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

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

  1. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the link. Since the song was produced by Chet Atkins, the pianist is likely Floyd Cramer and the backing vocalists The Anita Kerr Singers.

    It doesn't appear that even one 1964 Cancon song discussed so far was actually recorded in Canada.
     
  2. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    I spend almost the entirety of today's post talking about "Ringo". I'll have it up in a couple of minutes.
     
  3. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    I offer a reason for that in today's post, which will be up pretty soon.
     
  4. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #7 - SO MANY OTHER BOYS
    by THE ESQUIRES
    #1 for 2 non-consecutive weeks: December 14, 1964 and January 11, 1965




    [​IMG]
    I'll need to apologise in advance for the fact that there's going to be endless consternation in this thread about the existential question of "What is a Canadian song?" Simply put, is it any song whose artist credit is a person who lives in or once lived in Canada? Or is it more than that? When the MAPL system débuts in 1970, I will have a more "scientific" answer to this question... and it will still be confusing as hell. Closer to that point, I'm going to have to poll the followers of this thread to determine what makes a song Canadian.

    For the purposes of this thread in the 1960s, though, "what makes a song Canadian?" is merely "what did RPM consider to be Canadian when tabulating their 'Chart Action Across Canada' chart?" Which means that for the week of December 14, 1964, the Esquires are at #1 on that Canadian-only chart and, so, are my number-one in this thread. However, on RPM's main Top 40 chart, the Esquires are ranked a lowly 21, while the number-two song on the chart (down from number one the week before) is Ottawa's own Lorne Greene, with the Billboard-topping "Ringo".

    As far as I know, at this point in RPM's history, the two charts are tabulated largely (but not completely) the same way, meaning Canada's Top 40 stations were playlisting "Ringo" like crazy (curiously enough for a spoken-word country-and-western song). And given that Lorne Greene had such an illustrious career on Canadian radio before moving to Hollywood that he was nicknamed "The Voice of Canada", it's not likely that the RPM tabulators (presumably only Grealis himself at this point) simply didn't know Greene was Canadian.

    So it must be deliberate. Lorne Greene was, of course, living in the USA at the time (he was starring on a successful Hollywood TV show). He was signed to RCA Victor (but they had a Canadian subsidiary plugging the track up north). The song was written by two Americans, Rod Robertson and Hal Blair (but so were many of the songs I've already spoken about). The song was produced in a Hollywood studio by an American named Joe Reisman (but there was not even a single four-track studio in the whole country of Canada at the time, so the best a Canadian studio could do was record live off the floor in stereo). The only thing about the song "Ringo" which was Canadian was Mr Greene himself. But why exactly wasn't that enough for RPM Magazine in 1964 (when it was pretty much entirely also true for Terry Black yesterday)?

    My guess is that perhaps Greene just wasn't "part of the Canadian music industry" in a way that Black (hey, colour theme!) was. Perhaps Black had a Canadian manager. Arc was definitely a more "Canadian" label than RCA, but I see other RCA entries on the CanCon charts. So I really don't know. RPM's goal is clearly the development of - and recognition of - a Canadian music industry. Perhaps they felt Greene's American approach to success fell out of that purview.

    Discogs tells me that "Ringo" got released in places as far-flung as Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Egypt and "Southern Rhodesia" - in each of 13 countries on an RCA Victor imprint. RCA had an amazing international reach even then!

    Oh yeah... we're talking about the Esquires. Well, one thing I can tell you about them is that Neil Young liked them enough to (just about) name his first band in their honour. They were based in Ottawa, and if you believe the label shown above, they recorded this song somewhere in Canada. This song, not released outside of Canada, was #1 on the Chart Action Across Canada chart for two non-consecutive weeks fully one month apart and not even in the same calendar year! But for each of the three weeks in between that a different song took the crown (that we'll see tomorrow), "So Many Other Boys" was at #2.
     
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  5. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    great thread, look forward to seeing Pagliaro and Gordon Sinclair's speech coming along

    I see the Capitol label, was the Canadian portion signing up the locals along with internationally famous acts (The Beatles)
     
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  6. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Oh wait! A pertinent note from the January 11th edition that fits in with what we're talking about:

    "IN RECENT WEEKS 50% of the top ten CC singles on RPM's CAAC chart (see page 4) have been Cancut singles. The balance were cut in Nashville, New York, Clovis and various other American recording centres. Presently, productions are eminating from Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver and radio's acceptance has given the Canadian production the boost it needed"
     
  7. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Yep! Capitol Canada was a big player in the Canadian music scene at the time. There were a lot of indies active in the field in the 1960s, but Capitol was one of the majors working the field as well.

    On the January 11th Cancon chart, four of the top five singles are Capitol Canada releases!
     
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  8. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    did CanCon recognize a distinct French-Canadian music industry?

    are there many top singles from F-C that barely anyone in the US or English Canada (so to speak) have never heard?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
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  9. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    During late night AM radio scanning I could pick up stations from Quebec. Heard some really good Francophone tunes and never understood a word. I specifically remember hearing one I liked a lot that sounded to me like Gordon Lightfoot and would have sought a copy but had zero clue what I was even looking for. Today I might have picked up a title or a word or phrase, but not then. Francophone radio guys rattled off the Quebecois French with obviously no regard for non Francophones. Nor should they. I was not their audience.
     
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  10. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto

    Only in Canada could you designate CanCon and then put up partitions within it.

    Some were able to crossover, even in Canada. English versions of French songs, Francophone artists who recorded in English for top hits. Felix award winners I was aware of, even bought singles and albums.

    A tune was great no matter to whom it was supposed to be marketed.
     
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  11. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    The Esquires were the first Canadian pop group signed by Paul White to Capitol records. They released their first LP earlier in 1964. Lead singer Don Norman left (or was fired) and started Don Norman & The Other Four in 1965. The corpulent drummer Richard Patterson later was in Three's A Crowd.
    The Capitol 6000 website - The Paul White Collection: The Esquires

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    That's a great question, and one I don't have great answers for.

    So let me try:

    (1) The Québec-based French-language music industry is indeed a huge part of Québec culture. While the anglo Canadian industry has always had a symbiotic relationship with the scenes in the UK and the USA, and while the average anglo Canadian's music consumption is probably 90% foreign, the Québec industry is much more independent and a much more integral part of Québécois' sense of their own identity. Certainly some labels sign acts who speak both languages and there is some overlap on things like distribution, and certainly the CanCon legislation applies exactly the same regardless of the language you are speaking, but by and large music is a classic example of the "two solitudes". When francophone Québécois choose to listen to English-language music, they certainly don't go out of their way to "buy Canadian", and crossover breakthroughs from Quebec to the ROC that don't involve switching to singing in English are so rare that I can count them on one hand.

    (2) There are hundreds of classic French-Canadian songs that people outside of Québec don't know the first thing about, utter stars that would elicit nothing but blank expressions just a kilometre away across the Ottawa River (actually, even anglophone Montrealers don't recognise them).

    (3) RPM Magazine, for better or worse, is definitely on the anglo side of the cultural divide. They pay lip service to the French-language industry, and experimented at times with a French-language chart (which I'll get to in due course), but by and large Québec was terra incognita to them, so sadly we won't be speaking about French-language music in this thread as much as we ought to. Or at least I won't. If another commenter were to show up and run throough this in parallel on the franco side, I'd be more than delighted.
     
  13. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    thanks bungle, point 3 was educational

    learning about Canada and hearing some new (to me) and old tunes (some forgotten), many undeservedly neglected outside of Quebec and the rest of Canada.

    all about me.... grew up and still live in Southern Ontario, listened to CKOC and then CHUM/CFTR for summers spent at Lake Simcoe, intense top 40 listening from around 1973 to 1985.
     
  14. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Here were the Canadian acts with Top 40 hits in 1964:
    1964’s Biggest Canadian Hits
    Similar situation to Lorne Greene, RPM didn't consider Gale Garnett as Canadian content.



    [​IMG]
     
  15. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The only reason I can think of for "Ringo" not being considered Cancon by RPM is that Lorne Greene was not signed to a Canadian label.

    The only song I can think of by a non-Canadian that made the RPM chart during the time period covered so far and meets the M-A-P-L Cancon criteria is Bobby Bare's version of Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds", which spent one week on the chart (November 30, 1964) at #40. It reached #60 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Billboard country chart, making it Bare's biggest 1960s country hit (even bigger than his top 10 pop crossover hit "500 Miles Away From Home" or "Detroit City", which had won a Country Record Of The Year Grammy).




    The Esquires "So Many Other Boys" peaked at #9 on the regular RPM chart. A CD was released, The Singles...Plus, in 2011 by Pacemaker Entertainment with the Capitol material licensed from EMI Music Canada, so it's a legit CD. "So Many Other Boys" sounds excellent on it (in mono). Lots of interesting info in the liner notes. Their Capitol material was indeed recorded in Canada (some in Montreal, some in Toronto) on two-track equipment. The group released seven singles and one album and had frequent personnel changes. The members on "So Many Other Boys" are:
    Gary Comeau, lead guitar;
    Clint Hierlihy, bass and officially the producer of "So Many Other Boys" (there really was no production; they played live in the studio);
    Paul Huot, rhythm guitar (would later form The Townsmen, who would have one RPM Top 40 hit);
    Don Norman, lead vocalist and the song's writer (as mentioned above, he later fronted Don Norman & The Other Four, who had one RPM Top 40 hit);
    Richard Patterson, drums (as also mentioned above, he would join Three's A Crowd (Bruce Cockburn's group), which also would have one RPM top 40 hit).

    One other interesting quote from the CD notes, "An Ottawa Federation Of Musicians document from this period showed the band's earning's for 1964 to total $8,550.96 for live work and recording, an amazing amount at the time."
     
  16. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    *Stomps feet in anger*.

    At one point in preparing for this, I noticed Gale Garnett. And then I promptly forgot about her. Thanks for reminding me.

    Two question-marks in the same year is disconcerting. As I mentioned at the beginning, as we get into the 1970s and RPM abandons its Cancon-only chart, replacing it by identifying Cancon on its Top 100 chart, I will do the same, featuring as the "Cancon #1 song" the highest-ranking Cancon song on the list. But there have been issues. The main issue is what we might call "the Bryan Adams question", which is where there is divergence between what most people would consider Canadian and what the MAPL system defines as Canadian. I'm of two minds on how to approach that question.

    But secondly, there are several cases where a song is denied an MAPL logo for reasons that are unclear to me. And it's not small oversights either: I'm talking, like, "Heart of Gold" and "Sundown". Other Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot songs are appropriately logoed, and in fact there is a stretch of time when "Heart of Gold" is sitting on the chart with no logo next to it that a cover of "After the Goldrush" is sitting lower down on the same chart with the M and L highlighted. What does it all mean? I don't know, and I don't care. My best guess is "Walt Grealis was angry with Reprise Records for some reason". But I can't let a forty-year-removed vendetta screw up the chart series I'm collecting, so I've decided to recognise "Heart of Gold" and "Sundown" as the #1 Cancon song for the weeks in question despite the lack of MAPL logo next to them.

    So what of Greene and Garnett? Or "Born to Be Wild", another problem-case? Are there other Canadians not included on the CAAC chart? For every one I catch, I'm bound to overlook three. And it runs the risk of making the exercise moot. Maybe I should scrap the CAAC chart altogether and just find the Canadians on the Top 40 chart...

    ALSO: "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" is a beautiful song. I well remember my mother being a fan and singing it a lot. Garnett wrote it herself. How many female singer-songwriters were kicking around in the early 60s?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
  17. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    There's an interesting quote from Randy Bachman concerning the "Shakin' All Over" days where he says that the amount of money the UK label was dangling in front of them for a contract was far less than what the band got playing high school auditoriums in Winnipeg.

    I wonder if Canadian musicians were doing better, financially, than similar bands would have in the UK or the USA.
     
  18. skinnyev

    skinnyev Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto

    Wasn’t that why Ronnie Hawkins ended up in Canada? I seem to recall several times he indicated that the money was better and there seemed to be a big appetite for rockabilly type acts.
     
  19. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Female singer-songwriters-actors were even rarer.
     
  20. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    [QUOTE="bunglejerry, post: 24790336, member: 63205
    So what of Greene and Garnett? Or "Born to Be Wild", another problem-case? Are there other Canadians not included on the CAAC chart? For every one I catch, I'm bound to overlook three. And it runs the risk of making the exercise moot. Maybe I should scrap the CAAC chart altogether and just find the Canadians on the Top 40 chart...

    ALSO: "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" is a beautiful song. I well remember my mother being a fan and singing it a lot. Garnett wrote it herself. How many female singer-songwriters were kicking around in the early 60s?[/QUOTE]

    The Elephant in the room - Paul Anka?

    Been talking about Gail Garnett in some other threads recently. Bought a cd too.
     
  21. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Not that much of an elephant as far as I'm concerned; the teen years are earlier than this thread covers, and the period between then and "You're Having My Baby" is pretty fallow.

    As for "You're Having My Baby" as the songs that came out in the same era, RPM considers them MAPL Canadian - and so will I. Anka has lived in the USA most of his life, and he has been an American citizen for much of that time. I suppose he might engender some CRTC goodwill through his active role - from a distance - in encouraging Canadian artists and the industry, but it seems that in becoming American he didn't have to relinquish his Canadian citizenship. For whatever reason, he qualifies.

    I was just reading an RPM article from 1976 written in response to RPM's eulogy to Percy Faith where they were reporting that the CRTC had told them on no uncertain terms that Percy Faith was not CanCon, since Faith had to give up his Canadian citizenship in order to become an American citizen.

    An excellent quote from the article:

    "One programmer observer expressed surprise and indignation over the news, explaining that he had been programming Percy Faith back catalogue as Cancon for many years, having never been advised that Faith's product from the 1971 era and prior did not qualify as Cancon. He suggested that the CRTC could assist programmers in advising on the citizenship status of name recording artists i.e. Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, the Band, David Clayton Thomas and others including the new west coast -based Heart."

    Of course, Heart's citizenship was never relevant to their qualifying as CanCon. But the snark is still appreciated.
     
  22. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I had no idea Gale Garnett had any connection to Canada. I only knew she was born in New Zealand. Most American bios make no reference to Canada, only that her family 'moved around a lot' before Garnett moved permanently to the US at age 19. The family had apparently moved to Canada when she was 11. If these eight years are the only time she lived in Canada, then she is about as Canadian as Kamala Harris. "We'll Sing In The Sunshine" was played a whole lot on Canadian oldies radio, and I have no recollection of it ever being mentioned that she was Canadian.

    Yes, there was a country called Southern Rhodesia in 1964. Northern Rhodesia had already become Zambia. Around 1965, Southern Rhodesia dropped the 'Southern' from its name (since there no longer was a Northern Rhodesia) and this Rhodesia eventually became Zimbabwe. All that I know. That Gale Garnett had ever lived in Canada (information I consider much more important and useful) I had no idea.

    Paul Anka is definitely Cancon, even his teen stuff. I have a 1980s Canadian 45 pressing of Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" (which Anka wrote) and it has the MAPL logo on the label.
     
  23. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Not only was Paul Anka CanCon, by writing for and producing Don Goodwin (from Colorado) he was able to get him classified as CanCon.
     
  24. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    She came back to Toronto in 1969 to appear in Hair and has been there ever since.
     
  25. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #8 - ALONE AND LONELY
    by BOBBY CURTOLA
    #1 for 3 weeks: December 21 and 28, 1964, and January 7, 1965




    [​IMG]
    It is sometimes difficult to be a DJ. Particularly when you're at a Top 40 station and it's your job to determine who gets into the Top 40 on a certain week. It's quite a lot of power, frankly. And, given how make-or-break a Top 40 listing could be for an artist, especially in a major market, it's no surprise that "payola" became such a dirty word in the American Top 40 Radio industry (payola existed in Canada as well, but it never really reached the heights of scandal up here that it did in the States - which is to say people were less bothered by its existence).

    But there are times when it must have been simpler. If it's late 1964, and a Beatles record, for example, lands on your desk, well it's pretty much guaranteed to be playlisted. Even if it's, in this particular case, "I Feel Fine", one of my personal least-favourite Beatles a-sides. No hand-wringing about that one. And seemingly, for quite a few radio stations in Canada, the same was true for teen heartthrob Bobby Curtola, who I'm already sick to death of talking about. A song like this one, which didn't even get released outside of Canada, must have been a shoo-in in certain markets during what Google-searched websites insist on calling "Curtolamania." RPM shows, though, that CHUM in Toronto, CKGM in Montreal and SKLY in Winnipeg were among the stations that didn't bother to list this particular side, so it made it to number one based on smaller-market stations like CKYL Peace River and CFSL Weyburn. Where even is Weyburn?

    OTHER CANCON ENTRIES: For some reason, even though the Chart Action Across Canada chart is a top ten, the (green-inked) Christmas issue of December 21 extends the top ten to nineteen. And when we get to the question of what the nineteenth most-played Canadian song on Canadian radio was in December of 1964, we're obviously so deep into obscurity that it's no surprise it's not on Youtube. But the song, by the Regents on Quality Records, has the delightful title of "Dance of the Ookpiks" - probably the first identifiably-Canadian song title I've seen so far.
     
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