with Loverboy – Mike Reno. In addition, the following recording artists appeared singing on the recording in duos or trios: Mike Reno and Liberty Silver; Carroll Baker with Ronnie Hawkins and Murray McLauchlan; Francophone singers Véronique Béliveau, Robert Charlebois and Claude Dubois; Alfie Zappacosta and Lisa Dal Bello; Carol Pope and Paul Hyde, Salome Bey with Platinum Blonde lead singer Mark Holmes and the Parachute Clubs’ Lorraine Segato.

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