Thing Of Beauty by Hothouse Flowers

#646: Thing Of Beauty by Hothouse Flowers

Peak Month: July 1993
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Thing Of Beauty
Lyrics: “Thing Of Beauty

Liam Ó Maonlaí was born in 1964 in County Dublin, Ireland. He grew up in suburban Dublin and in his teens he won an award for playing the bodhrán, an Irish drum. In 1979 he formed a punk rock band called The Complex, which he left in 1981. Fiachna Ó Braonáin was born in Dublin in 1965. Other original bandmates included drummer Jerry Fehily (born in Cork, Ireland, in 1966), saxophonist Leo Barnes (born in 1956), and bass guitarist Peter O’Toole (born in 1965 in Dublin). Fehily only began learning the drum at the age of 17. O’Toole left school when he was sixteen and got jobs delivering bread, making fiddles and working as a lumberjack. “We’d been in the same band before,” O’Toole says of O’Maonlai, “but we’d never actually met. It was that sort of band — there were loads of people.” O’Maonlai, Ó Braonáin, Fehily, Barnes and O’Toole made up the core of Hothouse Flowers when they formed in 1985.

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Can't Truss It by Public Enemy

#615: Can’t Truss It by Public Enemy

Peak Month: January 1992
Peak Position #8
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #50
YouTube.com: “Can’t Truss It
Lyrics: “Can’t Truss It

Carlton Douglas Ridenhour was born in 1960 in the New York City borough of Queens. After the 1977 New York City blackout, he started to put pen to paper. From 1981-84 he attended Adelphi University on Long Island and studied graphic design. While he was there, Ridenhour co-hosted hip hop radio show called the Super Spectrum Mix Hour. On the show he went by the name of Chuck D, which was run on Saturday nights at Long Island rock radio station WLIR. William Jonathan Drayton Jr.was born in 1959 in the small town of Roosevelt, Nassau County, on Long Island. Drayton Jr. taught himself to play the piano from the age of five. In addition he sang in a youth choir at his church. As well, he learned to play drums and guitar during his childhood. In his late teens Drayton Jr. served time in prison once for robbery, and another time for burglary.

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Still In The Game by Steve Winwood

#657: Still In The Game by Steve Winwood

Peak Month: September-October 1982
Peak Position #8
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #47
YouTube.com: “Still In The Game
Lyrics: “Still In The Game

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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What's Your Hurry Darlin' by Ironhorse

#654: What’s Your Hurry Darlin’ by Ironhorse

Peak Month: June 1980
Peak Position #9
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #89
YouTube.com: “What’s Your Hurry Darlin’
Lyrics: “What’s Your Hurry Darlin’

Randolph Charles Bachman was born in 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. When he was just three years old he entered the King of the Saddle singing contest on CKY radio, Manitoba’s first radio station that began in 1923. Bachman won the contest. When he turned five years he began to study the violin through the Royal Toronto Conservatory. Though he couldn’t read music, he was able to play anything once he heard it. He dropped out of high school and subsequently a business administration program in college. He co-founded a Winnipeg band called The Silvertones with Chad Allan in 1960. In 1962 the band became Chad Allan and the Expressions, and was renamed The Guess Who in 1965 with their first big hit, “Shakin’ All Over“.

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Piano Man by Billy Joel

#687: Piano Man by Billy Joel

Peak Month: May 1974
Peak Position #5
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “Piano Man
Lyrics: “Piano Man

William Martin Joel was born in 1949 in The Bronx. His father, Helmut “Howard” Joel, was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and sold his textile business at a fraction of its value to be able to move to Switzerland. From there his father traveled to Cuba and was able to enter the United States from the Caribbean. Billy Joel’s mother, Rosalind Nyman, was born in Brooklyn, also to Jewish parents. Young William was coerced by his mother to take piano lessons at the age of four. He kept taking piano lessons until he was sixteen. His parents divorced when he was eight, and in his later years in high school Billy Joel played at a piano bar to make some extra income to support his single mother, his sister and himself. Though his parents were Jewish, Billy Joel did not identify as Jewish and began to attend a Roman Catholic parish at age eleven. In 1964, at the age of 15, Joel was the pianist on the recording of “Remember (Walking In The Sand)” for the Shangri-Las. Later, he played piano on the demo for “Leader Of The Pack”, which the Shangri-Las later recorded and became a number-one hit in November 1964. He took up boxing and was in the Golden Gloves, winning 22 fights, but quit after he got his nose broken.

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Tempted by Squeeze

#649: Tempted by Squeeze

Peak Month: August 1981
11 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #49
YouTube.com: “Tempted
Lyrics: “Tempted

Squeeze was a new wave-synth pop band from the UK. Christopher Henry Difford was born in South East London in 1954. Glenn Martin Tilbrook was born in London in 1957. Julian Miles “Jools” Holland was born in South East London in 1958. The trio formed Squeeze in 1974 in London. After a year Squeeze settled on Gilson Lavis as the bands drummer. David Leslie Gilson Lavis was born in 1951 and Bedford, England. Before he joined Squeeze in 1975 he toured with Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Skeeter Davis and Dolly Parton. In 1978 Squeeze released their debut self-titled album which included their UK Top 20 hit “Take Me I’m Yours”.

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Dis-Moi, Dis-Moi by Mitsou

#661: Dis-Moi, Dis-Moi by Mitsou

Peak Month: July 1991
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Dis-Moi, Dis-Moi
Lyrics: “Dis-Moi, “Dis-Moi

In 1970 Mitsou Annie Marie Gélinas was born in Loretteville, Quebec. (The city amalgamated into Quebec City in 2002). She became a child star on French-Canadian television. Canadianbands.com states that she first began acting at age five. She began appearing in the soap opera Terre humaine, which first aired in 1978. The soap opera concerned the lives of the Jacquemins, a large farming family in rural Quebec. In addition to acting, Mitsou also started to explore singing as a vocation in the early 80s. In 1988 she signed a record deal with Isba Records. Her debut single, “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy” was an unusual French-language crossover into the English Top 40 radio market across Canada. The song spent five weeks on the CKLG Top 40 in the summer of 1989, after peaking at #2 in Montreal in 1988.

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We Run by Strange Advance

#656: We Run by Strange Advance

Peak Month: April 1985
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFMI chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “We Run
Lyrics: “We Run

From 1974 to 1977 Drew Arnott and Darryl Kromm played in a Vancouver band called Stan. The band split up and the pair parted ways. But they reunited in the late ’70’s and in 1979 were playing gigs around Vancouver in a band named Remote Control. The bass player for Remote Control was Paul Iverson. The three met up in 1980 and formed a band named Metropolis. But they changed their name to Strange Advance when they learned another band in Germany had the name Metropolis. Strange Advance was formally launched in Vancouver in 1982. Arnott played keyboards, percussion and usually backing vocals. Kromm played guitar and was the lead vocalist. While touring with Bryan Adams, Kromm gave him a demo tape of the tunes he and Arnott were working on. Adams liked what he heard and passed it on to producer Bruce Fairbairn. Along with Iverson, Arnott and Kromm went to the recording studio and made an album titled Worlds Away. It was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, a producer of Loverboy, Bryan Adams and Prism albums. The sound of Strange Advance was a fusion of progressive rock and new wave. Their debut single from the album, “She Controls Me”, became a regional hit, but not in Vancouver. The single climbed to #3 in Ottawa and the Top 20 in Montreal, Regina and Halifax. The album won Strange Advance a Juno nomination for “Most Promising Group of The Year” in 1983.

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No Mistakes by Patty Smyth

#697: No Mistakes by Patty Smyth

Peak Month: February 1993
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #33
YouTube: “No Mistakes
Lyrics: “No Mistakes

Patricia Smyth was born in 1957 in New York City. In 1981 she became the lead vocalist for the rock band Scandal. In 1982 the band had a minor hit on the Billboard Hot 100 titled “Goodbye To You”. In 1984 Scandal had a Top Ten hit with “The Warrior”. Unfortunately, tensions within the band led to its break-up by 1985. Subsequently, she gave birth to her first child. Meanwhile, Smyth contributed vocals on four tracks from Don Henley’s 1984 album Building The Perfect Beast. In 1987 she released her first solo album Never Enough. The title track climbed to #4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock music chart and #61 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1989 Don Henley invited Patty Smyth back to the recording studio and she contributed vocals to one of the tracks on The End of the Innocence. 
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Rock And Roll Song by Valdy

#677: Rock And Roll Song by Valdy

Peak Month: September 1972
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Rock And Roll Song
“Rock And Roll Song” lyrics

Paul Valdemar Horsdal was born in Ottawa in 1945. Valdy was a member of the London Town Criers during the 1960s and subsequently joined Montreal band The Prodigal Sons. Prior to beginning his solo career, he was based in Victoria. There he  worked with various artists, including Canadian country music singer Blake Emmons. Emmons was the host of CTV show Funny Farm (Canada’s answer to the CBS TV show Hee Haw).

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