the Rock & Roll craze began weaving its way
into North American culture back in the year 1955,
many radio stations across the continent began
devoting their entire schedules to the new genre.
It seemed every city had at least one station with
a hit parade chart. The format today is referred to
as "Top Forty" even though an individual station's
chart was just as likely to have been a top fifty,
sixty or thirty.
was no exception. The charts put out by our radio
stations reflected our regional tastes which did
not always conform to those of the "national"
charts such as Billboard and Cashbox.
"oldies" stations will often tell you how high a
particular song charted on Billboard for any given
year, but they say little, if anything about how
songs fared on Vancouver's own charts, which is
what most listeners followed. Few of us in fact,
had even heard of Billboard, and the DJs themselves
seldom referred to it. We had the FABULOUS FORTY,
the SENSATIONAL SIXTY, the FUNTASTIC FIFTY, the
BOSS THIRTY. Remember these?
what about the radio stations of the day? How many
of you knew or remembered that CKWX was once a
24-hour rock 'n' roll powerhouse and the first to
give Vancouver its own hit parade. Then came
upstart C-FUN and later CKLG which eventually
gained dominance. And who can forget the radio
personalities, such as Red Robinson, "Big Daddy"
Dave McCormick, Buddy Clyde, Frosty Forst and a
host of others that followed. And who was the Late
Daddy 'G'?. or "The Beard"? or "Jolly John" ? or
"Mad Mel"? Was Jim Robson once a DJ? Norm Grohmann
too? And what was the "New Sound Sweepstakes?";
"Battle of the New Sounds"?; the "Ding Ho Party
Line"? "Soundathon?" Chances are you'll find the
answers deep within these pages.
music, perhaps due partly to Vancouver's unique
geographic location carried a touch of California,
a touch of Canada, and a touch of Britain. The
influence here was as much north-south as it was
east-west and this is reflected in our surveys.
Furthermore, our Pop/Rock stations were often
playing and charting hit records months before they
appeared on Billboard. Hit tunes like 1961's
"Running Scared" by Roy Orbison peaked here on Apr.
15, but not until June 5 on Billboard. "Take Good
Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vee charted #1 here on
Aug. 12/61 but not until Oct. on Billboard. And
Beatles hits were peaking here in Dec of 1963,
nearly two months before the group's debut on the
Ed Sullivan Show.
songs charted high in Vancouver that simply never
made the Billboard chart, or were even heard of
elsewhere on the continent. This was largely
because our DJs didn't wait to see how a song fared
elsewhere. If it was considered hit material it got
played. Examples of number one hits that didn't
chart elsewhere include "Shake Shake Sherry" by the
Redwoods "Flying Blue Angels" by George Johnny
& the Pilots and "Bonnie B" by the immortal
Jerry Lee Lewis. Other tunes entering the top 10
include "Stormy" by Donnie Owens (#7); "Fallen
Idol" by Ken Lyon (#2), "Queen of the Angels' by
Deane Hawley (#9), "Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt"
by the Shadows (#2), "The Great Snowman" by Bob
Luman (#4), and the list could go on and on.
on this site you will find a huge collection of
information from the surveys of Vancouver's "Top
Forty" radio stations, namely CKWX, CFUN, and CKLG.
These are not replicas or scans of the original
surveys, but rather stylized retypes of the
information in the originals. Each survey has been
diligently retyped, retaining the information found
on the original.
embark on such a project? Because the information
from these surveys seemed on the verge of becoming
forever lost. Not even the original radio stations
have their charts anymore. And "oldies' stations in
our area make little or no effort to acknowledge
the existence of our own past hit parades, instead
deferring to a song's "Billboard" standing. Sites
have sprouted up all over the web posting surveys
from radio stations all over North America. Even
the CHUM surveys from Toronto are on the web, and
one web site carrying them recently had the
audacity to refer to them as "Canada's Hit Parade",
which they were not. I figured it was about time to
get Vancouver's surveys up there. But where to find
them? I discarded my own collection of surveys
years ago, a move I've been kicking myself for ever
now, thanks to collectors who were willing to
photocopy their charts, most of the surveys have
been found and are being meticulously typed out for
posting here. (Click on "Surveys Wanted" to see
where the gaps still lie.) And so without further
ado . . .