Brandy by Scott English

#407: Brandy by Scott English

Peak Month: April 1972
10 weeks on CKVN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #91 “Brandy
“Brandy” lyrics

Scott English was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1937. He released his first single when he was 17 years old in 1960 called “4,000 Miles Away”. It didn’t crack the Billboard Hot 100. In the winter of 1963 he had a regional hit that reached the Top Five in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Columbus (OH) and Springfield (MA). It was called “High on a Hill”. In 1966, The Animals recorded English’s song “Help Me Girl”. It became a national Top 30 hit. The following year English wrote “Bend Me, Shape Me”, a #5 hit for the American Breed in the USA. It was covered by the Amen Corner and peaked at #3 in Britain.

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Ashes To Ashes by David Bowie

#408: Ashes To Ashes by David Bowie

Peak Month: January 1981
7 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #101 “Ashes To Ashes
“Ashes To Ashes” lyrics

David Robert Jones was born in 1947 in Brixton, a suburb in the southern part of London, UK. From an early age he demonstrated talent as a singer and especially through dance and movement. When he was nine years old his father brought home some 45’s by Elvis Presley, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Fats Domino and others. When David Jones heard Little Richard sing “Tutti Frutti” he later said in an interview that he “heard God.” Growing up, David learned to play the recorder, ukulele, piano and baritone saxophone. In 1962, at the age of 15 he formed a band named the Konrads. In 1964 he formed a band named David Jones and the King Bees. They appeared on the variety show Ready Steady Go! to sing their debut single, “Liza Jane”. Jones briefly moved on to join the Mannish Boys before being the front man for Davy Jones and The Lower Third. They released a single in 1965 titled “You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving”. Due to the growing popularity of another English recording artist named Davy Jones (who went on to become lead singer for The Monkees), David Robert Jones decided to change his professional name to David Bowie. He chose his surname after a 19th Century American pioneer named James Bowie who invented the Bowie knife.

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I Don't Want To Spoil The Party by The Beatles

#409: I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party by The Beatles

Peak Month: February 1965
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #39 “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party
Lyrics: “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party

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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#410: I Can Take Or Leave Your Lovin’ by Herman’s Hermits

Peak Month: February 1968
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #22 “I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving
Lyrics: “I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving

Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone was born in a suburb of Manchester, England, in 1947. Keith Hopwood was born in 1946, in the same suburb of Davyhulme. Karl Anthony Green was born in 1947, also in Davyhulme. Derek “Lek” Leckenby was born in Leeds in 1943. Jan Barry Whitwam was born in 1946 in Manchester. Both Leckenby and Whitwam were members of a band called the Wailers who played covers by Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and other early rock recording artists. Peter Noone originally was in an amateur band called the Cyclones. He moved on to the Heartbeats in 1961, a Buddy Holly cover band. Just after he turned 14, Noone debuted on Coronation Street, playing the role of Stanley Fairclough starting in December 1961. In the fall of 1962 Herman’s Hermits was formed. Peter Noone was the lead vocalist. Karl Green played bass guitar. Keith Hopwood played rhythm guitar. “Lek” Leckenby played lead guitar and Barry Whitwam played drums.

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Playing For Keeps by Elvis Presley

#411: Playing For Keeps by Elvis Presley

Peak Month: January 1957
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CJOR ~ Red Robinson Teen Canteen chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #34 “Playing For Keeps
Lyrics: “Playing For Keeps

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon Presley, was stillborn. When he was eleven years old his parents bought him a guitar at the Tupelo Hardware Store. As a result Elvis grew up as an only child. He and his parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948. The young Presley graduated from high school in 1953. That year he stopped by the Memphis Recording Service to record two songs, including “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”, song #1117 on this Countdown. Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, Elvis began his singing career recording “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” at Sun Records in Memphis.

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#412: Velvet Waters by the Megatrons

Peak Month: August 1959
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #51 “Velvet Waters

Frank Haywood Henry was born in 1913 in Birmingham, Alabama. He first learned to play the clarinet. But he later learned the baritone saxophone, which became his primary instrument. While in college he became a member of the Bama State Collegians in 1930. That student jazz band became the band for Erskine Hawkins Orchestra in 1934. Heywood Henry was a member of the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra from 1934 into the early 1950s. Hawkins and his orchestra were a house band at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem in the late 1930s. Their sign-off song was “Tuxedo Junction”. Erskine Hawkins Orchestra participated in a battle of the bands with bandleaders Glenn Miller, Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington. Haywood Henry was one of the musicians in the recording studio for “Tuxedo Junction”, “Until The Real Thing Comes Along”, “Five O’Clock Whistle” and “Bicycle Bounce” – all hit records on the pop music charts.
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Tuesday Afternoon by the Moody Blues

#413: Tuesday Afternoon by the Moody Blues

Peak Month: August 1968
9 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
1 week Hit Bound
Peak Position #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #24 “Tuesday Afternoon
Lyrics: “Tuesday Afternoon

Born in 1941 in wartime England, Ray Thomas picked up harmonica at the age of nine. He was in the Birmingham Youth Choir and in October 1958 he joined a skiffle group called The Saints and Sinners. The band split up in June 1959. The Saints and Sinners helped Ray discover how well his vocals were received by audiences. Next, he formed El Riot and the Rebels, featuring Ray Thomas as El Riot dressed in a green satin Mexican toreador outfit. The band won a number of competitions in the Birmingham area. It was here that Ray became known for making an entrance onstage by sliding to center stage on his knees. On one occasion Thomas sent a row of potted tulips flying into the audience. El Riot and the Rebels appeared several times on a local variety show called Lunchbox. They made their debut on Lunchbox on November 14, 1962, and played “Guitar Tango” and “I Remember You”. Mike Pinder joined El Riot and the Rebels on keyboards. On April 15, 1963, El Riot and the Rebels performed at The Riverside Dancing Club in Tenbury Wells as the opening act for The Beatles. Pinder went off to serve in the British Army. When he returned, Thomas and Pinder left El Riot and the Rebels and formed a new band called the Krew Kats.

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Ring Of Fire by Duane Eddy

#414: Ring Of Fire by Duane Eddy

Peak Month: June 1961
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #84 “Ring Of Fire

Duane Eddy was born in Corning, New York, in 1938. When he turned five years old he started to play guitar. His family moved to Arizona and in 1954, at the age of 16, Eddy got a Chet Atkins Gretch guitar. In 1954, at Coolidge High School Duane met Jimmy Delbridge who shared his love of music. Both boys played guitar and sang. In short order they were appearing on local radio in Coolidge, KCKY, as Jimmy and Duane. Jimmy sang best and Duane was a superior guitar player. Duane persuaded Jimmy leave the guitar behind and play piano. During 1955 local Phoenix disc jockey Lee Hazlewood was informally managing the duo. In June ’55 Hazlewood drove Eddy and Jimmy Dell (as he was now known) to Ramsey Recording Studio in Phoenix. In the studio the duo recorded the first of Hazelwood’s songs, “Soda Fountain Girl” and “I Want Some Lovin’ Baby”. These were old hillbilly tunes  backed by Buddy Long & the Western Melody Boys.

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California Girl by Chilliwack

#415: California Girl by Chilliwack

Peak Month: December 1976
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “California Girl
Lyrics: “California Girl

Bill Henderson was born in Vancouver in 1944. He learned guitar and became the guitarist for the Panarama Trio that performed at the Panarama Roof dance club on the 15th Floor of the Hotel Vancouver. He formed the psychedelic pop-rock Vancouver band, The Collectors, in 1966.

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Constantly/True True Lovin' by Cliff Richard

#416: Constantly/True True Lovin’ by Cliff Richard

Peak Month: July 1964
11 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #5
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart “Constantly“/”True True Lovin’
Constantly” lyrics
True True Lovin’” lyrics

Cliff Richard was born Harry Roger Webb on October 14, 1940, in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1940 Lucknow was part of the British Raj, as India was not yet an independent country. Webb’s father worked on as a catering manager for the Indian Railways. His mother raised Harry and his three sisters. In 1948, when India had become independent, the Webb family took a boat to Essex, England, and began a new chapter. At the age of 16 Harry Webb was given a guitar by his father. Harry then formed a vocal group called the Quintones. Webb was interested in skiffle music, a type of jug band music, popularized by “The King of Skiffle,” Scottish singer Lonnie Donegan who had an international hit in 1955 called “Rock Island Line”.

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