“At their best, Chilliwack was the finest Canadian rock band, outrocking BTO and outwriting Burton Cummings. But a lack of consistency kept it from international success.”
The biggest song of 1969 in Canada was The Beatles’ “Get Back”. There was an upswing in Canadian music this year; however, many of these hits were not played on Canadian radio until after they had become hits south of the border. On the bright side, the CRTC had been established in 1968, and CanCon/MAPL regulations were on the way. The biggest Canadian hit of 1969 was Andy Kim’s “Baby I Love You” (11th of the year), one of three number one hits this year. In total, there were 21 Canadian Top 40 hits, six of which made the Top 10 and the year-end Top 100. Below is a list of all Canadian Top 40 hits for the year with their peak chart position. Bear in mind, that this is a picture of cross-Canada success. Songs may have charted much higher or lower in various cities as radio stations usually give local artists more support. Below the list, check out some cool trivia on the year’s hits and their artists.
YE= Year-End chart position.
WP = Weekly chart peak position.
|Baby I Love You||Andy Kim||11||1|
|These Eyes||The Guess Who||30||7|
|Laughing||The Guess Who||32||1|
|When I Die||Motherlode||35||1|
|Which Way You Goin’ Billy||The Poppy Family||54||9|
|So Good Together||Andy Kim||15|
|Hands of the Clock||Life||19|
|Undun||The Guess Who||21|
|Goodnight My Love||Paul Anka||23|
|Now That I’m a Man||49th Parallel||30|
|Cruel War||Sugar and Spice||31|
|It’s Never Too Late||Steppenwolf||33|
|Pack It In||Buckstone Hardware||33|
|Private Train||5 Man Electrical Band||37|
|We Love You, Call Collect||Art Linkletter||37|
|Lily the Pink||The Irish Rovers||38|
|So Come with Me||Witness Inc||40|
|Memories of a Broken Promise||Motherlode||40|
1969 CHOICE TRIVIA
The need for CanCon / MAPL regulations was more apparent than ever in 1968. Only seven Canadian hits made the Top 40. Four of them reached the Top 10 and two made #1. Andy Kim, The Stampeders, Steppenwolf, and The Irish Rovers were the only Canadian acts able to score hits this year. Three of these hits made the year-end Top 100. The biggest Canadian hit of them all was Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild”, the song that coined the term heavy metal. It was 1968’s 14th biggest hit. The top song of 1968 in Canada was The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. Below is a list of all Canadian Top 40 hits for the year from RPM with their peak chart position as well as the positions of those that made the year-end Top 100.
YE= Year-End chart position.
WP = Weekly chart peak position.
|Born to Be Wild||Steppenwolf||14||1|
|The Unicorn||The Irish Rovers||35||4|
|Magic Carpet Ride||Steppenwolf||45||1|
|How’d We Ever Get This Way||Andy Kim||9|
|Morning Magic||The Stampeders||23|
|Shoot Em Up Baby||Andy Kim||29|
|Whiskey On a Sunday||The Irish Rovers||34|
The biggest song of 1967 in Canada was “The Letter” by The Box Tops. This was the year support of Canadian music took a dive. While 1965 and 1966 saw 53 and 45 Top 40 Canadian hits respectively, 1967 saw only 28. Moreover, only two made the Top 10, one of which made the year-end Top 100 (the only Canadian entry). This drop in the success of Canadian music was incredibly ironic given that 1967 was Canada’s centennial anniversary as a nation. While one would assume that the year would have seen a greater embracing of Canadian music, it witnessed instead a turning away from it. Most surprising of all was that on July 1, Canada’s 100th anniversary, for the first time in chart history, not a single Canadian song was in the Top 40. Such sad phenomena in 1967 precipitated a movement in the music industry to establish CanCon/MAPL regulations which came into effect three years later.
While discussion commonly blames the British Invasion for the lack of support of Canadian music during this time, consider that the majority of 1967’s ten biggest hits were from American artists whether they performed soul music, psychedelic rock, or sunshine pop.
The top Canadian song of 1967 was “Canada” by The Young Canada Singers, the only #1 hit and only Canadian entry on the year-end Top 100 (41st of the year). It sold 270,000 copies. The song was written by Bobby Gimby (lyrics) and Ben McPeek (music) in honour of the centennial and Expo 67 and sung by a choir of children, versions recorded in both official languages.
Below is a list of all Canadian Top 40 hits for the year with their peak chart position. Bear in mind, that this is a picture of cross-Canada success. Songs may have charted much higher or lower in various cities as radio stations usually give local artists more support. Below the list, check out some cool trivia on the year’s hits and their artists.
WP = Weekly chart peak position.
|Canada||Young Canada Singers||1|
|Half Past Midnight||The Staccatos||8|
|Get On Up||The Esquires||17|
|Gaslight||The Ugly Ducklings||17|
|His Girl||The Guess Who||19|
|Sunny Goodge Street||Tom Northcott||20|
|Simple Deeds||The Paupers||21|
|Looking at a Baby||The Collectors||23|
|Bring It Down Front||The Jon-Lee Group||23|
|Lovin’ Sound||Ian and Sylvia||24|
|Go Go Round||Gordon Lightfoot||27|
|Catch the Love Parade||The Staccatos||28|
|Somebody Help Me||The British Modbeats||29|
|This Time Long Ago||The Guess Who||30|
|If I Call You By Some Name||The Paupers||31|
|Next to Nowhere||M. G. and the Escorts||31|
|Armful of Teddybears||Barry Allen||32|
|Got to Get You Into My Life||The Stitch in Tyme||36|
|The Way I Feel||Gordon Lightfoot||36|
|New Dawn||The Stitch in Tyme||36|
|Flying On the Groud is Wrong||The Guess Who||36|
|Give Me a Reason to Stay||Bobby Curtola||37|
|It’s Not Funny Money||Bobby Curtola||39|
|Playground||Debbie Lori Kaye||40|
|Diamonds and Gold||Willie and the Walkers||40|
1967 CHOICE TRIVIA
Something must have happened at the end of 1966 but what exactly is a mystery. While 1965 and 1966 saw 53 and 45 Top 40 Canadian hits respectively, 1967 saw only 28, only two of which made the Top 10. This is ironic given that 1967 was Canada’s centennial year. The year that should have seen the most support towards Canadian music instead saw a turning away from it. While discussion commonly blames the British Invasion, consider that the majority of the year’s ten biggest hits were by American artists. Even more ironic was that a weekly singles chart was released on July 1, 1967 (Canada’s centennial birthday), and, for the first time in chart history, not a single entry by a Canadian artist appeared in the Top 40. This downturn in broadcasters’ support of Canadian music was lowest in 1968 when, through the entire year, only seven songs by Canadian artists made the Top 40. A few key players began to call for Canadian content regulations which were to eventually be launched in the early 1970s. With the CRTC established in 1968 and MAPL regulations on their way, 1969 saw an upswing, though many of the Canadian hits were aired on Canadian radio only after they had charted in the United States.
The top Canadian song of 1967 was “Canada” by The Young Canada Singers, the only #1 hit and only Canadian entry on the year-end Top 100 (41st of the year). It sold 270,000 copies. The song was written by Bobby Gimby (lyrics) and Ben McPeek (music) in honour of the centennial and Expo 67 and sung by a choir of children, versions recorded in both official languages. The year also saw the Top 40 debut of The Collectors who later re-Christened themselves Chilliwack. They started out as a promotional tool for Vancouver CHR station CFUN. CFUN later changed format being unable to compete with the much more popular CKLG. Although he has never scored any Top 40 hits (his songs covered by other artists have charted), poet Leonard Cohen is considered a principal figure in the realm of songwriting, and he debuted in 1967.
Already a popular folk singer in Québec, Robert Charlebois ventured to California experiencing the movement of psychedelic rock which reshaped his musical vision. He staged the experimental, psychedelic show L’Osstidcho in 1968 Montréal which forever changed the face of song in Québec. His “Lindberg” became a huge hit. The most successful Anglophone soloist of the late-60s was Andy Kim. He scored 13 Top 40 hits through his career. “How’d We Ever Get This Way” reached #9 on the RPM charts in 1968. “Baby I Love You” was the top Canadian song of 1969 (11th of the year, RPM). Andy was also the co-composer of The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” one of the biggest hits of all-time worldwide. One of the most successful Canadian bands of all-time debuted on the charts in 1968 thanks to “Morning Magic”—Calgary’s The Stampeders. Although remembered mainly for their chart topper “Sweet City Woman” in 1971, the band managed 15 Top 40 hits, seven of which made the Top 10.
“Which Way You Goin’ Billy” was a Top 10 hit for The Poppy Family in 1969. Terry Jacks from the outfit was to score a massive worldwide hit as a soloist in the mid-70s (“Seasons in the Sun”). London, Ontario’s Motherlode scored the big international hit “When I Die”. Canadian radio stations aired it only after it had become a Top 20 hit in the United States and sold half a million copies.
Hailing from Edmonton, Barry Allen started his recording career in 1965 playing guitar and singing background vocals with Wes Dakus and the Rebels. He continued with this band while releasing his own albums Goin’ Places and Lovedrops with Capitol Records. From 1965 to 1967, Allen scored five Top 40 hits, the most successful of which was “Lovedrops”, a Top 10 hit. His success did not meet Capitol’s expectations and he was dropped from the label. He released his third and final album through MCA in 1970. In the past while, Allen has run his own Edmonton recording studio called Homestead Recorders.
Vancouver’s Terry Black was a teen idol in the 1960’s scoring six Top 40 hits from 1964 to 1966. In 1964, when he was 15, he hit the American airwaves with the single, “Unless You Care”. The song was a major hit in Canada (#2, RPM) and made the US Billboard Hot 100. His appearance on American Bandstand performing the song can be seen on YouTube. In 1969, Black joined the cast for the Toronto production of the musical Hair!, met his wife to be Laurel Ward, and together they released several singles in the 1970’s. “Backup (Against Your Persuasion)” made the Top 30 in 1975. He also performed alongside Dr. Music producing a couple of hits in 1972. In the 2000s, he hosted an oldies radio show in British Columbia, and, suffering from multiple sclerosis, passed away in 2009 at the age of 60.
Little Caesar and the Consuls
The core of Toronto’s Little Caesar and the Consuls consisted of Bruce Morshead, guitarist Ken Pernokis, bassist Tom Wilson, drummer Gary Wright, and saxophonist Norm Sherrat. They recorded four Top 40 Canadian hits, including Top Tens “You Laugh Too Much”, “My Girl Sloopy” and “You Really Got a Hold On Me“. The latter reached #1 on the RPM charts in 1965, making them only the second Canadian group to do so. Early members also featured future The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson and “Snowbird”/”Put Your Hand In The Hand” songwriter Gene MacLellan.
Years Most Active: 1965-1974
Les Emmerson (vocals, guitar)
Brian Rading (bass)
Rick ‘Bell’ Belanger (drums)
Mike ‘Bell’ Belanger (percussion)
Ted Gerow (keyboards)
The Five Man Electrical Band formed in Ottawa in 1963 as The Staccatos. The name change took place in 1968. Between the years 1965 and 1974, the group scored 14 Top 40 hits. Les Emmerson, as a soloist, managed an additional three. They received financial backing from journalist/manager Sandy Gardiner, were signed to Capitol Records, and enjoyed initial success with singles “Small Town Girl” and “Moved to California”. Debut album Initially appeared in 1966.
Interestingly, they shared an album with The Guess Who in 1967. Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company, one side of A Wild Pair featured The Staccatos and the other side songs by The Guess Who. The album was recorded on Jack Richardson’s Nimbus Records at Hallmark Studios. “Half Past Midnight” was their first Top 10 hit. Unable to replicate that success with followup singles, the band began strategizing and decided to change their name based on a song of theirs—”Five Man Electrical Band”. They also left Capitol Records at the end of the decade and climbed aboard Lionel Records/MGM.
“Signs” (#4) became the band’s most successful hit internationally reaching #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Australian charts. It sold a million copies worldwide (some sources say two million). In Canada, their song “Absolutely Right” fared slightly better on the charts (#3). Both songs made the RPM year-end charts of 1971. It was 1973’s “I’m a Stranger Here” that became the Five Man Electrical Band’s biggest hit domestically. It peaked at #2 and was the 28th biggest song of the year. Les Emmerson scored a few hits as a soloist, his most successful being “Control of Me” (#5).
At one time, it was believed that Michel Pagliaro would become an international rock star. Then he disappeared, long enough to become a true artist.—Hélène de Billy