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Archive for August, 2014

This Week in Music History: August 25 to 31

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By Adam Bunch

TWO CANADIANS TOP THE CHARTS AT THE VERY SAME TIME

They came from very different backgrounds. The Crew-Cuts were a doo-wop group from the heart of the big city: choir students in downtown Toronto. Hank Snow was born in small-town Nova Scotia and spent much of his youth as a cabin boy on a fishing schooner before becoming a country crooner. But during this week in the summer of 1954, both Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees were sitting at the top of the Billboard charts.

It started with Snow. “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” was released in early 1954 and by the middle of June it had climbed all the way to the top of Billboard’s Country and Western chart – and that was just the beginning. The song spent an amazing 20 weeks at No. 1: throughout the entire summer of 1954 and all the way to the end of October. The tune would eventually be covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan to Dinah Washington. Even Snow himself released another version of the same song years later.

The Crew-Cuts soon joined him as chart-toppers. A couple of weeks after “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” claimed the top spot on the Country and Western chart, the Toronto group arrived on the Hot 100 with the song that would prove to be their biggest hit: “Sh-Boom.” It immediately leapt all the way up to No. 8, knocking another one of their own tunes, “Crazy ’Bout You Baby,” out of the Top 10 – and “Sh-Boom” kept climbing. Just a few weeks after it debuted, the song was sitting at No. 1. It would stay there for the next seven straight weeks and continue to be the most-played song on the radio and on jukeboxes for weeks after that.

So during this week in 1954 – and for a span of seven straight weeks through nearly all of August and September – there were two Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees sitting atop the Billboard charts at the very same time.

“SH-BOOM” BY THE CREW-CUTS

“I DON’T HURT ANYMORE” BY HANK SNOW

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“THE SUMMER OF ’69” IN THE SUMMER OF ’85

More than 30 years after Snow and The Crew-Cuts topped the charts, another Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee found himself sitting high on the Billboard Hot 100. It was during this week in the summer of 1985 that Bryan Adams reached No. 5 with his smash hit “Summer of ’69.” In fact, the nostalgic tune raced up pop charts all over the world: in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Austria….

Even today, three decades after the song was first released, it’s still remembered as one of Adams’ greatest hits. It regularly ranks on best-of lists: the best songs of the ’80s, the best Canadian songs ever and even, quite simply, one of the best songs of all time.

“SUMMER OF ’69” BY BRYAN ADAMS

The Sweet Sounds of the CNE

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By James Sandham

Is it that time already? Ruefully, I must concede it does appear to be so: I got off my train the other day only to be shocked that the Canadian National Exhibition, a.k.a. the death knell of summer, has rolled back into town. Somehow it’s the end of August already. But don’t despair! Luckily the CNE has brought a bunch of great music with it, so before you send the kids off to school, here are a few musical treats you might indulge in (alongside the fair’s infamously, shall we say, less nutritious offerings).

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22: PLATINUM BLONDE @ MOLSON CANADIAN MIDWAY STAGE

Venerable cultural institution that it undoubtedly is, the CNE is nonetheless a little… let’s say kitschy. Perhaps even tacky. And there’s definitely something anachronistic about it. Which is why, of course, you should be heading down there on August 22 to catch Platinum Blonde, Canada’s kings of ’80s new wave. No word on whether they’ll be rocking recreations of their iconic hairstyles, but no matter – while styles like that can come and go, the music, on the other hand, is timeless. Check out their video, below, which earned them one of their first JUNO Award nominations.

Platinum Blonde – “Standing in the Dark”

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 24: SUMMER OF 69 @ MOLSON CANADIAN MIDWAY STAGE

Hey everyone! Check it out – the Canadian Music Hall of Fame’s 2006 inductee will be performing live at the CNE for your listening pleasure! Or, at least, someone similar to him will be. Summer of 69 may be a tribute band, but you’d swear you were listening to Bryan Adams himself.

Bryan Adams – “Summer of ’69”

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 28: DEVIN CUDDY @ MOLSON CANADIAN MIDWAY STAGE

You may be familiar with a little group called Blue Rodeo. They’re only the Canadian Music Hall of Fame’s 2012 inductees, after all! Well frontman Jim Cuddy happens to have spawned a musical offspring and, as much as I’m sure Devin Cuddy would prefer to stand on his own two feet without the incessant references to his dad, the fact remains that if you like his father’s work, you’ll probably like his own brand of country-infused roots-rock.

The Devin Cuddy Band – “Kitchen Knife”

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27: APRIL WINE @ CNE BANDSHELL

Alright. So far on the itinerary we’ve had a Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee tribute band and a Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee’s offspring, but now it’s time for the real deal. April Wine, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame’s 2010 inductees, will be live at the Ex! Not as a tribute, not as an impersonator, but LIVE and in the flesh. I’ve got chills just thinking about it. Just imagine hearing great tunes like the one below while the lights of the midway twinkle behind you. Now that’s what summer memories are made of.

April Wine – “Like a Lover, Like a Song”

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 30: TOM COCHRANE @ CNE BANDSHELL

Finally, on the last Saturday of August – that is, the closing weekend of the CNE – what better way is there to ring in the season’s end than with a performance by Canadian music legend Tom Cochrane? That’s a rhetorical question, obviously, because the only answer is “none” – unless, of course, you could possibly have a performance by TWO Tom Cochranes. That would be admittedly better, strictly from a quantitative standpoint… but guess what? There’s only one! And we’ve got him here, live at the CNE!

Tom Cochrane – “I Wish You Well”

Hope everyone’s summer has been sweet!

This Week in Music History: August 18 to 24

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By Adam Bunch

THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL’S BIGGEST HIT

During the summer of 1966, The Lovin’ Spoonful was at the height of its powers. The group had only been around for a couple of years, but was already one of the most popular bands in the world. The band had first formed as part of the early 1960s folk scene in New York City’s Greenwich Village. American John Sebastian (son of a classical harmonica player) teamed up with Toronto’s Zal Yanovsky (who once lived in a dryer in a Yorkville laundromat, played in a folk-pop band with Mama Cass and fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Papa Denny Doherty, and was also the husband of future “Road To Avonlea” actor Jackie Burroughs). It only took the Spoonful about a year to release its very first single and it was a smash hit: in the summer of 1965, “Do You Believe In Magic” raced up the Billboard charts all the way into the Top 10.

That was just the beginning. “Do You Believe In Magic” was the first of seven straight Lovin’ Spoonful singles to reach the Top 10, including “Daydream,” “You Didn’t Have to Be so Nice” and “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?” The group was one of only two 1960s bands to get off to such an impressive start on the charts. The other was Gary Lewis and The Playboys. Not even The Beatles or The Rolling Stones were able to match their record.

The biggest hit of them all was “Summer in the City.” It was released during the summer of 1966 and nearly 50 years later is still one of the most iconic songs of the season, played on radio stations all over the world when the weather gets warm. During this week in August 1966, the song climbed all the way to the very top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, where it would stay for three consecutive weeks.

Zal Yanovsky was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1996.

“SUMMER IN THE CITY” BY THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL

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THE KING OF THE BANJO

Canada’s “King of the Banjo” was born in New Brunswick during the winter of 1920. His name was Maurice Bolyer. Growing up, he learned to play a wide range of instruments, including the piano, but as a teenager he picked up the one that would make him famous.

By the time he was in his early twenties, Bolyer was making appearances playing banjo on a local radio station, performing with Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Hank Snow. Before long, he would be heard in kitchens and living rooms all across the country as a regular guest on the CBC’s “Tommy Hunter Show” – first on radio and then TV – and then all across the continent thanks to American programs like “The Lawrence Welk Show.” By the time his career came to an end, Bolyer had earned a place as one of the greats in the history of his favourite instrument and in Canadian country music as a whole.

Maurice Bolyer, the King of the Banjo, passed away during this week in 1978.

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