Deejays, B.J and All The Hits!

Carole and I were going through family photo albums and I stumbled across this photo from my stag party in 1963. Even though the party was many years ago I am not about to embarrass myself  with details.  However, I came across photos of me with a couple of my mentors Vic Waters and Jack Cullen. The photo showing the three of us is rare, as we all worked at different stations at the time. I was honoured to have them show up.

Vic and Jack were the two most prominent deejays in the Forties and Fifties.  Vic was program director of CJOR and gave me my first full time radio show in 1954. Jack owned night time radio before television came along. As a kid I listened to his CKNW show Owl Prowl every opportunity I could. Looking back at these photos made me realize that there are only a handful of real radio deejays left.

We all had one thing in common, we were communicators.

Vic Waters tested me when I was a kid wanting to break into the business. He sat me down in CJOR’s studio and said, “You will find a piece of paper there. When I give you the signal, turn it over and talk about the subject for as long as you can.” I did and the word was “dog”. I talked about dogs for a full five minutes and this impressed Vic. It is one hell of a test.  The whole point of the exercise was to challenge you and see if you could in fact communicate. I miss these guys and I miss the wonderful years of disc jockeys. Thanks for listening.

My friend Linda has been photographing recording artists for some time. The other day she sent me some photos with B.J. Thomas. This shot with B.J. and lead guitar player Robbie Keene was taken at Vancouver’s Nat Bailey Stadium at a concert with The Everly Brothers and Buddy Knox. This was the first time a rock and roll concert was ever held at the stadium. We had to go the various stakeholders before the Vancouver Parks Board would give us its approval.

They were all great but the man who stole the show was B.J. When he sang I Just Can’t Help Believing and Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head the crowd went wild. His voice is extraordinary. It was August 1993.

It was announced recently that the Hyundai Sun Bowl has hired B.J. Thomas as the main performer at the event this year. B.J. will sing the U.S. national anthem prior to kick-off and sing three of his multi-million selling songs at half time.

Brian Tarling has just published Vancouver’s Charted Songs 1956 to 1978. This is a 654 page softcover book, much in the style of Joel Whitburn‘s Billboard series of books. It lists all of the charted songs played on Vancouver radio stations who were involved with the Top 40 format during that period. My understanding is that Brian has spent the past six years doing painstaking research in preparing the book.

This is something everyone who listened to Top 40 radio or shopped for records at a record store or still love vinyl. Remember record stores? Remember records? We have waited for years for just such a research journal for all those wonderful years listening to music.

I heartily recommend this book and a big tip of the hat to Brian for his efforts in making this happen.

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