This is
VANCOUVER
"TOP FORTY" RADIO

WELCOME! THIS SITE FEATURES THE HIT PARADE CHARTS OF THE 50S & 60S
FROM VANCOUVER'S LEADING RADIO STATIONS.

As 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.

Vancouver 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.

Today's "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?

And 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.

Our 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.

Furthermore, many songs charted high in Vancouver that never charted at all on Billboard or were even heard of elsewhere on the continent. This was largely because our DJs didn't wait to see how a song was faring on other stations around the continent. If a song was considered hit material it got played. Examples of number one hits here, 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) and "Queen of the Angels' by Deane Hawley (#9), and the list could go on and on.

Posted 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.

Why embark on such a project? Because it seemed that the information from these surveys was on the verge of becoming forever lost. Not even the original radio stations have them anymore. Furthermore "oldies' stations in the Vancouver area make little or no effort to acknowledge the existence of our own hit parades from the past, instead referring to "Billboard". 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 has 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 since.

But now 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...

Click here to go to
The Surveys

 

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