A Shot In The Dark by Henry Mancini

#1420: A Shot In The Dark by Henry Mancini

Peak Month: August 1964
Peak Position #17
19 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #97
YouTube.com: “A Shot In The Dark

Enrico Nicola Mancini was born in Maple Heights, Ohio, in 1924. Both his parents were Italian immigrants to the USA. At age eight Enrico learned to play the piccolo. He later studied at the Juilliard School of Music. When he turned 18 he enlisted in the United States Army he met Glenn Miller at basic training. Owing to a recommendation by Miller, Mancini was first assigned to the 28th Air Force Band before being reassigned overseas to the 1306th Engineers Brigade in France. In 1945, he helped liberate the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria. In 1946, he became a pianist and arranger for the newly re-formed Glenn Miller Orchestra, led by ‘Everyman’ Tex Beneke. (Glenn Miller was declared missing in action after his plane disappeared over the English Channel in December 1944). In 1952, Henry Mancini joined Universal Studios’ Universal-International music department. In 1952 he scored music for The Raiders, and in 1953 for The Glenn Miller Story. ‘

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Are You Lonely For Me by Freddie Scott

#1419: Are You Lonely For Me by Freddie Scott

Peak Month: March 1967
Peak Position #10
19 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #39
YouTube.com: “Are You Lonely For Me
Lyrics: “Are You Lonely For Me

Freddie Scott was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1933. He sand in his grandmother’s gospel group, Sally Jones & the Gospel Keyes. He toured with them across England at the age of 12. After high school, Scott studied medicine, but began singing again with the Swanee Quintet Juniors and gave up his medical career. In 1956, he recorded as a secular singer with the J&S label in New York City, releasing his first solo single “Running Home”. Scott also wrote the top 10 R&B hit “I’ll Be Spinning” for the label’s duo Johnnie & Joe. As well, his song “Baby I’m Sorry” was recorded by Ricky Nelson for his 1957 debut album Ricky. Freddie Scott was conscripted for the U.S. Military. He continued to record for small labels with little success. After leaving the military, he turned to songwriting, joining the Aldon Music publishing company set up by Al Nevins and Don Kirshner in the Brill Building. It was there that Freddie Scott recorded many of his own demos and worked as a record producer with Erma Franklin, whose song “Piece Of My Heart” was later covered by Big Brother & the Holding Company. Scott also continued to release his own records, including “Baby, You’re a Long Time Dead” for New York based Joy Records in 1961. The B-side “Lost The Right”, charted in California, Texas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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The Magic Touch by the Bobby Fuller Four

#1418: The Magic Touch by the Bobby Fuller Four

Peak Month: July 1966
Peak Position #19
19 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “The Magic Touch
Lyrics: “The Magic Touch

Robert Gaston Fuller was born in 1942 in Baytown, Texas, a suburb of Houston. In his early childhood his family moved to Salt Lake City, and in 1956 to El Paso. While Fuller was a 13-year-old Elvis Presley was shaking the foundations of the pop music world. Bobby Fuller was memorized by what was unfolding. In 1958, he formed a four-man combo in the style of fellow Texan Buddy Holly. Other members were Bobby’s brother Randy (Randell) Fuller on bass and rhythm guitar, Jim Reese on guitar, Dalton Powell on piano, and Dewayne Quirico on drums. Randy Fuller was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1944. Jim Reese was born in Amarillo, Texas, on December 7, 1941. DeWayne Quirco was born in 1942 in El Paso, and Dalton Powell was born in El Paso in 1942. Powell and Quirco were drummers at different points in the life of the band. In 1961 the Bobby Fuller Four released their first single titled “You’re In Love”. In 1962, “Gently My Love” cracked the Top 30 on KELP-AM in El Paso. From November 1963 to March 1964, the Bobby Fuller Four single “Saturday Night” was a Top 30 hit in Sydney, Australia. In the spring of 1965, the Bobby Fuller Four had a Top Ten hit in Las Vegas with “She’s My Girl”. Another release, “Let Her Dance”, stalled at #133 bubbling beneath the Billboard Hot 100.
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Turn Around by Dick and Dee Dee

#1417: Turn Around by Dick and Dee Dee

Peak Month: November 1963
Peak Position #7
19 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #27
YouTube.com: “Turn Around
Lyrics: “Turn Around

Mary Sperling was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, around 1942. At the age of 16 she began songwriting.  She teamed up with Dick St. John who she met at junior high. The pair lost track of each other until DeeDee’s first year at college when they both started working at See’s Candies in Los Angeles. On their lunch breaks they discovered a mutual love of song writing and ended up collaborating on a song called, “I Want Someone.” The flip side, “The Mountain’s High”, became their first gold record, storming up the charts in summer of 1961. The song spent two weeks at the #2 position on the Billboard Hot 100. “The Mountain’s High” reached #1 in Vancouver and #37 on the UK Singles Chart. Dick and DeeDee played in the Los Angeles area for six months, backed by the new, upcoming surf band, The Beach Boys.

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Simple Song Of Freedom by Tim Hardin

#716: Simple Song Of Freedom by Tim Hardin

Peak Month: August-September 1969
7 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position ~ #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #50
YouTube.com: “Simple Song Of Freedom
Lyrics: “Simple Song Of Freedom

Tim Hardin was born in Eugene, Oregon, in 1941. Before he was born, Hardin’s mother had previously been employed as a classical pianist. And his father had earned a living as a bass player. But it was his strict grandmother who spent much of the time raising him. Hardin considered his childhood an unhappy one. After he dropped out of high school in 1960, he  joined the United States Marines. Like numbers of other soldiers, Tim Hardin developed a heroin addiction. Once he was discharged in 1961, Hardin got involved in the folk music scenes in Greenwich Village and in Boston in the early ‘60’s. He enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Art in Greenwich Village. However, he was expelled due to skipping too many classes. In 1964, Hardin got to audition with Columbia Records. However, he was still using heroin and his audition was a fiasco and he got no contract with the label. Fortunately, Tim Hardin found his way to Verve-Forecast Records by the end of 1965. He released his first single in February 1966 titled “How Can We Hang On To A Dream?” The single was his first from his Hardin debut album titled Tim Hardin 1. It was a hit in England and the Netherlands. One of the other tracks on the album was “Reason To Believe”, was a hit for Rod Stewart in the early 1970’s.

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Down At Lulu's by The Ohio Express

#719: Down At Lulu’s by The Ohio Express

Peak Month: August 1968
7 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #33
YouTube.com: “Down At Lulu’s
Lyrics: “Down At Lulu’s”

The Ohio Express was a brand name for a group of studio musicians in New York City with lead vocals on the single releases from 1968 to 1969 by Joey Levine. At the same time the musicians who toured as the Ohio Express appearing live in concert were a different group altogether. In 1967, Super K Productions arranged a contract with a rock group from Mansfield, Ohio, called Sir Timothy and the Royals. With no group available to promote the debut singles by The Ohio Express (as they were anonymous studio musicians in New York City) Sir Timothy and the Royals became the touring band for Ohio Express concerts. The live and in concert version of The Ohio Express was made up of rhythm guitarist Doug Grassel, vocalist and lead guitar player Dale Powers, bass player Dean Kastran, keyboard player Jim Pfahler and drummer Tim Corwin. The Ohio Express’ debut single, “Beg, Borrow And Steal,” was actually a re-mix of the Rare Breed recording from 1966. Rare Breed were also a group of anonymous studio musicians in New York City and the Rare Breed name for the studio musicians became obsolete by 1967.
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Blue Collar by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

#720: Blue Collar by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Peak Month: December 1973-January 1974
11 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #12
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #68
YouTube.com: “Blue Collar
Lyrics: “Blue Collar”

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”. The Guess Who dropped the question mark in their title a few years later.

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High School Confidential by Rough Trade

#721: High School Confidential by Rough Trade

Peak Month: April 1981
10 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “High School Confidential
Lyrics: “High School Confidential

Kevan Staples was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1950. His parents were musicians and artists. Carole Pope was born in Manchester, UK, also in 1950. Her father was a stilt walker and her mother a music hall performer. The Popes moved from Manchester to Montreal in 1955. They later moved to Toronto. Growing up, Carole studied sculpture. Kevan Staples and Carole Pope met at an audition in 1968 for Deva Loca Sideshow, a band that never ended up forming. In 1969, Staples and Pope began performing as a folk duo named O. They appeared in clubs in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood. In the 1960’s, Yorkville showcased the hippie movement for the rest of Canada, at least on the TV news. Yorkville was hyped as a magnet for intellectuals, artists and musicians. Writers, Margaret Atwood and Gwendolyn MacEwan, and singer-songwriters Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young were all part of the scene. Staples and Pope subsequently formed the Bullwhip Brothers in 1971. Finally, they changed their name to Rough Trade in 1974. O, Bullwhip Brothers and Rough Trade each drew on sexual satire, the latter from gay male iconography. In 1976, Carole Pope appeared in a concert titled Torch Showcase at a venue named A Space, in Toronto. She performed “The One Who Really Loves You” by Mary Wells and “You’re My World” by Cilla Black.

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Skip A Rope by Henson Cargill

#722: Skip A Rope by Henson Cargill

Peak Month: March 1968
7 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “Skip A Rope
Lyrics: “Skip A Rope”

Henson Cargill was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His grandfather was a liberal mayor elected several times in the 1920’s who was opposed to the Ku Klux Klan. Henson Cargill studied veterinary medicine at a state university in Fort Collins, Colorado. Returning to Oklahoma City, he eventually became a deputy sheriff. At that time he was invited to play with a group called The Kimberleys. In 1962 he became the host of a TV show called Country Hayride. This led to an opportunity to record some songs in Nashville in 1967. One of these songs had been passed over by other recording artists. The name of the song was “Skip A Rope”.

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The Way You Fell by The Chessmen

#723: The Way You Fell by The Chessmen

Peak Month: May 1965
9 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “The Way You Fell

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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