Glass Tiger

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Glass Tiger

Glass Tiger

 

One of Canada's most endearing pop groups, Glass Tiger started out as a Southern Ontario bar band called Tokyo, doing their first gig in 1980. Fronted by singer Alan Frew and guitarist Al Connelly, the group was rounded out by Sam Reid on keyboards, Wayne Parker on bass and drummer Michael Hanson. The band was noticed in '84 by Derek Sutton, then-manager of Styx. This relationship eventually led to a deal with Capitol Records that same year.

After altering their image and a name-change, THE THIN RED LINE was released in 1986. Produced by Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams' songwriting partner, the first single, "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone" featured Adams doing back-up vocals. An instant radio staple, the song landed the group it's first #1 hit. "Someday" was released as the second single, followed by the title-track before year's end. Glass Tiger was synonomous with the Junos that year, leaving with three awards that night, including one for best new group. As well, the group received recognition in the US as well that year with a Grammy nomination, also for best new artist.

The new year picked up where '86 left off. "You're What I Look For" and "I Will Be There" helped Glass Tiger sell over 600,000 copies of their debut south of the border, while going four times platinum here in Canada. The instantaneous success of the group was solidified by touring with the likes of The Moody Blues, Tina Turner and Journey throughout the remainder of the year.

The group went back into the studios the following year. The result was DIAMOND SUN. Despite their instant success, the group wasn't totally thrilled with being labelled as nothing more than a sophisticated kiddies' group. So they'd come out of the studio with a heavier, more adult-oriented sound. Produced again by Vallance, DIAMOND SUN still possessed all the clever hooks and slick sounds of the first album. But tracks like "I'm Still Searching", the title song, "Worlds Crumble" and "This Island Earth", a conscienscious song about the fragile state of the planet. In all, 5 singles helped earn Glass Tiger their second multi platinum album. Despite the group's success, Reid and Hanson both left following the band's 1988 tour to pursue solo careers. Due to scheduling conflicts while on the road in '89, the band had to decline the prestigious invitation to play at Wayne Gretzky's wedding that summer.

(trivia question for 50 points - who'd Wayne get as replacements?)

The group took some time off and returned to the studios in the spring of 1990. With new drummer Tony Thompson and now a four-piece, the band's new record SIMPLE MISSION relied more on Connelly's guitar work, with keyboards carefully blended in where needed. New producer Tom Werman's best-known work was with such acts as Motley Crue, glam rockers Poison and gospel rockers Stryper, though Vallance was in on the production to some extent of some songs. Not surprisingly, the majority of SIMPLE MISSION was a basic, but carefully pieced together collection of straight forward songs such as "Animal Heart" and "Rhythm Of Your Love". Still, they stuck to what brought them to the dance when they recorded "My Town" with Rod Stewart, a frolickey little Gaelic-inspired number obviously designed to appease the AM radio crowd.

The band hit the road in '91 with new drummer Randall Coryell. Despite a total of five singles being released, the change in the music business was becoming aware of by the group, as kids were taking more to the far-less sophisticated grunge sound of the early 90's. They packed it up following the tour's end in '92.

Capitol Records released AIR TIME - THE BEST OF THE BEST in 1993 to celebrate the short-lived, but very successful career of one of the country's most talented pop acts to come out in ages. Solo, none of the careers of the members exactly lit the world on fire, though Frew and Hanson did both release solo albums.

A resurge in interest in the group's music, spurred on in part by AM Radio's airplay of a remixed "Someday", resulted in the group reforming in the spring of '99 for a series of gigs across Canada. Met by favourable reviews, they were convinced the crowds were again ready for their brand of well-written pop songs nicely packaged in slick production techniques in the studios, and a live stage presence rivalled by few. The band is currently tieing up loose ends and should be returning to the studios to record a new album some time in the year 2000.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox


Discography

The Thin Red Line
The Thin Red Line (1986)

The Thin Red Line
Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
Closer to You
Vanishing Tribe
Looking at a Picture
The Secret
Ancient Evenings
Ecstacy
Someday
I Will Be There
You're What I Look For

Diamond Sun
Diamond Sun (1988)

Diamond Sun
Far Away From Here
I'm Still Searching
A Lifetime of Moments
It's Love U Feel
My Song
(Watching) Worlds Crumble
Send Your Love
Suffer in Silence
This Island Earth

Simple Mission
Simple Mission (1990)

Blinded
Animal Heart
Let's Talk
Where Did Our Love Go
My Town
The Rhythm of Your Love
Spanish Slumber
Simple Mission
Stand Or Fall
Rescued (By the Arms of Love)
One To One
One Night Alone
(She Said) Love Me Like a Man

Air Time
Air Time - The Best of the Best (1994)

Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
Thin Red Line
Someday
I Will Be There
You're What I Look For
After the Dance (only on Air Time)
Diamond Sun
I'm Still Searching
My Song
(Watching) Worlds Crumble
Animal Heart
Blinded
The Rhythm of Your Love
Rescued (By the Arms of Love)
Simple Mission
My Town
Touch of Your Hand (demo version; only on Air Time)


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