Peak Month: August 1973
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #42
YouTube.com: “Roll Over Beethoven” “Roll Over Beethoven” lyrics
Jeffrey Lynne was born in suburban Birmingham, England in 1947. His dad bought him a guitar when he turned twelve. In 1966 he formed a band that by 1968 called themselves the Idle Race. He left for another band by the end of the 60s named The Move. The latter development was a catalyst for working on a musical project combining rock with orchestration. Beverley “Bev” Bevan was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1944. He learned to play drums and in 1956 he joined a rock band named Denny Laine & the Diplomats. In 1965 he moved on to join Carl Wayne & the Vikings, and in 1966 The Move. Bevan went through the transition from the Move to Electric Light Orchestra with Jeff Lynne. By the end of 1970 the Electric Light Orchestra was born. Continue reading →
Peak Month: September 1970
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #21
YouTube.com: “Joanne” “Joanne” lyrics
Robert Michael Nesmith was born in 1942 in Houston, Texas. His mother, Bette invented liquid paper and would later leave the $20 million estate to him. Affectionately nicknamed “Nez,” he learned to play saxophone as a young child and joined the United States Air Force years later. After two years in the Air Force, he left to pursue a career in folk music. In the mid-60s, he left home to move to Los Angeles, with the intent of getting into the movie business. During this time he formed the trio named Mike and John and Bill. They recorded a single in 1965 called “How Can You Kiss Me”, which was a Top 40 hit in San Antonio, Texas, in May of ’65. Later that year Nesmith released a solo disc titled “A Journey With Michael Blessing” that made the Top 50 in a few radio markets in Pennsylvania and Ohio, credited to Michael Blessing. With hopes of getting a job as a songwriter, Mike auditioned for The Monkees in late-1965. Continue reading →
Peak Month: May 1986
9 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Hungry Eyes” “Hungry Eyes” lyrics
Mark Holmes was born in the UK and lived in Manchester until the family moved to Toronto. He met several other musicians and formed a punk band that played covers to The Police and other new wave bands. After a lineup change, Holmes was playing guitar and the lead vocalist, Chris Steffler was the drummer and Sergio Galli was a second guitarist. The trio became Platinum Blonde. They got a record deal with CBS in 1983. Their debut album, Standing In The Dark, earned them two Video Of The Year nominations at the 1984 Juno Awards. But it was their second album, Alien Shores, which included “Crying Over You”, a #1 single on the Canadian RPM charts in 1985, and in Vancouver.
Another Top Ten hit in Canada from Alien Shores was “Situation Critical”. A third single, “Hungry Eyes”, also made the Top Ten in Vancouver, peaking at #5.
“Hungry Eyes” was co-written by Platinum Blonde lead singer Mark Holmes and bandmate Sergio Galli. The song concerns that “danger zone” of shared mutual attraction resulting in ‘hungry eyes’ for each other. The pull is so strong it is as if each person falls inside the other. The lyrics contemplate a world where there are no taboos, no right or wrong, when we encounter hungry eyes in another person. It seems that many people second guess the look of another person’s hungry eyes. They rely not on first hand experience, but what television teaches. The lyrics advise that once we follow the lure of the hungry eyes, the falling inside the other will last “forever.” There are others in society who will judge paying attention to what our hungry eyes indicate to us as something that is “wrong.” Platinum Blonde assures us that people with those viewpoints will “never steal our song.”
“Hungry Eyes” also climbed into the Top Ten in Edmonton, to #13 in Saskatoon (SK), the Top 20 in Medicine Hat (AB), and the Top 30 in Hamilton (ON).
With the release of Alien Shores, Platinum Blonde featured a fourth band member named Kenny McLean. He played the keyboards and bass guitar. Chris Steffler left the band and was replaced by Alexander Tukatsch, who went by the name Sascha. A third album was released in 1987 titled Contact. The title track was a Top Ten hit in Vancouver, as was “Fire”. Another single from Contact, “If You Go This Time”, made the Top 20 in Vancouver.
Platinum Blonde released another album in 1990, but soon parted ways. They reunited in 2012 and released an album titled Now And Never. With the release, they mounted a reunion tour.
After the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States of America, Mark Holmes told a reporter for the Calgary Herald: “People need to become hippies again.” Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald finds the statement ironic, given Platinum Blonde were “the epitome of Canada’s fledgling video age of the 1980s, where successful acts understood that a carefully constructed, video-friendly image was key to burrowing into Canada’s pop-culture consciousness.” So, not exactly hippies.
In 2017, Platinum Blonde did a show in White Rock, BC, another at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver that summer, and at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver in November. In 2018, the band appeared in only a handful of concert venues. This included a concert on September 8, 2018, in Vernon, BC, with Loverboy. They currently have no upcoming tour dates scheduled.
Discovered in the summer of 1984 when a band from Newmarket, Ontario called Tokyo spent two evenings performing before capacity crowds at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens opening for Boy George and Culture Club. Their dynamic original sound captured the moment, and the race to sign them was on. Tokyo, which had become a major force in suburban high schools and the Ontario club circuit, officially became Glass Tiger early the following year when a record deal was finally signed with Capitol Records. The band consisted of Alan Frew on vocals and guitar, Sam Reid on keyboards, Al Connelly on guitar, Wayne Parker on bass and Michael Hanson on drums.
In Detroit in 1960, a group of high school buddies formed a band and called themselves The Sunliners. Two of the founding members who remained with the band when it morphed into Rare Earth were Gil Bridges on flute, saxophone, and vocals; And Peter Hoorelbeke (aka Peter Rivera) on lead vocals and drums. In 1962 John Parrish (aka John Persh) joined The Sunliners on bass guitar, trombone and vocals. In 1966 Rod Richards (born Rod Cox) joined The Sunliners on guitar and vocals; And Kenny James (born Ken Folcik) was added on keyboards. The group’s recording style evolved over time.
In 1967 Ra McGuire and Brian Smith played in a Vancouver band named Winter’s Green. The band recorded two songs, “Are You a Monkey” and “Jump in the River Blues” on the Rumble Records Label. “Are You A Monkey” later appeared on a rock collection: 1983’s “The History of Vancouver Rock and Roll, Vol. 3.” In the early seventies Winter’s Green changed their name to Applejack and added drummer Tommy Stewart and bassist Harry Kalensky to their lineup. Applejack became a very popular band in the Vancouver area, and began touring extensively in British Columbia. The band played a few original tunes such as “Raise A Little Hell”, and “Oh, Pretty Lady”, as well as Top 40 songs by artists such as Neil Young, and Chicago.
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. They had a Top Ten hit nationally in Canada in 1972 with “You Could Have Been A Lady”.
The Troggs formed in 1964 and decades later were dubbed by music critics as the “first British punk band.” Never strangers to controversy, many of their records were considered by radio programmers and social conservatives as too suggestive for the masses, and they consequently banned them. The band’s first big hit was “Wild Thing” which is rated by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 500 songs in the rock ‘n roll era. While they racked up their biggest string of Top Ten singles between 1966 and 1968, the band consisted of co-founders Reg Presley and Ronnie Bond, as well as Pete Staples and Chris Britton.
Ernest Evans was born in 1941 in Spring Gulley, South Carolina. He grew up in South Philadelphia. As a child, his mother took him to a show performed by child piano prodigy Sugar Child Robinson. Also at the performance was the country singer Ernest Tubb. Ernest was so inspired, that he decided to become an entertainer when he grew up. At the age of eleven he formed a street corner doo-wop group. He took up piano and while attending South Philadelphia High School, one of his friends was Fabian Forte. After school he worked at Fresh Farm Poultry on 9th Street at the Produce Market. His boss decided to give a nickname to his portly employee and called him “Chubby.”
6 Cylinder was six-piece band from Vancouver (BC) that formed in 1977. It’s members over the five years the band lasted into 1981 included Wayne Bassett played piano and fiddle, Lorne Burns played drums, Bob Poppowich played bass, Dan Smith played guitar, and Ian Berry played piano and saxophone. Wayne Bassett, Bob Popowich, Lorne Burns and Dan Smith had formerly been members of the Vancouver band Just What The Doctor Ordered. Former Nocturnals garage band member, Carl Erickson, played saxophone, flute and guitar.