Top Songs of 1966 – #30

the_monkees_single_01_last_train_to_clarksville“Last Train to Clarksville” was the first hit single by The Monkees in 1966. The song was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart who had written hits for Jay & the Americans (“Come a Little Bit Closer”) and Paul Revere and the Raiders (“(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”). They would end up writing many hit songs for The Monkees and also the theme song foe the TV Show.

Much has been written over the years about The Monkees not being able to play their instruments. The truth the four guys were hired as actors and had to spend much time on the recording stage. So most of the music was recorded ahead of time and then after filming the TV show one or more of the group would come in and add vocals. Mike Nesmith had recorded before joining the group but without much success. Peter Tork had played banjo and guitar in Greenwich Village folk clubs before moving to LA. Davy Jones was had achieved some success on the musical stage in New York. He had appeared with the cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show the same night The Beatles made their first appearance. Micky Dolenz had been a child actor and had starred in the Saturday Morning series Circus Boy (under the name “Mickey Braddock”). He would end up doing most of the lead vocals. He didn’t know how to play the drums when he was hired for the TV show but quickly learned.

The Monkees TV show would only last two years but the group lasted until 1971. Even though Davy Jones died in 2012, Dolenz and Tork toured in 2016 as The Monkees. Nesmith only played with them at one concert.

“Last Train to Clarksville” was the top song on the Cash Box record chart for the weeks of Oct. 23 – Nov. 5, 1966. It was on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for just the week of Oct. 30 – Nov. 5. The Monkees will be back on the top of the charts at the end of 1966.

Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #4

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947)  he quotes the first part from an article during the Rochester Centennial of 1912. That would be the centennial of the first permanent settlers in Rochester. There was another centennial in 1934 that was for 100 years since the founding of the city.

Mr. Wilkinson drew the color cartoon and then added a drawing of President Lincoln from a newspaper article.


“On the morning of February 18, 1861, President elect Lincoln passed through Rochester on his way to Washington for his inauguration. In the old railway station on the west side of the Genesee at Mill Street, he emerged from his sleeping car to greet the crowd that welcomed him. His quant form seemed worn with care, but he had the air of a man who was called by duty to a high destiny. The address was brief but every hearer felt that “honest Abe” would do the right thing in the Presidential chair.. The special train bearing Mr. Lincoln and his family, his two secretaries and about 20 other persons arrived Rochester at 7:35 a.m. About 15,000 persons, many came in sleighs from all parts of the county. The train stopped exactly five minutes. The President standing on the rear of the platform gracefully bowing his adieu.” On April 27, 1865 the body of the body of the dead President passed through Rochester on its way to Springfield, Ill. Again a large crowd assembled when the train arrived at 3:00 a.m. A bronze tablet on the wall on Central Avenue reads “near this spot on the morning of Feb. 18, 1861 Abraham Lincoln addressed the citizens of Rochester.” Rochester Centennial – 1912

Old New – Iron Fireman

The Iron Fireman has been atop of the Honeoye Falls Village Hall for 125 years. It was originally a sport for one fire company to capture it from another. Avon tried unsuccessfully to get it back in 1930. The Rush fire company tried to get it in 1938 but they also were unsuccessful.

The Fireman now has blue pants and helmet. Old pictures should that both the pants and helmet used to be a rusty red at one time. He hold a fireman’s trumpet which in the old days were used to signal the volunteers to come to aid at a fire.


Thursday, Oct. 26, 1916

Silver Jubilee of the Iron Man.


Next Saturday, October 28th, is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the “capture” of the Iron Man, the figure of a fireman which adorns the tower of our Village Hall. .This peculiar image has an interesting history

The issue of the Times of October 29, 1891 contains an engraving… which was produced at the time by a local physician, Dr. Dell Browne, now deceased, together with an extended account of the capture. Our artist was one of the hundreds of visitors who called at the store of Park & Son next morning to view the iron figure which was carefully guarded until lifted to its final resting place.

The iron Man had his origin in Hamilton, Canada, and was brought across to Rochester during a fireman’s convention, where the Hamilton firemen were guests. Before leaving for home the Rochester firemen relived their visitors of the trophy. Van Zandt Hose Co. of Avon, who also attended the convention later put up a job to steal the figure from the Rochester men.

The Avon boys placed the “Old hap” on their engine house tower and settled down to congratulate themselves.

A group of adventurous spirits from Honeoye Falls took a notion to play it on the Avon boys. The party went out one night with malice aforethought only to be discovered in their attempt. A week later under cover of darkness they made a second and successful endeavor and came home in the early morning and came home in the early morning greatly elated with their success..

The fellows who made up the party were: L. J. Nickason, B. L. Beach, Henry Hawkins, C. H. park, E. A. Bronson, Charles R. Pierce, W. H. Gates, Will Desmond, Charles Lange and Will Nau.

It was 1:30 a. m. when they reached Avon after a long cold drive. They preceded to business at once, Lange Nicjason and Beach mounting the roof while the rest stood guard as they sawed through the bar of steel.

Cords attached to the wrists of the men at work were arranged to signal in case of their discovery. The boys were interrupted but once by two Erie railway men on their way home from a trip, who stopped to visit for half an hour on the street corner. The looked up at the Iron Man and made some allusions before parting.

A short time later the figure crashed to the ground where strong arms loaded him into the wagon waiting a short distance away. The noise aroused the dwellers nearby but before they could alarm the sleeping citizens the plunderers had disappeared. As they rode on echoes of a melodious voice calling “here Tige,” and a babble of voices following finally died away in the distance.

It was not worth all the fuss, but the fellows enjoyed the sport and from that day till now the Iron Man has been the watchman on the tower whose presence has brooded over the silence of the night and cheered a generation of belated kids on their homeward way..

Top Songs of 1966 – #29

96-tears-1966The next song to go to the top of the record charts in 1966 was “96 Tears” by Question Mark and the Mysterians (or as listed on the record “? and the Mysterians”). The song was written by Question Mark (Rudy Martinez) in 1962 in his manager’s living room and titled “Too Many Teardrops” and then changed to “69 Tears.” He then changed the title again fearing that radio stations wouldn’t play a song with “69” in the titled. The group released a few other singles but they didn’t have much success. That makes the group fall into the category of “one hit wonders.”

“96 Tears” was the top song on the Cash Box record chart for the week of Oct 16 – 22, 1966. It was the top song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week of Oct 23 – 29.

Another Church History

durand-churchI uploaded a 16 page booklet on Durand United Church of Christ on Culver Road in Irondequoit. The booklet served as both a history of the church and 50th anniversary program. They celebrated that anniversary in 1968.  They won’t be celebrating any more anniversaries as the church has been sold and will be destroyed. Part of this building was built in 1930 and a newer part was added in 1953. The lot will become apartments for senior citizens as will St. Salome RC Church across the street.

Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #3

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947)  he quotes the first part a newspaper article from 1837. The former United States Hotel that was built about 1826 still stands at 22 West Main Street. It hasn’t been a hotel for about 100 years.


“On no occasion have we participated in a more pleasant excursion than that enjoyed yesterday, May 11, 1837, upon the event of the completion of the Rochester and Tonawanda Railroad. The morning was delightful and at the hour designated for the departure of the cars they were thronged with our citizens, desirous of participating in the celebration of an event so important to the interests of our city… When we reached the depot, (U. S. Hotel – West Main at Canal) the engine was panting like an impatient war horse and at a given signal it sped forward like a thing of life… Hearty cheers from the multitude scattered along the line of road greeted its progress and gave a thrilling animation to the same.” The excursion was to Batavia and return. A good time has had by all. The old United Hotel Building shown in the picture is still standing. It was the birthplace of the University  of Rochester back in 1850. It was Rochester’s first railroad excursion but not its last. Long live Railroads – Long live Rochester!

Top Songs of 1966 – #28

four-tops-reach-out-1966The Four Tops were the next group to have a top song in 1966. This time their hit was “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” It would be the #4 song of 1966. It would also end up being their signature song. That is Levi Stubbs on the lead vocal. The song was written by the Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland who wrote the majority of Motown songs at that time.

The group (Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton) had been together since High School but originally had served as a back-up group. In 1964 they released “Baby I Need Your Loving” which had only made it to #11 on the Billboard chart. The group was able to stay together until 1997 when Payton died. Then in 2000, Stubbs suffered a stroke and was replaced. Benson died in 2005. The group occasionally preforms but only Fakir is an original member.

“Reach Out… ” would be the top song on the Cash Box record chart for the week of Oct. 9 – 15, 1966. It was the top song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks (Oct. 9 – 22).