Every RPM Canadian Content #1 single discussion thread 1964-2000

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bunglejerry, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    The MAPL rules actually say any Canadian citizen or PR living anywhere in the world or non-citizen six months resident in Canada. I don't know if the "or PR" part was there in 1971, but if it was, that might account for someone like Gale Garnett.

    One thing that confuses me is "Barracuda" by Heart, which RPM lists as MAL. Heart's first and third albums definitely qualify, as they were resident in Canada at the time. When they signed with Portrait, though, they moved back to the States, so why does "Barracuda" get the CanCon stamp? No other Heart single does (excepting the Dreamboat Annie and Magazine singles - and excepting "What About Love?", which is a cover of a Toronto song). Perhaps it's just an accident.
     
  2. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    So the RPM CanCon charts did not reflect anything but the Canadian record industry. The radio stations still played the stuff like Lorne and Anka in any case, right?
     
  3. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Maybe it was because of Tom Jones (foreshadowing)?
     
  4. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    19. MOVE TO CALIFORNIA
    by the STACCATOS
    #1 for 1 week: November 1, 1965




    [​IMG]
    It doesn't seem that the Ottawa-based Staccatos ever did move to California, but they did spend a good long time down there, even after this Beach Boys pastiche started to seem horribly dated (and surfing opportunities on the Ottawa River are meagre at best). Nonetheless, the Staccatos would evolve from this, their third single, onward. This is the first of five times we'll hear from them under this name before they decided to update their name to "Five Man Electrical Band", the name under which they would become one-hit-wonders in the USA and multi-hit wonders up here. But that's far into the future. I have to wonder if their second single, "Small Town Girl", was a response to Shirley Matthews' "Big Town Boy".

    I'll point out, again, the strange anomaly that is Johnny and the Canadians, a group from London, Ontario. This week, both charts are listing the same side of the single - "A Million Tears Ago" - but the RPM Top 40 is actually listing it higher than the Cross Canada Chart Action chart - 9th and 11th respectively. The Staccatos' surfing hommage, meanwhile, is at 36 on the Top 40. Go figure.

    Intra-chart deviations might be caused by different methodologies: the CCCA chart is very clearly 100% radio play. Is the Top 40 also figuring in record sales? Perhaps.

    SUR LES PALMARÈS DU QUÉBEC: The week that "Move to California" was at number one was the fifth and final week that "Je serai toujours à toi" by Montréal's Shirley Théroux sat at number one on the reconstituted Quebec Charts housed at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. This wedding bell-flavoured ditty is a soundalike cover of "Wishing It Was You" by Connie Francis. In the midst of that, a song held number one in two different versions, one by Armenian-French singer Charles Aznavour and one by Greek-Egyptian-French singer Georges Guétary. But before that, "N'attendons pas qu'il soit trop tard" by Les Classels held the number one position for four weeks. Watch the linked video to catch a glimpse of their bizarre visual schtick: matching white letterman sweaters and bleached-white hairdos. This seems to be the sole original song out of this batch.

    A few other CanCon number ones from the summer and fall of 1965: First is "Tu dis des bêtises" by Donald Lautrec of Jonquière, a translation of Jewel Akens' "The Birds and the Bees". There is also "À la fin de la soirée" by Michèle Richard of Sherbrooke, which is a translation of a song called "We Were Lovers (When the Party Began)", recorded by three acts in 1964/1965: the Exciters, Darin D'Anna and Sandra Barry. I don't know any of them. Lastly is "Splish Splash" by César et les Romains, whose schtick you can see in the video was dressing like, well, Romans, and whose song is a French translation of... hey, you guessed it!
     
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  5. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Maybe its the influence of CKLW but I cannot recognize FMEB as one hit wonders. I have three lined up right behind it led by Absolutely Right. But I will hold that until then except that I had the 45s.
     
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  6. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    "Absolutely Right" hit #26 in Billboard.
     
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  7. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    It was too early for The Staccatos to re-christen themselves The Five Man Electrical Band, since at the time the band was comprised of only four members: Les Emmerson (guitar), Vern Craig (guitar), Brian Rading (bass), and Rick Belanger (drums). At the time, The Staccatos were still financing their recording sessions themselves; their recordings were self-arranged and self-produced. I don't know if anyone from Capitol was even present at the sessions. That would not change until after "Half Past Midnight", when the band 'moved to California' for their recording sessions. "Move To California" appeared on the only full album released under the Staccatos name, Initially. No master tape exists for "Move To California" but that is barely dectectable on the First Sparks CD.

    Staccatos / Five Man Electrical Band - First Sparks - Pacemaker Entertainment
     
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  8. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The only CanCon-related song to reach its peak on the November 1 main RPM chart was Peter, Paul & Mary's rendition of Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain", which spent its sole week on the chart at #39.

    Over on the November 1 country chart, "My Tennessee Baby" by Danny Harrison started a three week stay at #1.

     
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  10. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    #6 on the CanCon chart on November 29.
     
  11. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    No doubt you're right. Make any internet search for "one-hit wonders", though, and you'll find lists that include artists with careers long enough to merit greatest hits albums (VH1 is particularly bad for this). It seems that "one-hit wonder" has come to mean "one remembered hit" - and even at that, by people with markedly short memories.
     
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  12. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    I was wrong here: the record re-entered the charts and peaked at #5 on September 20, two weeks after his next 45 "Out Of The Sunshine" hit #6.
     
  13. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Location:
    Capac, Michigan
    Are the Wild Pair tracks needledropped on this CD? I ask because a tape source recently came to light.
     
  14. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    But charted much higher in Detroit.
     
  15. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Also on November 10, hitting a peak of #10 on the CanCon chart are the Canadian Downbeats (originally the Club 62 Downbeats) with "Surf Party" from the surfing mecca of...Regina, Saskatchewan. Its chart placing is based solely on it hitting #6 on CKCK in their hometown.



    [​IMG]

    It was released on a local label and is very collectible. The B-side can be heard here:
    Canadian Downbeats - Surf Party b/w White Sands of Paradise

    [​IMG]

    They released one more single, "That's The Way", in 1966
    [​IMG]

    They then grew their hair and sideburns, their lapels got wider, and they moved to Vancouver. They shared a couple of CBC transcription discs with other groups.
    Downbeats - Vancouver, BC (68-71)
    Flying Colors (2) / Canadian Downbeats - Flying Colors / Canadian Downbeats

    [​IMG]
     
  16. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    The CCAC chart is strange in that it shows a random cross-section of stations' charts. You can see from the two weeks after that "Surf Party" was also being played on CJME Regina and CKBI Prince Albert... but those particular stations weren't included on the November 1 chart.

    Note also that RPM lists the label as "UNK" - in all likelihood, Grealis, based in Toronto, had no idea what the song even was that the Saskatchewan stations were putting on their top 40 lists. Surely he didn't have a copy in his hands, as the pressing likely didn't even make it to Toronto.

    Times were sure different. I wonder how the stations even submitted those lists to RPM - by telegram? Or read them over the phone?
     
  17. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    There was one issue in the 1960s where they couldn't compile a chart because of a mail strike.
     
  18. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    20. JUST LIKE TOM THUMB'S BLUES
    by GORDON LIGHTFOOT
    #1 for 2 weeks: November 8 and 15, 1965




    [​IMG]
    Okay, so this is more than a bit bizarre. Breaking it down, this is Lightfoot's first United Artists single (since the previous "I'm Not Sayin'"/"For Lovin' Me" single, his first after two years working on the BBC and CBC, came out on Warner Brothers despite different versions appearing in 1966 on Lightfoot's UA début album). Neither the Canadian release nor the American release (also on UA) clearly identifies an a-side and a b-side, but it seems that this side, Lightfoot's cover of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" from Bob Dylan's then-brand-new Highway 61 Revisited, took precedence in promotion over the b-side, Lightfoot's own "Ribbon of Darkness" (though Lightfoot's own website lists "Ribbon" as the a-side).

    Why though? Despite it being Lightfoot's first number one on the CanCon chart (and climbing to number three on the main RPM chart), Lightfoot has never reissued it on any album or CD (only the German label Bear Family has it as a bonus track on a reissued Sunday Concert - and there it's sourced from vinyl). "Ribbon of Darkness", meanwhile, has shown up in one recording or another on almost all of Gord's voluminous hits packages. For a man who, in 1965, was receiving all kinds of kudos for his songwriting ability to release a cover as a single? The only thing I can guess is that UA was hoping to showcase different sides of his talent: both as interpreter and as songwriter. "Ribbon of Darkness" was at that time tearing up the country charts in a version by Marty Robbins. Lightfoot's own recording is so very similar to Robbins' that it almost sounds like an outtake from the same recording session.

    "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", on the other hand, sounds nothing like Dylan's original, with its quasi-mariachi horns and backup singers stretching the boundaries of good taste and sounding nothing at all like any contemporary Lightfoot recording. The first few times I heard it, I found it impossible to stifle laughter (it's since grown on me in a weird way). Furthermore, if UA wanted to emphasise Gord's skills as a songwriter, matching one of (in my opinion) his weaker hit compositions with (again my opinion) one of the best songs ever written by one of the best songwriters ever is... well, an intriguing strategy.

    It's worth noting that Lightfoot had recently signed a managerial contract with Albert Grossman, most famous as Dylan's own manager (though he managed a lot of 60s singers). The American release of this single credits both sides to M. Witmark and Sons for song publishing (the Canadian release omits these details). So there was definitely a shared relationship between Lightfoot and Dylan, extending down the decades - Dylan covered Lightfoot on his 1970 album Self Portrait, and each has called the other his favourite songwriter. It was Dylan who inducted Lightfoot into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1986 and called him a mentor (Dylan is actually two and a half years younger).
     
  19. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    And here's said American release:
    [​IMG]
    The Compo pressing of the Canadian release came from the Cornwall, ON plant. 'Groscourt' was an amalgam of the surnames of Albert Grossman and his then-business partner (who produced most records by Grossman clients, except maybe Dylan, Ian & Sylvia and possibly Peter, Paul And Mary) John Court.
     
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  20. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Albert Grossman is curiously pivotal to the 60s and early-70s Canadian music scene for a non-Canadian. I can think of six Canadian Grossman clients. That's no small number!
     
  21. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The only hint that "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" was the intended A-side is the lower matrix number (ZTSP 10619 vs. ZTSP 10620), but even the promo 45 does not specify a plug side.

    Gordon Lightfoot did not want to record "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues". It had always been my understanding that United Artists pressured him to record it, but it may well have been Grossman. Dylan had already moved on from the Highway 61 Revisited album; his then-current single, "Positively 4th Street" (#1 on the main RPM chart on November 15), wasn't on the album. Aside from the original single and the Bear Family disc, the only other time it has ever been issued that I know of was on an Underground Records single in the late 1980s.

    The Marty Robbins version of "Ribbon Of Darkness" had been #1 on the Billboard country chart in June, so Robbins most likely recorded it first. The RPM country chart was still Cancon-only at the time. It no longer was by the time Connie Smith released the song in 1969. Her version would reach #1 on the RPM country chart and #13 on the Billboard country chart.

    Gordon Lightfoot himself would not appear on any Billboard chart until Sunday Concert made the album chart in late 1969.
     
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  22. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The liner notes state that all five tracks from A Wild Pair are mastered from vinyl, which I wouldn't have known from listening to them.

    The A Wild Pair album was released as a promotion for Coca-Cola. It was half Staccatos and half Guess Who and available only by mail order for $1.00 plus ten Coke cork liners. The album, which contained no hits, reportedly sold 85,000 copies. Today it costs anywhere between $11 and $18 just to ship an album within Canada. The album's main impact on Canadian music history was that it introduced The Guess Who to their future producer Jack Richardson.
     
  23. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Ribbon Of Darkness is classic Lightfoot. Who cares who covered it and stole the US market. It is NOT a weak song.

    Was there anything about Gordons earlier records under the name "Gordie"
    [​IMG]
    Then there was the Two Tones before that
     
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  24. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    In 1963, Richie Knight & The Mid-Knights had a huge hit with "Charlena" (#1 on the CHUM chart). They never came close to duplicating that success. The closest they came was with "One Good Reason", which peaked at #33 on the November 15, 1965, main RPM chart. A couple of indications that this record did not sell very well: (1) Until a few minutes ago, it wasn't even on YouTube and (2) my 45 has exactly the same promotional sticker on the label as the image on Discogs.

     
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  25. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Wow! I knew early Chateau singles were credited to "Gord Lightfoot"; I didn't know any of them had been credited to "Gordie". Two Chateau recordings are on the Songbook box set, "(Remember Me) I'm The One" (which likely would have been a #1 CanCon song had the chart existed back in 1962) and "It's Too Late, He Wins". They are also on iTunes but, unfortunately, to get these two songs you have to buy the entire box set.
     

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