Steam by Peter Gabriel

#820: Steam by Peter Gabriel

Peak Month: February 1993
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #5
1 week Preview
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #32
YouTube: “Steam
Lyrics: “Steam

Peter Brian Gabriel was born in 1950 in Surrey, UK. He learned to play piano and drums in his childhood.  In 1965, at the age of 15, Gabriel became part of a trio rock band called Garden Wall. The bandmates were all from the Charterhouse School, a public school in Surrey housed in a Carthusian monastery. In 1967 Garden Wall merged with two members of another band from the same school to form Genesis. The new band sought fellow school alumnus, pop singer Jonathan King, to be their producer. King got Genesis a record deal with Decca Records. But the band’s first album, Genesis to Revelation, was stocked in the ‘Religious’ record section of most stores given the title. Consequently, it sold only in the hundreds of copies.
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Tijuana Taxi by Tijuana Brass

#771: Tijuana Taxi by Tijuana Brass

Peak Month: February 1966
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #38
YouTube.com: “Tijuana Taxi

Herb Alpert was born in 1935 in Los Angeles. His parents were Jewish immigrants, from the Ukraine and Romania. He started to play the trumpet at the age of eight. After he graduated from high school, he joined the United States Army and played trumpet. In 1956 he was one of the drummers at Mt. Sinai in the film The Ten Commandments. In 1957 he became a songwriter for Keen Records. He teamed up with Lou Adler in 1958 and released a single titled “The Trial” credited to Herb B. Lou and the Legal Eagles. The recording was of the “break-in” genre, like Buchanan & Goodman’s “Flying Saucer” from 1956. The single had break-in’s from “Tears On My Pillow” by Little Anthony & The Imperials, “Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin, “To Know Him Is To Love Him” by the Teddy Bears, “Little Star” by The Elegants, “Volare” by Domenico Modugno and others. “The Trial” made the Top Ten in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Gypsy by Abraham's Children

#705: Gypsy by Abraham’s Children

Peak Month: March 1973
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #119
YouTube.com: “Gypsy
“Gypsy” lyrics

Vincenzo Donato Bertucci moved with his Italian immigrant family to Toronto when he was six years old. When he was in high school he formed a band named Just Us. His school mate, Ron Bartley, was a singer and guitarist. Bartley had been raised as a child in Virden, Manitoba. His parents were a duo called the Singing Sweethearts. Bartley’s family moved to the Annex neighborhood in Toronto when he was ten. When he was 13-years-old, Ron Bartley met Jimi Bertucci. They hung around the St. Alban’s Boy Club and talked about music. Soon, Bartley and Bertucci co-founded the London Tones. Bertucci also was asked to join a band called The Death, which opened for James Brown and the Famous Flames at a venue in the Toronto suburb of Mimico, Ontario.

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I Can't Control Myself by The Troggs

#731: I Can’t Control Myself by The Troggs

Peak Month: October 1966
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #43
YouTube.com link: “I Can’t Control Myself
“I Can’t Control Myself” lyrics

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.

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Another One Rides The Bus by Weird Al Yankovic

#846: Another One Rides The Bus by Weird Al Yankovic

Peak Month: June 1981
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG’s chart
Peak Position: #9
1 Play List
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #104
YouTube.com link: “Another One Rides The Bus
“Another One Rides The Bus” lyrics

Alfred Matthew Yankovic was born in 1959 in suburban Los Angeles. His paternal grandparents were Yugoslavian. At the age of five, a door-to-door salesman came to the Yankovic home and offered to teach either guitar or accordion lessons to young Alfred. His parents chose the accordion. Growing up, Alfred was influenced by comedians Stan Freberg, Allan Sherman, Shel Silverstein and Frank Zappa. He was also a fan of Monty Python, Mad magazine and the Dr. Dimento radio show. During high school Al was a part-time accordion teacher. In 1975, he graduated at the age of 16 and gave the class valedictorian.

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Music Man by 54-40

#790: Music Man by 54-40

Peak Month: November 1992
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #10
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Music Man
“Music Man” lyrics

54-40 is a band from Tsawwassen, British Columbia. Bass player Brad Merritt teamed up with guitarist and vocalist Neil Osbourne had met at South Delta High School in Tsawwassen in 1978. In 1981 they decided to form a band and asked drummer, Ian Franey, to join them. Neil Osbourne’s father had a position with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Consequently, the family moved as Osbourne’s dad got new postings variously from Regina, rural Nova Scotia, Ottawa, Edmonton and finally Tsawwassen. Ian Franey’s father was the director of the Vancouver International Film Festival.
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Hey St. Peter by Flash And The Pan

#708: Hey St. Peter by Flash And The Pan

Peak Month: October 1979
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #76
YouTube.com: “Hey St. Peter
“Hey St. Peter” lyrics

Johannes Hendrikus Jacob van den Berg was born in the Netherlands in 1946. When he turned 13 he taught himself to play guitar in his family’s tenement home. He played guitar in a band called The Starfighters, based in The Hague. When he was seventeen his family moved to Australia in 1963. The following year, going by the anglicized name of Harry Vanda, he became the lead guitar player for a Sydney band called The Easybeats. A co-founder of the band was George Young. Also an immigrant to Australia, in his case from Glasgow, Scotland, George Redburn Young was a rhythm guitarist. After one of the coldest winters in Scotland on record in 1962, the Young family saw a Television ad from the Australian government promising travel assistance for families seeking a new start with a life in Australia. In 1964 The Easybeats often held band practices in a local laundromat. Vanda and Young became a songwriting duo and scored an international hit in 1966 titled “Friday On My Mind”. The song climbed to #9 in Vancouver, #1 in The Netherlands and Australia, #2 in New Zealand and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.

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The Snake by Al Wilson

#701: The Snake by Al Wilson

Peak Month: August 1968
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #2
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #27
YouTube.com link: “The Snake
“The Snake” lyrics

Allen LaMar “Al” Wilson was born in 1939 in Meridian, Mississippi. By the age of twelve he was singing in gospel choirs. Meridian, Mississippi, was the same hometown where James Chaney, the Civil Rights worker who’s killing, along with two others, led to the infamous “Mississippi Burning” trial. Young Al Wilson was friends with James Chaney and the Wilson family knew the cost of living in segregated Mississippi. Alene Wilson-Harris, a daughter of Wilson, said of her father’s upbringing: “My father, well, he grew up in a very volatile time for a young black man. And, he was, unfortunately, in a position to have to know what it was to actually leave a place because there were life-threatening circumstances and hardships and all of those type of things in order to try and make a life for yourself somewhere else where those factors didn’t exist.”

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Johnny Willow by Fred Darian

#702: Johnny Willow by Fred Darian

Peak Month: August 1961
8 weeks on CKWX chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #96
YouTube.com: “Johnny Willow
“Johnny Willow” lyrics

Fred Darian was born in Detroit in June 1927. After college he began to sing in nightclubs and on TV starting in 1951. “The corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street was the hub of the music industry, a gathering place where hopeful songwriters, music publishers, producers, musicians, singers, disc jockeys and show business executives gathered and congregated daily. Fred Darian entered onto the scene as an ambitious singer, working the graveyard shift, as a fry cook at Coffee Dan’s restaurant. He made the rounds during the days, by performing songs as demonstrations for songwriters to present to record companies and music publishers. His ability to quickly read and perform the songs, without mistakes, made him even more in demand. This was a time when records were cut directly onto acetate, before the advent of tape. More than one take on a song would prove costly to the songwriter. Fred earned a reputation for his ability to interpret a song accurately, with one take.

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My Love Sings by Joey Gregorash

#703: My Love Sings by Joey Gregorash

Peak Month: February 1972
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “My Love Sings

Joey Gregorash was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His dad played the violin and young Joey took an interest in learning the instrument. In February 1964 Gregorash saw the Beatles perform on the The Ed Sullivan Show and was turned onto rock ‘n roll. He learned how to play the drums and formed a band called The Mongrels in 1965 with childhood friend John Nykon. Later Gregorash went solo and won a 1972 Juno Award in 1972 for Outstanding Performance-Male for his hit single “Down By the River”. For over a decade Gregorash pursued other interests until in 1987 his single, “Together (The New Wedding Song),” became a hit in Canada.

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