“Sleigh Ride”, The Ronettes

Time to jingle your bells with “Red’s Animated Advent Calendar”, starting with a great song from Phil Spector‘s holiday album “A Christmas Gift for You”: a classic version of “Sleigh Ride” from The Ronettes. The Ronettes produced some memorable hits in just two years: “Be My Baby”, “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up”, “Do I…

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Happy birthday, Connie Francis!

Connie Francis had 35 Top 40 hits from 1958 to 1964. She had three No. 1 hits: “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” and “My Heart Has a Mind of its Own” in 1960 and “Don’t Break the Heart that Loves You” in 1962. Connie’s biggest hit, “Who’s Sorry Now”, was an old standard that her dad loved…

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Paul Anka, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

The Show of Stars for 1957 featured the changing appearance of rock’n’roll: the line-up for this October event at Vancouver’s Georgia Auditorium included Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Frankie Avalon, George Hamilton IV, Buddy Knox, The Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran… and Canada’s Paul Anka. Paul’s first hit “Diana” had been…

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Roy Hennessy, CKLG and C-FUN

On this day in 1986, Donovan appeared on the Legends Of Rock’n’Roll show at EXPO 86. The Province‘s Tom Harrison wrote “Donovan mesmerized an audience eager to embark on a magic carpet ride to the mellow yellow of a hippie never-never land.” “Mellow Yellow” was a huge hit here 20 years earlier, and I asked…

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Remembering Roy Hennessy

So, so sad to report the news from Ron Taylor that old friend Roy Hennessy is gone after suffering a stroke last week. Roy lit up the Vancouver airwaves at CKLG and CFOX, also making his mark in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary and Toronto. It was so good to have him take part in our 2019…

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Remembering Ritchie Valens

Last week we celebrated rock’n’roll pioneer Ricky Nelson, and this week I’m remembering another American rock legend gone too soon: Ritchie Valens. Today (5/13) would have been his 81st birthday. 17 year-old Richard Steven Valenzuela came here in November, 1958. In my column in The Vancouver Sun that week I wrote: “This week in the…

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Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” is #1

This week in 1963, Kyu Sakamoto‘s poignant Japanese-language ballad “Sukiyaki” is the #1 song on the C-FUNtastic Fifty for the second week in a row! The improbable success story of this song starts with my dear friend, the late Pat O’Day. Here’s the story Pat told on my final CISL show back in 2017: “I…

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Rick Nelson Part 3

We’ve been celebrating Ricky Nelson on what would have been his 82nd birthday Sunday. Here’s the icing on Rick’s cake: a rare photo from his 1958 PNE Forum appearance. That’s me interviewing Rick for my CKWX show. The tape was blank, but this recently restored image is a great reminder of his visit. Rick became…

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Rick Nelson Part 2

On what would have been Rick Nelson‘s 82nd birthday, we recall his first appearance here in the Spring of 1958 at the PNE Garden Auditorium. He was not well received. The late Jack Wasserman wrote in The Vancouver Sun: “When rock and roller Ricky Nelson finished his concert, a phalanx of bodyguards grabbed his arms…

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Rick Nelson Part 1

Rock’n’roll pioneer Rick Nelson would have celebrated his 82nd birthday today – May 8. This photo of Rick and me was taken in his car when I worked at KGW in Portland, OR in 1959. Notice the tape recorder. It was called a Mohawk, and like the haircut of the same name, it cut out…

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