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December 25, 2021 - JS - Christmas


Rockin' Remnants

Rockin' Remnants is broadcast from WVBR-FM Ithaca. Check out our webpage, like us on Facebook, and tune in to 93.5 or stream the show every Saturday night from 6-9pm! (Or download the WVBR+ app now available for iOS and Android!)


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Date:  12/25/21

Host:  John Simon

Feature:  Christmas



A cozy Christmas night with your radio on. We'll play a smattering of Christmas tunes, and we'll delve into the Billboard chart of December 25, 1964 for starters.




·      yellow song titles are YouTube links

·      songs with * were requests

·      all chart information comes from the Billboard Top 100 (for chart dates before/during July 1958) or Billboard Hot 100 (for chart dates during/after Aug 1958) unless otherwise noted

·      a glossary of terms is below the playlist






OPENING THEME:  Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll – Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys (1969, #29, produced by Jimi Hendrix)


Downtown - Petula Clark (at #41, headed for two weeks at #1 - this was her first charting record here in the States, but she'd already had 15 hits in the UK starting in 1954!)

Downtown - 1964 Original Release With Petula Clark - song by Downtown, The  OUTpsiDER, Petula Clark | Spotify


Goin' Out of My Head - Little Anthony & The Imperials (peaking this week at #6 - from the pen of Teddy Randazzo, who wrote most of the group's hits. This was their biggest, and tonight we hear the very rare mono 45 mix.)


Almost There - Andy Williams (just off, after two weeks at #66 - this was tucked on the b-side of On the Street Where You Live, and was from the film I'd Rather Be Rich.)

Almost There - Song Lyrics and Music by Andy Williams arranged by  dustin8388 on Smule Social Singing app


Across the Street (Is a Million Miles Away) - Ray Peterson (peaking at #106 - this one shoulda been a hit! Ray Stevens was the producer, and it had all of the key ingredients - but the British Invasion was wiping out the American competition.)


Kiss & Run - Bobby Skel (peaking at #108 on the Cashbox chart - this one made some noise in NYC on WMCA, but didn't really catch on nationally. Too bad  -  it's a pretty tasty record.)

Bobby Skel - Say It Now / Kiss And Run - Soft - USA - S-826 - 45cat


Amen - The Impressions (at #12, headed to #7 - Curtis Mayfield was really good at creating Gospel-flavored hits. This one is flat-out a Christmas record with a thumping drum beat and splashes of horns.)


Little Drummer Boy - Harry Simeone Chorale (12/58; #13 Pop - tonight we hear the original 1958 version in first-time stereo. Apologies to all of you who are playing the "Little Drummer Boy Challenge" and trying to avoid hearing this one on your radio. You lose, but you also win! FYI, it's ranked at #14 on the all-time Christmas Billboard chart.)

45cat - The Harry Simeone Chorale - The Little Drummer Boy / Die Lorelei -  20th Fox - USA - 45-121


Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms (12/58; #25 Pop - here's another one in first-time stereo tonight. It would chart again in 1960 and 1961 and 1962, and is a perennial holiday staple.)


Hard Candy Christmas - Dolly Parton (11/82; #8 C&W - this one was never intended to be a "Christmas record," but it kicks off a four-song "lonely Christmas" set for you. It originally appeared in the motion picture "The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas," and has become a perennial holiday favorite.)

Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton on Amazon Music -


I Wish You Could Be Here - The Cyrkle (2/67; #70 - Paul Simon was the writer, John Simon was the producer, and it captures the wistful crackling-fire sense of the season.)

The Cyrkle – I Wish You Could Be Here (1967, Vinyl) - Discogs


Please Come Home for Christmas - Charles Brown (12/60; #21 R&B - in addition to inspiring successful covers by The Eagles, Willie Nelson and Bon Jovi, this one appeared on the Billboard Christmas chart Top Ten every year from 1963-1973. Tonight we hear it in first-time stereo.)


All Alone at Christmas - Darlene Love (12/93; #83 - this was composed and arranged by Steven Van Zandt, and is backed by the E Street Band. It's a nod to her classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and was featured in the film "Home Alone II.")


I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Diana Ross & The Supremes and Temptations (12/68; #2 Pop and R&B for three weeks - this was a pairing of two of Motown's biggest groups, and was featured on their TV special called "TCB.")

100 Diana Ross and The Supremes and The Temptations ideas in 2021 | diana  ross, diana, ross


Never Gonna Fall In Love Again - Eric Carmen (5/76; #11- he was the leader of the hard-rockin' band called The Raspberries, but he had a terrific sense of melody and arranging, and this is a classic example of his softer side.)






 Birthday Calendar


December 19 – Maurice White (EWF) – 1944

            – Zal Yanovsky (Lovin' Spoonful) – 1944


December 20 – Kim Weston – age 82


December 21 – Carla Thomas – age 79

            – Carl Wilson (Beach Boys) – 1946


December 22 – Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees) – 1949

            – Robin Gibb (Bee Gees) – 1949


December 23 – Jorma Kaukonen – age 81

            – Tim Hardin – 1941

            – Eugene Record (Chi-Lites) – 1940


December 24 – Lee Dorsey – 1924


December 25 – Noel Redding (JHE) – 1945

            – Jimmy Buffet – age 75




Do You Believe In Magic - Lovin' Spoonful (8/65; #9 - this was their first charting single, and the centerpiece is Zal's shimmering guitar break. They only lasted for three years, but they were a significant presence on AM radio, and were actually approached to appear in a new television series about four zany young musicians trying to break through. They declined, so the show creators put out an open casting call and found four "other" Monkees.)

Do You Believe in Magic by The Lovin' Spoonful (Album, Pop Rock): Reviews,  Ratings, Credits, Song list - Rate Your Music


Helpless - Kim Weston (3/66; #56 Pop, #13 R&B - her greatest success was as a duet partner with Marvin Gaye, but she cut some solid records on her own, backed by The Funk Brothers in the Motown "Snake Pit" studio.)


Fantasy - Earth, Wind & Fire (2/78; #38 Pop, #12 R&B - Maurice White had already built a career as the session drummer for Chess Records, and done a stint with the Ramsey Lewis Trio, but his greatest success came as the leader and writer/arranger for this seminal supergroup.)


Gee Whiz, It's Christmas - Carla Thomas (12/63; #3 Xmas - this was a re-working of her first big hit Gee Whiz. Co-written with Steve Cropper, I think that it's just as good.)

Gee Whiz, It's Christmas by Carla Thomas on TIDAL


Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys (2/63; #3 Xmas - Carl was the guitar player and occasional singer for this band of brothers-and-a-cousin, and this is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Please forgive me.)


How Deep Is Your Love - Bee Gees (12/77; #1 for three weeks - by the end of 1978, these guys were on top of the world. All three brothers claimed writers' credit for this one, and it was a nice Christmas bonus for them when the royalty checks started pouring in.)

The Number Ones: The Bee Gees' “How Deep Is Your Love”


Water Song - Hot Tuna (4/72; B-side - this is Jorma's signature tune, and it hitched a ride on the back of Keep On Truckin' back in 1972. The single only made it to #108 on the Cashbox chart, but both sides received lots of airplay on FM stations, including on WVBR for over forty years.)


Oh, Girl - Chi-Lites (5/72; #1 Pop and R&B - Eugene Record was the driving force behind this Chicago group, writing, arranging, producing and singing lead on all of their big hits. This was their biggest, and yes: it's his real name!)

The Chi-Lites | Chi lites, Rhythm and blues, Gospel music


Reason to Believe - Tim Hardin (1966; dnc - Tim Hardin was a fixture on the NY Folk scene, and would appear on stage at Woodstock a few years later. This song would later be covered by Rod Stewart and sell a ton of records as the flip side of Maggie May. Here's his original recording.)


If I Were a Carpenter - Bobby Darin (9/66; #8 - Tim Hardin also wrote this one, which resuscitated Bobby's career. Bobby would then offer him one of HIS compositions and that - ironically - would be Tim Hardin's only charting single.)

45cat - Bobby Darin - If I Were A Carpenter / Rainin' - Atlantic - USA -  45-2350 45cat - Tim Hardin - Simple Song Of Freedom / Question Of Birth - Columbia  - USA - 4-44920


Ya Ya - Lee Dorsey (8/61; #7 Pop, #1 R&B - Lee was born in New Orleans and the family moved to Oregon when he was ten, but he never forgot his roots. This novelty number was his biggest hit on the R&B chart.)


Volcano - Jimmy Buffet (12/79; #66 - Jimmy has had some bigger hits, but this novelty number deserves to be heard again. It was released three days before his 33rd birthday.)


The Wind Cries Mary - Jimi Hendrix Experience (5/67; #6 UK, #379 RS500 - Noel Redding was recruited to play bass when Jimi landed in England. This one wasn't released as a single in The States, but it was a big hit over there - and would become a staple of FM radio.)

SpecialRelease | RECORD STORE DAY


We Gotta Get Out of This Place - Animals (8/65; #13, #235 RS500 - bass player Chas Chandler would leave the band to manage the Jimi Hendrix Experience in a year or so, but his bass line opens this killer tune that became an anthem for US troops bogged down in the jungles of Vietnam. It still packs a wallop today.)


Tony Rome - Nancy Sinatra (12/67; #83 - how many girls get to sing the theme song for their dad's latest motion picture? This one is sassy and swingin' and peaking on this date in 1967.)

Nancy Sinatra – Tony Rome (Vinyl) - Discogs





Merry Christmas Baby - Charles Brown (#4 Xmas - this one inspired successful covers by Otis Redding and Bruce Springsteen, but here's the original - actually recorded in 1947! Tonight it's in first-time stereo and sounding fresh and new.)


I Feel Fine - Beatles (at #1 for three weeks - The Supremes were holding down the #1 slot, but the Beatles came roaring up the chart and dethroned them for the next three weeks. Featuring John Lennon's opening guitar feedback line, this is a killer.)

I Feel Fine (US version)” (1964) – The Beatles – Song ID Blog


I'll Be Around - The Spinners (10/72; #3 Pop, #1 R&B for five weeks - after floundering at Motown for six or seven years, these guys relocated to Philly and landed at Atlantic Records, where they became one of the hottest groups of the Seventies. This record was arranged by Thom Bell, and is one of their finest.)


This Diamond Ring - Gary Lewis & The Playboys (bubbling under, headed for two weeks at #1 - the Liberty Records PR people claimed that these teens were discovered playing at Disneyland, but the fix was in: Gary's dad was Jerry Lewis, and he was well-connected in the biz. Still, this was an amazing debut record. Leon Russell led the studio band, and had the perfect formula. Their next 8 singles would reach the Top Ten!)


* You're All I Want for Christmas - Brook Benton (11/63; #3 Xmas - listener Tom Preston used to be a WVBR DJ and played this one back in 1964, dedicated to his then-sweetheart. They're still together, so it looks like he got his wish!)


Forever - Pete Drake and His Talking Steel Guitar (3/64; #25 - Pete Drake was one of Nashville's "A-Team" session players, and most of his buddies were on this record. His custom-designed "voice box" would later be used to great effect by Peter Frampton, but that's another story for another time. Check out the video!)


Longer - Dan Fogelberg (12/79; #2 - one of the prettiest ballads ever. Merry Christmas!)


Lost Her In the Sun - John Stewart (12/79; #34 - after the Kingston Trio, John Stewart soldiered on alone, writing, recording and touring. This was one of three big singles plucked from his Bombs Away Dream Babies LP.)

John Stewart – “Lost Her In The Sun” EVERY EIGHTIES SONG ANALYZED


Those Were the Days - Mary Hopkin (9/68; #2 for three weeks, #1 UK for five weeks - Apple Records launched by releasing two singles simultaneously in September of 1968. This was the big hit in the UK. The other was called Hey Jude, and that was the big winner over here. That's also why this one was stuck at #2 for three weeks!)


Scarborough Fair - Simon & Garfunkel (3/68; #11 - twinkling bells, delicate fingerpicking, a medieval sensibility: this always felt like a Christmas record to me. JR played it a few months ago and posted this video. I'm re-posting it, because it's so frickin' cool.)


Love Is Blue (L'Amour Est Bleu) - Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra (3/68; #1 for five weeks - this was a big hit at the same time that Scarborough Fair was on the radio. It was France's entry into the Eurovision song contest that year, and went onto become one of the biggest hits of the year.)

Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra - Blooming Hits - Music


Let's Lock the Door and Throw Away the Key - Jay & The Americans (at #81, headed to #11 - Jay Traynor had left the group after their first big hit, but that left the door open for Jay Blatt. He changed his name to Jay Black, and the rest is history. Sing along!)


Come See About Me - Supremes (at #2 for three weeks, headed back to #1 after vacating for the Beatles - their previous two singles had reached #1 and their next two would, as well - and all of this was in the thick of the British Invasion. There was no stopping this trio of kids from Detroit's Brewster-Douglass projects.)


* Silent Night - Temptations (1979 - listener Tom Preston requested this one and said "Upon hearing the Temptations unorthodox version of “Silent Night,” my reaction was, if you don’t think Melvin Franklin was one of the best bass men to ever walk the face of the earth, you’re wrong!")

Melvin Franklin | Celebrity Graveland


What Are You Doing Christmas Eve - Nancy Wilson (12/65; #17 Xmas - and we close tonight's show with the annual million-dollar question, as posed by the classy and stylish Ms. Wilson. Whatever you do, be safe and take good care of yourselves. And tune in the next night to visit with Gregory James.)




CLOSING THEME:  Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny (1959, #1 for two weeks)



Glossary of Terms:

dnc = did not chart

nr = not released as a single at the time

AC = Billboard’s chart for “Adult Contemporary” records

BB = Billboard Magazine, which publishes the Hot 100 chart (previously known as the Top 100), along with several other charts

Bubbling Under = songs that were ranked but fell below the top 100

C&W = Billboard’s chart for “Country & Western” records

R&B = Billboard’s chart for “Rhythm & Blues” records

RRHOF = Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

RS500 = Rolling Stone Magazine’s ranked list of the top 500 singles of all-time





Host Next Week (1/1/22):  Gregory James with a spotlight on Endings and New Beginnings




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