Sugar Baby Love by the Rubettes

#575: Sugar Baby Love by the Rubettes

Peak Month: September-October 1974
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #7
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #37
YouTube: “Sugar Baby Love
Lyrics: “Sugar Baby Love

In 1973, Wayne Bickerton, then head of A&R at Polydor Records, wrote four songs in an “American 50’s type” sound with co-writer Tony Waddington. A group of session musicians and singers were gathered in a London studio and recorded a demo of these tracks. Three of the session musicians were then asked to form the beginnings of a band, and with that John Richardson, Alan Williams and Pete Arnesen were the start of The Rubettes. John got some musician friends to round out the group, with Mick Clarke, Bill Hurd and Tony Thorpe making the original group of six.

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Ballad of Thunder Road by Robert Mitchum

#346: Ballad of Thunder Road by Robert Mitchum

Peak Month: August 1958 and January 1962
Peak CFUN position in Vancouver ~ #2 (1958)
Peak CFUN position in Vancouver ~ #4 (1962)
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #62
YouTube: “Ballad Of Thunder Road
Lyrics: “Ballad of Thunder Road

Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was born in Bridgeport (CT) in 1917. His father died in a railyard accident in 1919. At the age of 12, young Robert Mitchum began performing in a Vaudeville show that appeared along the East Coast. At the age of 14 he hopped freight trains and travelled across America. He dug ditches, fought as a boxer, and worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1933 he was arrested for vagrancy and worked on a chain gang. During WWII Mitchum worked as a machine operator for Lockheed Martin. In 1942-43, he appeared in a number of episodes in Hopalong Cassidy. This included the 1943 movie Hoppy Serves a Writ.

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Misunderstanding by Genesis

#49: Misunderstanding by Genesis

Peak Month: July 1980
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #14
YouTube: “Misunderstanding
Lyrics: “Misunderstanding

Genesis formed in Surrey, UK, in 1967. The bands name was suggested by their producer, Jonathan King, of “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” fame on the pop charts in 1965. King had earlier suggested the band go by the name of Gabriel’s Angels. Though the band initially adopted that name, they soon changed their name to From Genesis to Revelation. Soon, they shortened their name to Genesis. It was a band name that led to many possibilities, including a riff off of their name on their first album, Genesis to Revelation. The band consisted of keyboard player Tony Banks, bass and guitar player Mike Rutherford, guitarist Anthony Philips, drummer Chris Stewart, and Peter Gabriel as lead vocalist. Stewart was fired from the band in 1968 and replaced by John Silver. The band’s debut album was From Genesis to Revelation, in 1969. Silver was replaced by John Mayhew on drums. In 1970, Genesis released Trepass, after which both Mathew and Guitarist Anthony Philips left the band. In 1971, Philips was replaced on guitar by Steve Hackett and the band released their third studio album Nursery Cryme. The fourth studio album, Foxtrot, featured new bandmate Phil Collins on drums. The band released Genesis Live in 1973 with Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, and Collins in the lineup. It climbed to #9 on the UK Pop Album chart.

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Let's Have A Party by Wanda Jackson

#121: Let’s Have A Party by Wanda Jackson

Peak Month: August 1960
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #37
YouTube: “Let’s Have A Party
Lyrics: “Let’s Have A Party

Wanda Lavonne Jackson was born in 1937 in Maud, Oklahoma. According to Wolf Kurt in his essay, “You Can’t Catch Me: Rockabilly Bursts Through The Door,” Jackson’s dad was a musician. In search of a better life, he relocated the family to Bakersfield, California, in the 1940’s. While in Bakersfield, her dad purchased Wanda a guitar and taught her to play. Tom Jackson also took his daughter to live concerts by Spade Cooley, Tex Williams and Bob Wills, which opened her eyes and ears to the exciting world of country and western music. It was when she was eleven years old that her family returned to Oklahoma in the fall of 1948. In 1954, while she was still sixteen years old, Wanda Jackson started to sing professionally in Oklahoma City. While in high school, Jackson had been discovered by country music recording artist, Hank Thompson, who heard Wanda singing KLPR-AM in Oklahoma City. Thompson asked Wanda to sing with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys. This led to her recording several  songs with Capitol Records. Among those was a duet with the Brazos Valley Boys bandleader, Billy Gray titled “You Can’t Have My Love”. The song climbed to #8 on the Billboard country chart.

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To Susan On The West Coast Waiting by Donovan

#122: To Susan On The West Coast Waiting by Donovan

Peak Month: February 1969
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #35
YouTube: “To Susan On The West Coast Waiting
Lyrics: “To Susan On The West Coast Waiting

Donovan Phillips Leitch was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1946. As a child he contracted polio and was left with a limp. At the age of 14 he began to play the guitar and when he was 16 years old he set his artistic vision to bring poetry to popular culture. He began busking and learned traditional folk and blues guitar. Music critics began branding him as mimicking Bob Dylan’s folk style. Like Dylan, Donovan wore a leather jacket, the fisherman’s cap, had a harmonica cradle and a song with “Wind” in the title. Dylan wrote “Blowing In The Wind” and Donovan had a hit in 1965 titled “Catch The Wind”.  Donovan was nicknamed by music critics in the UK as the “British Dylan.”

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Bad Boy by Marty Wilde

#123: Bad Boy by Marty Wilde

Peak Month: March 1960
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #45
YouTube: “Bad Boy
Lyrics: “Bad Boy

Reginald Leonard Smith was born in 1939 in Greater London. He was performing under the name Reg Patterson at London’s Condor Club in 1957, when he was spotted by impresario Larry Parnes. Parnes gave his protégés stage names like Billy Fury, Duffy Power and Dickie Pride, hence the change to Wilde. The ‘Marty’ came from the 1955 Academy Award winning Best Picture, Marty. Wilde gave an audition of the Jimmy Rodgers hit “Honeycomb”, and got a record contract on the spot. Both “Honeycomb” and Wilde’s cover of “Oh-Oh I’m Falling In Love Again” got airplay in the UK, but didn’t crack the pop chart.

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Blue Angel by Roy Orbison

#124: Blue Angel by Roy Orbison

Peak Month: September-October 1960
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
CFUN Twin Pick Hit ~ September 3, 1960
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #9
Peak Position on Cashbox Singles Chart ~ #13
YouTube: “Blue Angel
Lyrics: “Blue Angel

Roy Kelton Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas in 1936. When he turned six his dad gave him a guitar. Both his dad, Orbie Lee, and uncle Charlie Orbison, taught him how to play. Though his family moved to Forth Worth for work at a munitions factory, Roy was sent to live with his grandmother due to a polio outbreak in 1944. That year he wrote his first song “A Vow of Love”. The next year he won a contest on Vernon radio station KVWC and was offered his own radio show on Saturdays. After the war his family reunited and moved to Wink, Texas, where Roy formed his first band, in 1949, called The Wink Westerners.

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Jimmy Love by Cathy Carroll

#1248: Jimmy Love by Cathy Carroll

Peak Month: June 1961
5 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
& DISCovery of the week
Peak Position ~ #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Cashbox singles chart ~ #79
YouTube: “Jimmy Love
Lyrics: “Jimmy Love”

Wikipedia says Cathy Carroll was born Carolyn Stern in 1939. However, both Billboard Magazine and Radio Television Daily wrote in 1963 that Carroll was 17 years old at the time. Doing the math, that puts Carolyn Stern’s birth around 1946. Cathy Carroll seemed from the start to be aiming for an award for drama queen among girl singers in the early rock ‘n roll era.  In the previous decade Johnnie Ray would tear at his hair and fall on the floor sobbing before his fans as he sang his 1951 million selling hits “Cry”and “The Little White Cloud That Cried”. From his histrionic performances Ray earned the nicknames the “Nabob of Sob” and “Mr. Emotion.” Cathy Carroll would later record “Cry” as well, perhaps as a nod to her musical soulmate.

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Act Naturally by the Beatles

#125: Act Naturally by the Beatles

Peak Month: September-October 1965
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #47
YouTube: “Act Naturally
Lyrics: “Act Naturally

Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool in 1942. He attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys and met fellow classmates  George Harrison on a school bus. When Paul was 14 his mom died from a blockage in one of her blood vessels. In his early teens McCartney learned to play trumpet, guitar and piano. He was left-handed and restrung the strings to make it work. In 1957, Paul met John Lennon and in October he was invited to join John’s skiffle band, The Quarrymen, which Lennon had founded in 1956. After Paul joined the group his suggested that his friend, George Harrison, join the group. Harrison became one of the Quarrymen in early 1958, though he was still only 14. Other original members of the Quarrymen, Len Garry, Rod Davis, Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths and Pete Shotton left the band when their set changed from skiffle to rock ‘n roll. John Duff Lowe, a friend of Paul’s from the Liverpool Institute, who had joined the Quarrymen in early 1958 left the band at the end of school. This left Lennon, McCartney and Harrison as remaining trio. On July 15, 1958, John Lennon’s mother died in an automobile accident.

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Conquistador by Procol Harum

#126: Conquistador by Procol Harum

Peak Month: July 1972
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG Chart
Peak Position ~ #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #16
YouTube: “Conquistador
Lyrics: “Conquistador

Procol Harum named themselves after a male blue Burmese cat, which had been bred by Eleonore Vogt-Chapman and belonged to her friend Liz Coombes. Band manager Guy Stevens suggested the group name themselves after its name, to which the group immediately accepted. However, the cat’s  pedigree name was in fact Procol Harun, the Procol being the breeder’s prefix. But the name was taken down over the telephone, causing a misspelling with the final letter an “m” instead of the correct “n.”
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