Play With Fire by the Rolling Stones

#448: Play With Fire by the Rolling Stones

Peak Month: May 1965
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #96 “Play With Fire
Play With Fire” lyrics

Michael Philip Jagger was born in Dartford, Kent, England, in 1943, some 18 miles east of London. Though his father and grandfather were both teachers by profession, and he was encouraged to be a teacher, the boy had different aspirations. “I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing. Some kids sing in choirs; others like to show off in front of the mirror. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers on the radio–the BBC or Radio Luxembourg –or watching them on TV and in the movies.” In 1950 Mick Jagger met Keith Richards while attending primary school. They became good friends until the summer of 1954 when the Jagger family moved to the village of Wilmington, a mile south of Dartford. The pair bumped into each other at a train station in 1961 and resumed their friendship.

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Is It True by Brenda Lee

#449: Is It True by Brenda Lee

Peak Month: November 1964
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #17 “Is It True
“Is It True” lyrics

Brenda Mae Tarpley was born in 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. Her parents were poor. During her childhood, young Brenda shared a sagging iron bed with her brother and sister in a series of three-room houses. They had no running water. Here parents were from job to job. After the stock market crash in 1929, Brenda’s mother would recall “you could hardly buy a job.” The region was devastated by an infestation of the boll weevil. Brenda started singing solos each Sunday at the Baptist church where her family attended. In her 2002 autobiography, she wrote “I grew up so poor, and it saddens me to see the poverty that is still there. A lot of my family have never done any better. Some of there are just exactly where they were when I was a kid. And in a way, there is still something inside of me that is a part of that, the part that doesn’t expect much. Little things make them happy, and that’s the same with me.”

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What's Causing This Sensation by the Chessmen

#450: What’s Causing This Sensation by the Chessmen

Peak Month: May 1966
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “What’s Causing This Sensation

In 1959 Guy Sobell became a member of a Vancouver band called The Ken Clark Trio. They drew inspiration from The Shadows, The Beatles and Sweden’s instrumental group the Spotnicks. For the first few years the trio subsisted by playing at frat parties at the University of British Columbia. In 1962 Sobell decided to form a new band. Among the musicians responding to an ad was Terry Jacks, who was 17 years old and studying architecture and a member of a band called The Sand Dwellers. Jacks band had released a single called “Build Your Castle Higher”. Written along with bandmade John Crowe, it was Jacks’ first recording. It was covered by Jerry Cole and His Spacemen as a track on their debut album, Outer Limits. The track was retitled “Midnight Surfer” and Jerry Cole went on to be part of Phil Spector’s group of now legendary session musicians called the Wrecking Crew who played on over 40 #1 hits in the USA. Prior to His Spacemen band, Jerry Cole was a member of the instrumental group The Champs who had a #1 hit in 1958 called “Tequila”. I don’t know if The Sand Dwellers got any royalties from Jerry Cole and His Spacemen.

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Dancing In The Street by The Mamas & The Papas

#451: Dancing In The Street by The Mamas & The Papas

Peak Month: December 1966
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #73 “Dancing In The Street
“Dancing In The Street” lyrics

John Edmund Andrew Phillips was born in Paris Island, South Carolina, in 1935. His father was a military officer and John was sent to Linton Hall Military School from age seven to eleven. He hated the school and its corporal punishment. In his autobiography, Phillips recalls he also thought it was creepy that “nuns used to watch us take showers.” In high school he assembled several doo-wop groups. After he dropped out of a Naval Academy in 1953, John Phillips studied at a men’s college until 1959. In 1958 he formed a doo-wop group named the Abstracts, fashioned after the Four Preps and other popular groups of the era. The Abstracts changed their name in 1959 to the Smoothies. Another member of the group was Philip Blondheim III, who later changed his name to Scott McKenzie. The Smoothies played at night clubs in New York City with chorus girls and comedians.

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No Souvenirs by Melissa Etheridge

#452: No Souvenirs by Melissa Etheridge

Peak Month: December 1989
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #8
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #95 link: “No Souvenirs
“No Souvenirs” lyrics

Melissa Lou Etheridge was born in 1961 in Leavenworth, Kansas. While in high school she was a member of several country bands. She moved to Boston after high school and while in college she performed at clubs in the area. She moved to Los Angeles and caught the attention of Island Records in 1986. In 1988 she made her first appearance on the Vancouver (BC) pop chart with “Bring Me Some Water”. The single peaked at #13 on CKLG in November ’88, and #9 on the Australian singles chart. It was from her self-titled debut album. The single won her a Grammy Award nomination in 1989 for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female.

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I Can See For Miles by The Who

#453: I Can See For Miles by The Who

Peak Month: October 1967
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #1
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #9 link: “I Can See For Miles
“I Can See For Miles” lyrics

The Who are an English band who emerged in 1964 with singer Roger Daltry, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. The band enjoyed popular singles, such as “I Can See For Miles”, “Pinball Wizard” and  “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. In Vancouver the band had eleven Top Ten hits, while in the UK they charted fourteen singles into the Top Ten, but in America they only charted one single, “I Can See For Miles,” into the Billboard Hot 100. The band were innovators of new genres in rock n’ roll with their rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia. The Who early on were known for outlandish antics on stage. At the Railway Hotel in Wealdstone, England, in June, 1964, Peter Townshend destroyed his guitar on stage and smashed it into other instruments. The Who stand alongside The Beatles and The Rolling Stones as among the most influential rock bands from Britain. They had their first Top Ten single in the UK and in Vancouver in 1965 titled “I Can’t Explain”, which peaked at #8 in the UK and #2 in Vancouver.

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One Step Ahead by Split Enz

#454: One Step Ahead by Split Enz

Peak Month: August 1981
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #104 link: “One Step Ahead
“One Step Ahead” 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 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. Continue reading →

I Know I'm Losing You by Rod Stewart

#455: I Know I’m Losing You by Rod Stewart

Peak Month: December 1971
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN
Peak Position #1
1 week Preview
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #24 link: “I Know I’m Losing You
“I Know I’m Losing You” lyrics

Roderick David Stewart was born in London, England, in 1945. In 1956 he got introduced to rock ‘n roll when he saw Bill Haley and His Comets in concert, and heard Little Richard’s “The Girl Can’t Help It”. He was given a guitar by his dad in 1959, and he learned to play the Kingston Trio’s “A Worried Man”. He quit school at age 15 and worked as a newspaper boy. He auditioned with Joe Meek in 1961, but didn’t get a record deal. By 1963 he was part of an R&B band called The Dimensions. In 1965 he teamed up with Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger to form a blues band called Steampacket. This lasted another year. Eventually, Stewart became part of the Jeff Beck Group in 1967. When that band broke up in the fall of ’68, Rod Stewart got invited to join the reformed Small Faces, who were now just called Faces.

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One Monkey Don't Stop No Show by Honey Cone

#456: One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show by Honey Cone

Peak Month: January 1972
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #15 link: “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show
“One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” lyrics

Edna Wright was born in Los Angeles in 1944. She grew up in the church and sang with the Church of God in Christ Singers. In 1965 she recorded under the pseudonym Sandy Wynns, and had a minor hit in Los Angeles with “A Touch Of Venus”. In 1969 she sang backing vocals on an album for the Righteous Brothers. In 1969, Honey Cone was formed by lead singer Edna Wright (sister of Darlene Love, who provided lead vocals for the Crystals “He’s A Rebel”) with Carolyn Willis and Shelley Clark. (Note: Clark’s first name is spelled differently by Wikipedia, Discogs and AllMusic as either Shelly, Shellie or Shelley). Willis was born in 1946 in Los Angeles. In 1966, Shelley Clark had been one of the trio backing singers with the Ikettes for Ike & Tina Turner at the time they recorded “River Deep – Mountain High”. Willis had been part of a girl group in 1964 named the Girlfriends. They scored a minor Top 50 hit that year with “My One And Only Jimmy Boy”. Willis and Wright also had recording and performing experience in Darlene Love’s girl group the Blossoms from 1962 to 1964. The Blossoms sang backing vocals on “Monster Mash” for Bobby “Boris” Pickett, “Johnny Angel” for Shelley Fabares, and “Be My Baby” for the Ronettes, and “He’s A Rebel” (credited to The Crystals and not the Blossoms who actually recorded the record for Phil Spector). Willis and Wright also provided backing vocals for Darlene Love’s “He’s Sure The Boy I Love”.

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Blue Moon Of Kentucky by Elvis Presley

#457: Blue Moon Of Kentucky by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: September 1956
5 weeks on Vancouver’s CJOR Red Robinson chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart link: “Blue Moon Of Kentucky
“Blue Moon Of Kentucky” lyrics

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”, song #1104 on this Countdown. 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 on July 19.

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