Stairway To Heaven by Neil Sedaka

#94: Stairway To Heaven by Neil Sedaka

Peak Month: March 1960
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #9 “Stairway To Heaven
Lyrics: “Stairway To Heaven

In 1939 Neil Sedaka was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Brighton Beach beside Coney Island. His paternal grandparents immigrated to America from Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, in 1910. His fathers side of the family there were Sephardi Jews and his mother’s side Ashkenazi Jews from Russian and Polish background. When Neil was eight years old he listened to a show on the radio called The Make-Believe Ballroom that opened his world to appreciation for music. Within a year Neil had began learning classical piano at the Julliard School of Music. His progress was impressive and Arthur Rubinstein voted Neil as one of the best New York High School pianists after he turned 16 years old.

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Little Bitty Girl by Bobby Rydell

#95: Little Bitty Girl by Bobby Rydell

Peak Month: January 1960
13 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #19 “Little Bitty Girl
Lyrics: “Little Bitty Girl

Robert Louis Ridarelli was born in 1942 in Philadelphia. He displayed a musical aptitude as a young child. At the age of eight, his reputation led to an appearance on a talent show on the national television series, TV Teen Club. He won the contest, and the show’s presenter, Paul “The King of Jazz” Whiteman, recruited him into the cast, where he remained for several years. It was here that his name was Anglicised to Bobby Rydell. When he was 15 in 1957, he played drums for Rocco and the Saints, across from trumpet player Frankie Avalon. In 1958 he released “Dream Age” on the small Veko Record label. Two followup releases on Cameo, “Please Don’t Be Mad” and “All I Want Is You” also failed to make a breakthrough. But his third release on Cameo Records, “Kissin’ Time”, got him national exposure. The single climbed to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #14 in Vancouver’s Sensational Sixty on CKWX in September 1959. A followup, “We Got Love” broke into the Top Ten to peak at #6 on CFUN in Vancouver in late October ’59, matching its peak on the Billboard Hot 100. In all, Bobby Rydell had a hit record on the Vancouver pop charts in 1959 for a total of 21 weeks.

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Those Brown Eyes by the Tarriers

#97: Those Brown Eyes by the Tarriers

Peak Month: June 1957
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Those Brown Eyes
Lyrics: “Those Brown Eyes

The Tarriers formed from a collection of folk singers who performed regularly at Washington Square, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 4th Street in New York City during the mid-1950s. Since around the end of World War II, folksingers had been congregating on warm Sunday afternoons at the fountain in the center of the park. Tension and conflicts began to develop between the bohemian element and the remaining working-class residents of the neighborhood. The city government began showing an increasing hostility to the use of public facilities by the public. In 1947, the City of New York began requiring permits before public performances could be given in any city park. The Tarriers were Erik Darling, Bob Carey, Karl Karlton and Alan Arkin. Darling told Wayne Jancik in The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders. According to Darling, “Karl didn’t really mesh” and left the group before the remaining trio secured a contract with Glory Records in 1956, where the Tarriers scored two hits. The folk group got their name from the 1888 work song “Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill”. The title refers to Irish workers, drilling holes in rock to blast out railroad tunnels. A tarrier is someone who is known to tarry, to dawdle, to delay, to lag behind in their work. As such, choosing the name The Tarriers was a poke at the Protestant work ethic. Decades later a folk song chorus by Charlie King declared “Our life is more than our work, and our work is more than our job.”

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Breakdown Dead Ahead by Boz Scaggs

#99: Breakdown Dead Ahead by Boz Scaggs

Peak Month: May 1980
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #15
YouTube: “Breakdown Dead Ahead
Lyrics: “Breakdown Dead Ahead

William Royce Boz Scaggs was born in 1944 in Canton, Ohio, 60 miles south of Cleveland. His father was a traveling salesman, and the family moved to Oklahoma and next to Texas. While attending a private school in Dallas, Scaggs met Steve Miller while he was 12-years-old. Scaggs was learning to play guitar and was invited to join Miller’s band the Marksmen. In 1961-62 Boz Scaggs joined Steve Miller’s band the Ardells while the pair were studying university in Madison, Wisconsin. Scaggs followed Miller to Chicago in ’62-’63. Then he went to London and Sweden to perform as a solo artist in concert. While in Sweden, Boz Scaggs released his debut album, Boz, in 1965. The album only sold in Sweden and soon went out of print.

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Whip It by Devo

#101: Whip It by Devo

Peak Month: January 1981
15 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #14 “Whip It
Lyrics: “Whip It

Mark Allen Mothersbaugh was born in 1950 in Akron, Ohio. He attended Kent State University in Ohio and met fellow students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis. Mothersbaugh played in a rock band called Flossy Bobbitt. Gerald Vincent Pizzute was born in 1948 in a suburb of Akron. Gerald’s father had changed his name to his foster parents whose surname was Pizutte. But when Gerald was four-years-old, his dad changed his name back to his birth name Robert Casale, and Gerald Pizutte became Gerald Casale. Gerald grew up in Kent, Ohio, and attended the university.

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Let's Go by the Cars

#101: Let’s Go by the Cars

Peak Month: September 1979
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #14 “Let’s Go
Lyrics: “Let’s Go

According to music critic, Jason Ankeny, The Grasshoppers were a rock ‘n roll band from Cleveland who formed in 1962. There were several lineup changes and Benjamin Orzechowski joined the band in 1964 and became the lead singer. Ben Orr, who was born in 1947, went on to be a lead singer in the New Wave band, The Cars. Jeff Niesel, of Rolling Stone Magazine writes that members of the Grasshoppers Fan Club included Diane Akins, the president of the club. She remembers meeting Ben Orr when the Grasshoppers were an opening act when the Beach Boys performed in Cleveland in November, 1964.

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Have You Ever Seen The Rain/Hey Tonight by Creedence Clearwater Revival

#104: Have You Ever Seen The Rain/Hey Tonight by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Peak Month: February-March 1971
10 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #8 “Have You Ever Seen The Rain
Lyrics: “Have You Ever Seen The Rain

John Fogerty was born in 1945 in Berkeley, California. He was raised in nearby El Cerrito. He learned to play guitar in his youth. In 1959 John Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford formed a trio named the Blue Velvets. Based in El Cerrito, California, just north of Berkeley, they were joined in 1960 by John’s brother, Tom, who had been in a band called The Playboys. The Blue Velvets were influenced by Little Richard and other rock ‘n roll greats. They played a number of hits on the radio and their cover of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want To Dance,” was an audience favorite. In 1964 the Blue Velvets changed their name to the Golliwogs. They had a Top Ten hit called “Brown Eyed Girl” in San Jose (#7), Fresno (#3) and Miami (#8) in the winter of 1965-66. It was a blues infused tune, but not the same-titled song that Van Morrison would take up the charts the following year.

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Rock Lobster by the B-52's

#105: Rock Lobster by the B-52’s

Peak Month: April-May 1980
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
1 week Playlist
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #56 “Rock Lobster
Lyrics: “Rock Lobster

Frederick William Schneider III was born in 1951 in Newark, New Jersey. He went to college in Atlanta and wrote a book of poetry for one class project. After college, he was a janitor as well as a Meals on Wheels driver. At the time the B-52’s formed, Schneider III had very little musical experience. The B-52’s got their start when the fledgling bandmates played an impromptu number after drinking at a Chinese restaurant in Athens, Georgia. The band played their first real gig in 1977 at a Valentine’s Day party for their friends. Ricky Helton Wilson was born in 1953, and learned to play guitar in the winter of 1972-73. In the summer of 1969, Ricky Wilson met Wilson met Keith Strickland at a marijuana shop. In the following months, Wilson quietly came out as gay to Strickland while the two were in their teens. During mid-1969, both Wilson and Strickland collaborated in writing and performing music, loosely calling themselves Loon, and aspired to perform live. From 1969 to 1971, Wilson and Strickland collaborated with two high school friends in the four-member band Black Narcissus.

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Shaggy Dog by Mickey Lee Lane

#106: Shaggy Dog by Mickey Lee Lane

Peak Month: December 1964
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #38 “Shaggy Dog
Lyrics: “Shaggy Dog

Sholom Mayer Schreiber was born in Rochester in 1941. He got a job in the Brill Building, located at 1619 Broadway on 49th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. As a songwriter in the late 1950s, Schreiber worked with Neil Sedaka as a touring pianist, and in the fading career of Bill Haley as a songwriter. In 1958, Schreiber recorded a song titled “Toasted Love” credited to Mickey and Shonnie Lane the Bright and Early Kids. “Singing together, Mickey and Shonnie sounded like the Everly Brothers, they danced great together and they had a great look,” said Bernie, who added that a 1959 movie deal with Warner Bros. put together by their manager Kay Twomey fell through when the siblings declined to move to California. Shonnie died in 1987. In 1959, billing himself as Mickey Lane, his song “It’s Love” was recorded by the Adrissi Brothers. According to, Mickey Lee Lane also “floated around as a member of the Bell Notes” of “I’ve Had It” Top Ten hit fame in 1959. In 1960 he released a tune titled “Dum Dee Dee Dum” credited to Mickey Lane. It charted in Syracuse (NY) and Los Angeles. In 1962, his song “Baby (I Wanna Be Loved)” was recorded by Solomon Burke.

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Ebony Eyes by the Everly Brothers

#108: Ebony Eyes by the Everly Brothers

Peak Month: February 1961
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #8 “Ebony Eyes
Lyrics: “Ebony Eyes

Isaac Donald “Don” Everly was born in 1937 and Phillip Jason “Phil” Everly was born in 1939. Don was born in Muhlenberg County in Kentucky, and Phil was born in Chicago. Their dad, Ike, had been a coal miner who decided to pursue music as a guitar player. From the mid-40s Ike and his wife, Margaret, sang as a duo in Shanendoah, Iowa. Later they included their sons “Little Donnie and Baby Boy Phil,” on local radio stations KMA and KFNF. In time they were billed as The Everly Family. In 1953, the family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. Family friend and musician Chet Atkins got a record deal for the Everly Brothers with RCA Victor in 1956. However, their first single release was a commercial failure and they were dropped from the label. Next, Atkins got them connected with Archie Bleyer, and the boys were signed to Cadence Records. In 1957, their first single on the label, “Bye Bye Love“, became a million-seller and launched their career.

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