Last week, I had so much fun with the survey from Los Angeles, I decided to go a little further south and west. Almost 7500 miles south and west, to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. I found a survey for radio station 2SM from May 17, 1963, 55 years and one day ago, on a site that’s bound to become one of my favorites, ARSA – The Airheads Radio Survey Archive. Their survey includes a few American songs, but mostly songs from Australia and Great Britain. Hope you like it.
- Rob E. G., “Jezebel” Robie Porter, who had been recording under the stage name Rob E. G. since 1959, specialized in instrumental hits played on the lap steel guitar. A year after this was recorded, Brian Epstein convinced Rob to move to England. More recently, he has produced albums for a number of British and Australian artists, including Tommy Emmanuel.
- Gene Pitney, “Mecca” Speaking of Gene Pitney, which we were earlier this week, he had a hit in Sydney with this record. It climbed to #7 on the Australian chart and was a #12 in the US.
- Jay Justin, “Proud Of You” Jay Justin was a “shoe salesman-cum-pop singer,” according to the site Rate Your Music, who first hit the Australian charts with “Why Don’t You Try” in 1961. “Proud Of You” was his biggest hit, going all the way to #1 in Australia. It was released in the US, but didn’t get much airplay here (remember, those were the payola days here).
- Mel Tormé, “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” The Velvet Fog wraps his vocal folds around a Vince Guaraldi song that didn’t have lyrics until Carel Werber wrote them.
- The Chantays, “Pipeline” Surfing is hot around Sydney, from what I remember, so it stands to reason that surf music would be popular as well. This was The Chantays’ only hit anywhere, but it’s considered one of the great surf records.
- Cliff Richard & The Shadows, “Summer Holiday” Sir Cliff and Hank Marvin and crew had a #1 hit in the UK with this, and it reached #3 in Australia as well. Naturally, it failed to chart in the US.
- Peter, Paul & Mary, “Puff, The Magic Dragon” I remember hearing my brother Jim singing this in his sleep when we were on vacation in 1963. That’s how big a hit this was. It was #2 in the US; while I don’t have any information on its chart performance in Australia, we can assume that it was as big there. Leonard Lipton, who wrote the original poem, and Peter Yarrow, who set it to music, pinky-swear this has nothing to do with dope. Uh huh…
- Peggy March, “I Will Follow Him” The song was originally recorded by Franck Pourcel as the instrumental “Chariot,” which he and Paul Mauriat wrote. Norman Gimbel wrote the English lyrics to it, and Little Peggy March had a #1 hit with it in both the US and Australia. The movie Sister Act imparted a whole new meaning to it.
- The Shadows, “Foot Tapper” Hank Marvin & The Shadows are another of those bands that’s enormously popular in the UK and practically unheard of in the US (unless you’re a fan of instrumental rock played on Fender Stratocasters). This was a #1 in the UK and #2 in Australia.
- Bill Justis, “Tamouré” Bill was best known for his song “Raunchy”. “Tamouré” was his biggest hit in Australia, but didn’t chart in the US, except in Chicago, where it reached #7 on WLS’s Silver Dollar Survey.
And that’s your Friday 5×2 for May 18, 2017.