Shake Shake Sherry by the Flairs/the Redwoods

#209: Shake Shake Sherry by the Flairs/the Redwoods

Peak Month: July-August 1961
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube: “Shake Shake Sherry
Lyrics: “Shake Shake Sherry

Jeff Barry was born Joel Adelberg in 1938, in Brooklyn. Raised in a Jewish family, Adelberg attended Erasmus Hall High School in New York City where he met Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand. During high school, Adelberg was part of a vocal group with other three schoolmates, Scott Gilman, Freddy Barnet and Johnny Devereau. It was named The Tarrytones. However, they never recorded a record and disbanded after their graduation. After high school Adelberg served in the U.S. Army for a year stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, while singing with military bands. When he signed a contract to write and record with RCA, Adelberg changed his name to Jeff Barry. “Jeff” was inspired by actor Jeff Chandler (also born to a Jewish family and whose birth name was Ira Grossel). Barry recorded “Hip Couple”, a minor hit in Allentown (PA) in 1959. Jeff Barry’s writing credits include the 1960 Top Ten hit for Ray Peterson titled “Tell Laura I Love Her”.

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Push It by Salt-N-Pepa

#210: Push It by Salt-N-Pepa

Peak Month: April-May 1988
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19
YouTube: “Push It
Lyrics: “Push It

Cheryl Renee James was born in 1966 in Brooklyn, New York. She later went by the stage name Salt. Sandra Jacqueline Denton was born in 1964 in Kingston, Jamaica. She moved to join her family in Queens, New York, in 1970, at the age of six. While she was a child she was sexually molested. Both James and Denton attended nursing school at Queensborough Community College in Queens. In 1985, James and Denton were working as customer service representatives at Sears. The duo recorded their first single “The Show Stoppa”, which was a minor R&B hit in ’85. The duos’ original name was Super Nature. However, they changed their name because in “The Show Stoppa” they rap the lines “Right now I’m gonna show you how it’s supposed to be ‘Cause we, the Salt and Pepa MCs”. This resulted in radio stations getting phone calls requesting “The Show Stoppa” by Salt & Pepper.

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Yes It Is by the Beatles

#211: Yes It Is by the Beatles

Peak Month: May 1965
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #46
YouTube: “Yes It Is
Lyrics: “Yes It Is

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.

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I Got You by Split Enz

#212: I Got You by Split Enz

Peak Month: January 1981
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #53
YouTube: “I Got You
“I Got You” 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.

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Alice In Wonderland by Neil Sedaka

#213: Alice In Wonderland by Neil Sedaka

Peak Month: March 1963
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #28
YouTube: “Alice In Wonderland
Lyrics: “Alice In Wonderland

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. Sedaka is a cousin of the late singer Eydie Gorme. 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 age of nine 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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Sunny Goodge Street by Tom Northcott

#214: Sunny Goodge Street by Tom Northcott

Peak Month: August 1967
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #123
YouTube: “Sunny Goodge Street
Lyrics: “Sunny Goodge Street

Tom Northcott is a Vancouver folk-rock singer with hits on the local pop charts from the mid-60s into the early 70s. He became known to a Canadian audience by his regular appearances on CBC Television’s Let’s Go music program in 1964-68. He was nominated as best male vocalist for a Juno Award in 1971. Later he co-founded Mushroom Studios in Vancouver and produced records. His hits are played regularly on Canadian oldies music stations.

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Rock 'N Roll Love Letter by the Bay City Rollers

#215: Rock ‘N Roll Love Letter by the Bay City Rollers

Peak Month: April 1976
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #28
YouTube: “Rock ‘N Roll Love Letter
Lyrics: “Rock ‘N Roll Love Letter

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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You're The Voice by John Farnham

#216: You’re The Voice by John Farnham

Peak Month: August 1987
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
1 week Playlist
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #82 (in 1990)
YouTube: “You’re The Voice
Lyrics: “You’re The Voice

John Peter Farnham was born in 1949 in Essex, England. He moved with his family to Australia in 1959. While in Grade Ten, in 1964 he began performing as Johnny Farnham a local Melbourne band called the Mavericks on weekends. In late 1965, he became the lead singer for Strings Unlimited. In 1967, Farnham was signed to the EMI label and recorded a novelty song titled “Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)”. It became a number-one single in Australia for five weeks in early 1968. He followed up with two more Top Ten hits on the Australian pop charts, including a cover of the 1930s pop standard “Underneath The Arches”. In 1969, Johnny Farnham’s cover of the Three Dog Night song, “One”, peaked at #4 in Australia. He returned to the top of the Australian pop charts later that year with a cover of “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”. He had three more Top Ten hits in Australia in the 1970s, and a Top Ten cover of the Beatles “Help” in 1980.

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Aladdin by Bobby Curtola

#217: Aladdin by Bobby Curtola

Peak Month: October 1962
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #92
YouTube: “Aladdin
Lyrics: “Aladdin

Bobby Curtola was born in Port Arthur, Ontario, in 1943. (The town would become amalgamated into the city of Thunder Bay in 1970). His cousin Susan Andrusco remembers “”Bobby would always be singing at our family gatherings. The family loved him. And he loved being the centre of attention. He would sing Oh My Papa, and my grandpa would cry.” Oh My Papa was a number-one hit for Eddie Fisher in January 1954, when Bobby Curtola was still ten-years-old. In the fall of 1959, sixteen-year-old high school student Bobby Curtola went from pumping gas at his father’s garage in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to the life of a teen idol. Within a year he went from playing in his basement band, Bobby and the Bobcats, to recording his first hit single in 1960, “Hand In Hand With You”, which charted in June ’60 in Ontario, but not in Vancouver.

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Arc Of A Diver by Steve Winwood

#218: 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: “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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