China Doll by Bobby Swanson

#385: China Doll by Bobby Swanson

Peak Month: November 1960
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “China Doll

Bobby Swanson was born in Denver, Colorado, in January, 1943. He attended South High School. When he was just 15, in the summer of 1958, Bobby Swanson traveled with his parents to Memphis. The Swansons went to Sun Records and Bobby auditioned for Sam Philips. Bobby remembers “I kept thinking this is the same microphone that Elvis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash recorded into!” Philips told Bobby to come back to Memphis when he was 18-years-old. Subsequently, Bobby’s dad was doing a job as an electrician at the home of Officer Carol MacTavish. The officer told Bobby’s father that she’d written a song titled “Rockin’ Little Eskimo”, and was trying to get it recorded by someone. Bobby’s father suggested his son. Subsequently, Bobby Swanson recorded a demo backed with a song he wrote titled “Ballad Of Angel”. It was sent to Igloo Records in Anchorage, Alaska.

Continue reading →

Jenny Let Him Go by Antoinette

#386: Jenny Let Him Go by Antoinette

Peak Month: April 1964
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Jenny Let Him Go

Marie Antoinette Daly was born in Southend, Essex, UK in 1951. She landed her first recording contract, with the Decca label, in 1964, at the age of just 13. Her debut single, “Jenny Let Him Go”, was produced by Charles Blackwell, who worked with a number of gems for girl singers of the period, including French yé-yé singer Françoise Hardy and Britain’s Samantha Jones. “Jenny Let Him Go” sounded like a cover of an American song – albeit with a distinctly British tang – and suited Antoinette’s bratty vocals perfectly.

Continue reading →

The Flower Children by Marcia Strassman

#387: The Flower Children by Marcia Strassman

Peak Month: July 1967
9 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #103
YouTube.com: “The Flower Children
Lyrics: “The Flower Children

Marcia Ann Strassman was born in New York City in 1948. She replaced Liza Minelli in the Off-Broadway musical reprise of Best Foot Forward in 1963, after Minelli left to rehearse for Carnival! In their September 11, 1963, issue Variety described Strassman as “a winning comedienne.” At the age of 15, Strassman appeared in three episodes of The Patty Duke Show in 1964 in the role of Adeline. In the summer of ’64, Strassman worked with Shelley Winters and Robert Walker in a Westport (CT) production of Days of the Dancing, described by Variety as a story of “beatniks wasting their lives in at a beach bar in Venice, Cal.” When she turned 18 in 1966, Marcia Strassman moved to Los Angeles in search of new opportunities. One of the first things she did was get a recording contract with Uni Records.

Continue reading →

You Won't Dance With Me by April Wine

#388: You Won’t Dance With Me by April Wine

Peak Month: May 1977
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “You Won’t Dance With Me
Lyrics: “You Won’t Dance With Me”

April Wine is a Canadian rock band that has released 34 singles, 16 studio albums and 9 live albums. They formed in Waverly, Nova Scotia, in 1969. The founding members were brothers David Henman (guitar) and Ritchie Henman (drums) and Myles Goodwyn (lead vocals, guitar). The Henman brothers cousin Jim Henman was also part of the band, but was replaced by bass player Jim Clench in 1971, a year after the band moved to Montreal and released their self-titled debut album. With the release of their second album, On Record, the band had a Top Ten hit nationally in Canada in 1972 with “You Could Have Been A Lady”.

Continue reading →

She Can't Find Her Keys by Paul Petersen

#330: She Can’t Find Her Keys by Paul Petersen

Peak Month: February 1962
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
6 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19
YouTube.com: “She Can’t Find Her Keys
Lyrics: “She Can’t Find Her Keys

Paul William Petersen was born in Glendale, California, in 1945. He  started his career at the age of eight and began appearing on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. From there he was cast as Jeff Stone on the Donna Reed Show where he starred in that role from 1958 to 1966. When he first started playing Jeff Stone, Paul was just 4’3″ tall, which is one reason he got the job. Donna herself was a petite 5’4″. Paul got this part the day after he turned thirteen. While appearing on the Donna Reed Show both he and his sister, Mary Stone, sang songs that would become hit singles. The actress playing Mary Stone was child actor Shelley Fabares who had a number one hit in 1962 called “Johnny Angel.” Paul Petersen also sang songs in the Donna Reed Show including “She Can’t Find Her Keys”, “My Dad” and “Keep Your Love Locked”.

Continue reading →

The Cheater by Bob Kuban & the In-Men

#389: The Cheater by Bob Kuban & the In-Men

Peak Month: February 1966
9 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #12
YouTube.com: “The Cheater
Lyrics: “The Cheater

Robert “Bob” Kuban was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1940. In 1963 he graduated from the St. Louis Institute of Music and became a music teacher at Bishop DuBourg High School. Kuban was also in a local brass band By 1964 Kuban was also interested in forming a pop group and found organist and songwriter Greg Hoeltzel, who agreed to join his band. Hoetzel was a pre-med student at Washington University in St. Louis. Next, Kuban searched for a lead singer and frontman for the group. One night he heard a singer named Walter Scott, who was part of a lounge act named The Pacemakers. Scott was born Walter Simon Nothius Jr. and grew up in St. Louis, and working a day job as a crane operator. Immediately, Kuban offered Scott the position as lead singer for Kuban’s band. The name of the band was the Rhythm Masters. Other bandmates were bass guitarist and songwriter John Mike Krenski (born in St. Louis in 1944), tenor saxophone and trumpet player Patrick Hixon, and vocalist  who was from the Carolinas. Krenski was doing a Masters Degree in Math at St. Louis University, and also a Bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering. Other members, Harry Simon and Skip Weisser, were students at the St. Louis Institute of Music. The eighth member of the band was lead guitarist Ken Smith.

Continue reading →

Wings Of A Dove by Paul Clayton

#390: Wings Of A Dove by Paul Clayton

Peak Month: January 1961
10 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: N/A
Lyrics: “Wings Of A Dove

Paul Clayton Worthington was born in New Bedford – the whaling city – on the south coast of Massachusetts, in 1931. From his childhood, he heard his grandfather, Paul hardy – who was a whaler’s outfitter,  sing songs of the seafarers’ life. While grandmother, Elizabeth Hardy, sang him folksongs she learned when she grew up in Prince Edward Island. When he turned eleven, Paul was given a guitar. From his teens, Paul started to research old folksongs after a visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It was there that he discovered a collection of original manuscripts of seafaring songs. He told DJs at WBSM in New Bedford about his interest in folk music. This led to Paul Clayton Worthington hosting a weekly series of folk programs on WBSM. For the show, Clayton wrote his own material and sang live music on his program. At first the program was a ten minute spot, but was later expanded to one hour.

Continue reading →

That's All Right by Ray Smith

#391: That’s All Right by Ray Smith

Peak Month: December 1959
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “That’s All Right
Lyrics: “That’s All Right

Ray Smith was born in 1934 in the hamlet of Melber, Kentucky, thirteen miles from the town of Paducah where the Ohio River and the Tennessee River meet. Smith was the seventh son of a sharecropper who, in turn, was also the seventh son in Smith’s grandfather’s family. His dad later worked at the atomic bomb plant in Paducah. Smith left his home at the age of twelve. He worked as a gopher on a Coca-Cola Truck and then operated an oven at Kirchoff’s Bread plant in Paducah. As he grew up Ray Smith worked as a curb hop at Price’s Barbecue at 34th and Broadway where he would serve U.S. (KY) Senator Alben W. Barkley, who later became President Harry Truman’s Vice-President. Next he worked as a sole back tacker and tack machine operator at the International Shoe Company.

Continue reading →

Fallen Idol by Ken Lyon

#392: Fallen Idol by Ken Lyon

Peak Month: June 1961
8 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Fallen Idol

In 1941 Ken Lyon was born in Newport, Rhode Island. His mother was classically trained and began to give vocal lessons to Ken at age three. Ken’s father was an Episcopal priest and his family moved to East Weymouth (MA) before he entered his teens. When he turned 15 in 1956, Ken Lyon got his first guitar and taught himself to play. In 1957, Lyon teamed up with a South Weymouth high school classmate named Billy Allen to form a singing duo called The Seniors. Lyon was taken with both folk music and calypso and in 1959 started performing under the name “Calypso Ken.” In 1960 he made appearances playing calypso at Ted Hilton’s Dude Ranch in Moosup, Connecticut. The Woonsocket Call reported that Lyon also was in the United States Navy Reserves for two years, but got a medical discharge due to an asthmatic condition. After high school Ken Lyons got work as an electrician at the Ann & Hope Factory Outlet in Lower Cumberland, Rhode Island.

Continue reading →

Peter Rabbit by Dee Jay And The Runaways

#393: Peter Rabbit by Dee Jay And The Runaways

Peak Month: June 1966
8 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #45
YouTube.com: “Peter Rabbit” ~ Dee Jay And The Runaways (1966)
Lyrics: “Peter Rabbit
YouTube.com: “Peter Rabbit” ~ Myron Lee and the Caddies (1961)

Dee Jay And The Runaways was a band formed in 1964. They were from Spirit Lake, Iowa. The “Dee” in the band was Denny Storey, from Spencer, Iowa, and was born in 1943. Denny played drums, and had formed his first band at the age of 14 in early 1958. The “Jay” in the band was bass guitar player John Stenn, born in Spirit Lake, Iowa, in 1940. Denny and John looked for other musicians to join their new band. The lead singer was Gary Lind. Other members of the band included bass guitarist Bob Godfredson, and keyboard player Dennis Kintzi from St. James (MN). Storey, Stenn and Kintzi had all been members of a six-piece band called The Chevelles. Stenn talked up a couple of local investors and founded IGL Studios in Milford, Iowa. IGL stood for Iowa Great Lakes. The band released “Love Bug Crawl” in 1965, a cover of a 1957 rockabilly tune by Jimmy Edwards that was popular in a few radio markets in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
Continue reading →

Sign Up For Our Newsletter