Cruel To Be Kind by Nick Lowe

#73: Cruel To Be Kind by Nick Lowe

Peak Month: November 1979
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #12
YouTube.com: “Cruel To Be Kind
Lyrics: “Cruel To Be Kind

Nicholas Drain Lowe was born in 1949 in Surrey, UK. He formed a band in 1968 named Kippington Lodge. The band was renamed Brinsley Schwartz and veered into a fusion of country and blues-rock. In 1974, Lowe wrote “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”. The song was recorded by Elvis Costello in 1979. In 1976, Dave Edmunds co-founded a band named Rockpile with Nick Lowe, drummer Terry Williams and guitar player Billy Bremner. But, immediately, Rockpile ran into recording problems since Lowe and Edmunds were signed to different recording labels. Nonetheless, Rockpile went on tour in the UK in 1976. As well, in 1976 Lowe recorded “So It Goes”. The single was voted the fifth-best single of the year according to the New Musical Express critics poll. That year, Lowe produced a single by The Damned titled “New Rose”, along with the album Damned Damned Damned. In 1977, Nick Lowe produced Elvis Costello’s first album, My Aim Is True. In 1978, Lowe produced Elvis Costello’s second album, This Year’s Model, with the outstanding track “Pump It Up”. In 1978, Lowe had a Top Ten hit single in the UK titled “I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass”. A third album by Elvis Costello, Armed Forces, was also produced by Nick Lowe. And in 1979, Lowe’s song, “Milk And Alcohol”, was a Top Ten hit in the UK for Dr. Feelgood.

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Danny Boy by Conway Twitty

#74: Danny Boy by Conway Twitty

Peak Month: November 1959
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #10
YouTube.com: “Danny Boy
Lyrics: “Danny Boy

Conway Twitty was an American Country and Western singer with three crossover pop hits on the US charts and five crossover hits on the pop charts in Vancouver. He went on to chart 58 songs in the Canadian Country charts between 1968 and 1990 (61 songs on US Country & Western charts). Born Harold Lloyd Jenkins, in 1957 he decided his real name didn’t have the right stuff for the music business and becoming a star. He looked on a map and finding Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas, he put the two towns names together and became Conway Twitty. From his initial #1 hit in 1958, “It’s Only Make Believe”, 25 year old Conway Twitty became known for his blend of country, rockabilly and rock n’ roll.

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Pineapple Princess by Annette

#75: Pineapple Princess by Annette

Peak Month: August 1960
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #11
YouTube.com: “Pineapple Princess
Lyrics: “Pineapple Princess

Annette Joanne Funicello was born in Utica, New York in 1942. In 1955 she began her professional career as a child performer at the age of twelve when Walt Disney discovered her performing as the Swan Queen in a dance recital of Swan Lake at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank, California. She became one of the most popular Mouseketeers on the original Mickey Mouse Club. As a teenager, she became a pop singer and shortly after an actress in a series of films popularizing the successful Beach Party genre alongside co-star Frankie Avalon during the mid-1960s. On July 17, 1955 Annette Funicello made her television debut during the live broadcast of Disneyland’s opening day ceremonies. She participated in a song and dance routine promoting the upcoming debut of Walt Disney’s new television show, The Mickey Mouse Club. Following the shows premier on Monday, October 3, 1955, The Mickey Mouse Club became an immediate hit. Its army of small, amateur mouse-eared stars took America by storm. It wasn’t long before the young audience of boys and girls developed a particular interest in a little dark haired girl named Annette.
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I Wanna Be A Cowboy by Boys Don't Cry

#76: I Wanna Be A Cowboy by Boys Don’t Cry

Peak Month: June 1986
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #12
YouTube.com: “I Wanna Be A Cowboy
Lyrics: “I Wanna Be A Cowboy

Boys Don’t Cry was a band formed in 1983 in the UK. It was the brainchild of lead vocalist/keyboardist Nick Richards, who had just purchased Maison Rouge Recording Studios in London. An early version of the group (featuring Richards, guitarist Richard Taee and drummer Steve Creese, augmented by session musicians) released their debut EP Don’t Talk to Strangers on independent UK label Legacy Records in Britain in 1983. By the mid-1980s, the band’s line-up had stabilised around principal members Richards and keyboardist Brian Chatton (one of the session players on the debut EP), along with Jeff Seopardi on drums, Nico Ramsden on guitar, and Mark Smith on bass. Chatton had previously had a brief stint on keyboards with 1970s progressive band Jackson Heights, contributing heavily to their Ragamuffin’s Fool album.

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Three Stars by Tommy Dee

#76: Three Stars by Tommy Dee

Peak Month: May 1959
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #11
Billboard Year-End chart 1959 ~ #81
YouTube.com: “Three Stars

Tommy Donaldson was born in Vicker, Virgina, in 1934. In the late 50s he became a disc jockey at KFXM in San Bernardino, California. He was known on air as Tommy Dee. He was working at KFXM in San Bernardino and was on air on February 3, 1959. A breaking news story told that rock n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper had died in a small plane crash in rural Iowa. The day of the disaster, Dee began writing the song. He explained to writer Albert Leichter, “I was on the air, when it happened, the bells went crazy on the tele­type, ‘what’s this!’ I started reading it. I wrote the song, right on the spot: poured my heart out. ‘No, it can’t be true. My friend, next door, had a little Webco (tape recorder). I just put it down as I wrote it, just a strum of the guitar. He told me I should make a record on it. I told him all I meant for it to be was a tribute to play on my show.” Dee had no intention of recording it himself.

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Black Cars by Gino Vannelli

#77: Black Cars by Gino Vannelli

Peak Month: June 1985
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #42
YouTube.com: “Black Cars
Lyrics: “Black Cars

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”. In 1964, five years prior to the Jackson 5’s debut hit “I Want You Back” on Motown, Gino Vannelli happened to join a band in Montreal called the Jacksonville Five. And that Montreal band happened to tailor itself to Motown-sound-alike tunes when The Supremes, The Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and Mary Wells were all topping the charts. By 1966, Gino Vannelli became the lead singer of the Jacksonville Five when he replaced the current lead singer who couldn’t hit the high notes on Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual”.  He was fourteen.

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You Spin Me Round by Dead Or Alive

#78: You Spin Me Round by Dead Or Alive

Peak Month: August 1985
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #11
YouTube.com: “You Spin Me Round
Lyrics: “You Spin Me Round

Born in 1959 in Merseyside, UK, Peter Jozzeppi Burns dropped out of school when he was 14-years-old. He was raped by a man who took him for a drive, who he was acquainted with. Burns later recalled that he was not upset by the experience, although he knew that people would expect him to be. Burns got a job at Probe Record store in Liverpool. In 1977, he joined the Mystery Girls. In 1979 he formed Nightmares in Wax. But a change in musical direction, and lineup led to naming the band Dead or Alive in 1980.

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Bonnie B by Jerry Lee Lewis

#79: Bonnie B by Jerry Lee Lewis

Peak Month: January 1962
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Bonnie B
Lyrics” “Bonnie B

In 1935 Jerry Lee Lewis was born in Ferriday, Louisiana. On a 1961 album liner note, it was written “From the time he was big enough to reach the keyboard he has been playing and singing.” At the age of nine he started playing the piano. He imitated the styles of preachers and black musicians that passed through his community. His playing style was creative and outrageous. Jerry Lee Lewis rose to become one of rock ‘n rolls’  first showman in the mid-50s. He incorporated some of what he heard into his musical style from listening to radio shows like the Grand Ole Opry and Louisiana Hayride. Among his influences were Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and Al Jolson. At the age of ten his dad decided to mortgage the family farm so he could purchase a piano for Jerry Lee to play. Lewis first performed in public when he was fourteen years old at the opening of a local car dealership. At age fourteen he quit school and honed his musical skills. But before he became a famous recording act, Lewis sold sewing machines to help make some money.

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All My Love by Led Zeppelin

#79: All My Love by Led Zeppelin

Peak Month: October 1979
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
2 weeks Playlist
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ LP cut ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “All My Love
Lyrics: “All My Love

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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Dreaming by Cliff Richard

#80: Dreaming by Cliff Richard

Peak Month: November 1980
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Dreamin’
Lyrics: “Dreamin’

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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