Johnny Cash, “Ballad of a Teenage Queen”

The first big single record for 1958 is here. It’s Johnny Cash‘s “Ballad of a Teenage Queen.” This song has broken loose on the music scene so fast that it’s almost unbelievable. In one day it was No. 1 in Memphis, in one week it was No. 1 in Detroit and in two days it…

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RIP Don Wilson, The Ventures

Sad news: rhythm guitarist Don Wilson of The Ventures passed away this morning at 88. Don co-founded the group in Seattle in 1958 with his friend, the late Bob Bogle. They were two construction guys who bought $15 guitars at a pawnshop, taught themselves to play and evolved into a four-man band. My friend Pat…

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Happy Birthday, Wolfman Jack!

“It’s a great big beautiful world out there!” Remembering the late Wolfman Jack on his birthday with this classic scene from “American Graffiti”. For deejays everywhere…

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National DJ Day, 2022

Today is #NationalDJDay, the day we celebrate the men and women who entertain us every day. I couldn’t say it better than the late Bill Gavin, who published the Gavin Report, a guide for radio stations and record companies. This comment from Bill years ago stuck with me: “The pin-pointing of an idea into a…

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Clyde McPhatter, “A Lover’s Question”

Here’s our final “pick” from this week in 1959, Clyde McPhatter‘s “A Lover’s Question”. Co-writer Brook Benton sang the demo version and presented it to Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records. That’s Brook Benton doing the finger snaps. When the first of two “Show of Stars” presentations came to Vancouver in 1956, the…

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Manhattan Spiritual, Reg Owen

We’re reliving this week in 1959, along with some strong opinions (and occasional praise) from The Vancouver Sun‘s Mamie Moloney. It turns out rock’n’roll radio was much more than twanging guitars and pounding drums. The Big Band sound — with a beat — endured during the early rock years, and this record was a big…

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Lonesome Town, Ricky Nelson

This week in 1959, The Vancouver Sun columnist Mamie Moloney drew attention to what she called “a welcome new trend”: more slower songs were being played on CKWX! Here’s one of my favorites from that week, Ricky Nelson‘s haunting ballad “Lonesome Town”. Ricky became a singing sensation by closing his parents’ TV show “Ozzie And…

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“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” Is 60!

Sixty years ago on this day, The Tokens‘ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” hits #1 on the CKWX Fabulous Forty. The song was a big part of the folk music revival sparked by The Kingston Trio. They covered the song two years earlier. Folk was a favourite among college students. It lacked the power of Rock,…

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Trouble In Mission City!

Rock and roll dance promoter Red Robinson is unlikely to revisit Mission City — with or without police dogs. Town council last night, after discussing the near-riot which followed a Robinson-sponsored dance Saturday night in the Legion auditorium, vowed to prohibit rock and roll dances here — by means of a by-law if necessary. The…

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Elvis, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

This week in 1960, Elvis Presley celebrates his second week at #1 on the CKWX Fabulous 40 and the C-FUNtastic 50 with “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” The song would stay in the top spot at both stations for almost a month! It was Elvis’ 15th #1 hit. I was serving in the U.S. Army in…

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