Events in Canadian Rock
For the month of
April 1, 1972 - Anne Murray peaked at #1 on the Canadian charts with Cotton Jenny, the same day the song entered the US charts where it fell well short of its Canadian placing, peaking, eventually, at #71.
April 1, 1972 - The 5 Man Electrical Band peaked in the Canadian top 20 with the single Julianne. Though not one of their most memorable hits, it stands as another example of just how strong a writer Les Emmerson was.
April 1, 1991 - Jeff Healey peaked in the Canadian top 40 with How Long Can a Man Be Strong. This was his second ballad hit, and consolidated Healey as more than just a bluesman.
April 1, 1991 - Keven Jordan peaked in the Canadian top 40 with No Sign of Rain. The Stratford-based pop singer had an excellent first album, but seemed to disappear very quickly from the Canadian scene.
April 2, 1977 - Burton Cummings peaked in the Canadian charts with I'm Scared, his second solo single. Though Burton's solo work has always received airplay, it may have fallen short at the sales counter, as only five of his sixteen singles cracked the top 20.
April 2, 1977 - Klaatu's Calling Occupants entered the US charts. The band, who chose to not put any personal information into their bios or on the record sleeve, had enough of a Beatlish sound that rumours abounded about their being the Beatles recording under another identity. Record sales soared and airplay was strong until, as a public service, Dwight Douglas, a radio personality at WDRC-FM who went to the Library of Congress and then spilled the story to Rolling Stone, who then published the band's real names. Sales dropped quickly, but the band managed a few more years simply because the records were great.
April 2, 1984 - Corey Hart peaked in the Canadian top 30 with his debut single, Sunglasses at Night. The Montreal pop-rocker soon became the nation's biggest teen idol but moved away from the up tempo tunes and into sappy ballads when they proved to sell better than the rockers. These days he works as a record producer and on his own projects, perhaps anticipating a comeback.
April 2, 1990 - Paul Janz peaked in the Canadian top ten with Every Little Tear. The Vancouver artist began his career with his brothers in a band called Deliverance which was a Christian rock band and even scored a US Hot 100 hit with Leaving L.A. at that time, but his solo work left the songs of praise behind.
April 2, 1997 - Singer Joni Mitchell is reunited with Kilauren Gibb, the daughter she gave up for adoption 32 years earlier.
April 3, 1943 - Richard Manuel was born. The Stratford native joined the Hawks in the early 60s and left with the rest of them to form the band later known as The Band. He was one of the group's three lead singers, and had a voice that was soulful in the way that Bill Monroe had soul. When The Band reformed, minus Robbie Robertson, and began touring again to great notice, all came to a crashing halt when Richard hung himself in a Florida hotel room.
April 3, 1968 - Sebastian Bach was born. He took his good looks and aggressively high vocals to the US with the band Skid Row, scoring a pair of top ten hits in 1989 and 1990. More recently he has been working as frontman for another band that features former members of other hit groups.
April 3, 1971 - The Poppy Family entered the US charts with I Was Wondering. In Canada it was the B-side of Where Evil Grows which was sung by Terry, but Stateside, where Susan's voice was the better known, they flipped it.
April 3, 1971 - Anne Murray peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Stranger In My Place.
April 3, 1976 - Joni Mitchell peaked in the Canadian top 20 with In France They Kiss On Main Street from one of her finest albums, The Hissing of Summer Lawns. By this time, Joni had embraced jazz music as part of her style, but this album went further back, calling upon traditional African rhythms as a base for most of the songs.
April 3, 1976 - Charity Brown peaked in the Canadian top 10 with her cover of Anyway You Want It. Originally recorded by American Evie Sands, the song was written by Chip Taylor, brother of Jon Voight (the actor) and also writer of Angel In the Morning (now a hit again for Shaggy) and hard rock perennial Wild Thing.
April 3, 1982 - Gordon Lightfoot entered the US charts with one of his more rhythmic numbers, Baby Step Back. He was best known, of course, for his big ballads in the States, but this one, by Lightfoot's standards, was decidedly funky.
April 3, 1989 - Sheriff peaked in the Canadian top ten for the 2nd time with When I'm With You. The song had failed in the US five years earlier when it had its first run in this country, but somebody, somewhere, hauled it out and began playing it at the end of 88 and it went on to become a major hit south of the border, prompting Capitol Canada to push it all over again. The group did not reform, so the band Alias was formed in their stead.
April 3, 1989 - Kon Kan peaked in the Canadian top ten with a disco version of Lynn Anderson's Rose Garden, retitled I Beg Your Pardon. The group with the name that made fun of CanCon was actually a couple of music student/deejays from Hamilton who were never able to duplicate their success, but this one worked real good.
April 4, 1970 - Andy Kim peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Friend in the City. Andy's producer at the time, Jeff Barry, was concerned that Andy didn't have the tools as a writer so his biggest hits were remakes of Barry compositions. Andy had the last laugh when his song, Sugar Sugar, became the most successful song of the year through The Archies.
April 4, 1970 - Ronnie Hawkins peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Down In the Alley. The song represented his rockin'est track since the Bo Diddley/Who Do You Love days, and was recorded in Muscle Shoals with such as Duane Allman lending instrumental support.
April 4, 1983 - Luba peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Everytime I See Your Picture.
April 4, 1988 - Robbie Robertson, who never took a lead vocal on a Band album, peaked in the Canadian charts with Showdown at Big Sky. The Daniel Lanois produced album was a masterpiece and established him as a solo artist of the highest order.
April 5, 1965 - Bobby Curtola peaked in the Canadian top 5 with his version of Mean Woman Blues. At the time he was Canada's biggest pop star but his version pales when compared to earlier recordings by Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. No shame there, but top 5?
April 5, 1969 - The Guess Who entered the US charts with the song that would break them through south of the border, These Eyes. If Jack Richardson did one thing with this group it was to bring Burton's vocal abilities to the forefront, noticeable in this song by the scat-vocal fade on the song.
April 5, 1980 - Trooper peaked in the Canadian top ten with Janine. This band was a discover of none other than Randy Bachman, who recorded them on his own Legend Records label. They were embraced by Canadians as one of the best bands in the country at the time, and deservedly so, and have been able to maintain the identity to this day as one of the most entertaining bands in the country.
April 5, 1980 - Red Rider entered the US charts with White Hot from their debut self-titled album. Originally a country rock outfit, the inclusion of Tom Cochrane into their lineup changed the band's direction considerably. They had ten great years, albeit with a number of lineup changes, before Tom finally phased out the band identity and went back to being a solo artist, although there have been rumours of late that a Red Rider reunion is a strong possibility.
April 6, 1941 - Henry Burr, a classical artist and the first Canadian to sell a million records, died.
April 6, 1957 - The Diamonds peaked at #2 in the US charts with Little Darlin'. The Toronto quartet went into rock and roll with their tongue in their collective cheek, and came out with a career that still sees two of the originals on the road reaping the rewards more than forty years later.
April 7, 1908 - The late Percy Faith is born in Montreal. He went on to score dozens of movies and, as a result, had a couple of #1 records, most notably, Theme From a Summer Place.
April 7, 1969 - The 5th Dimension topped the charts in Canada with their version of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, co-written by Canadian Galt McDermott from the Broadway play, Hair.
April 7, 1979 - Claudja Barry peaked in the Canadian top 10 with Boogie Woogie Dancing Shoes. The track actually broke through in the dance clubs first, including such as Studio 54 in New York City before finally making it to the airwaves on both sides of the border.
April 7, 1990 - Farm Aid IV is held at the Indiana Hoosierdome. Performers include Neil Young, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Elton John, John Mellencamp, Guns N' Roses and Jackson Browne.
April 8, 1967 - Buffalo Springfield peaked in the Canadian top 5 while the Lovin' Spoonful peaked in our top ten with For What It's Worth and Darling Be Home Soon, respectively. While both groups were based in the US, in LA and NYC respectively, both owed a lot of their success to the presence within of Canadian players. Springfield featured Neil Young, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin, while the Spoonful had Zal Yanovsky.
April 8, 1972 - Neil Young topped the Canadian charts with the biggest hit of his career, Heart of Gold. The album from which it was pulled, Harvest, was his most successful album ever until, a few years ago, he revisited that territory with Harvest Moon.
April 8, 1973 - Neil Young's docu-autobiography, "Journey through the Past," premieres at the US Film Festival in Dallas. Young is typically ambiguous when describing the film, a bunch of scenes and images throughout his career: "It's a collection of thou ghts. Every scene meant something to me -- although with some of them I can't say what."
April 8, 1978 - April Wine peaked in the Canadian top 50 with Rock'n'Roll is a Vicious Game.
April 8, 1978 - Heart entered the US charts with Heartless which almost marked the end of their identity as a Canadian band. They were already living in the States when this was released, and Dog and Butterfly, a few months later, was also considered a Cancon single. They would not have another until they covered Brian Allen and Sharon Alton's What About Love.
April 8, 1978 - Doucette entered the US charts with his all time classic, Mama Let Him Play. Despite the relative invisibility of the artist on a national scale, this song remains a staple of classic rock radio airplay today.
April 8, 1985 - Honeymoon Suite peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Stay In the Light. It was the third of four singles to be released from their debut album, joining New Girl Know, Burning in Love, and Wave Babies.
April 8, 1991 - Candi became a one hit wonder when Good Together peaked in the Canadian top twenty. She and her group were, basically, a wedding band.
April 8, 1991 - The Dream Warriors peaked in the Canadian top 20 with one of this country's earliest hip hop successes, My Definition (of a Boombastic Style). Using the song that was the theme for the old Definition game show on CTV (actually a Burt Bacharach instrumental) they brought elements of the Caribbean into their work and helped pave the way for later artists such as Snow.
April 8, 1991 - Celine Dion peaked in the Canadian top ten with one of her first breakthroughs, Where Does My Heart Beat Now. It went top five in the States soon after and she was established as one of the hot new voices on the scene after years of stardom in Quebec singing exclusively in French.
April 9, 1966 - The Lovin' Spoonful peaked at #2 in the US charts while another US-based group featuring a Canadian, The Mamas and the Papas entered with their second hit, Monday Monday. Interestingly, the Canadians involved in each group (Zal Yanovsky and Denny Doherty respectively) had, at one time, been in a band called the Mugwumps in New York City that also featured Cass Elliott and John Hendricks.
April 9, 1977 - Gordon Lightfoot peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Race Among the Ruins. Though it was a hit at the time, it is less known now, not being typical of his style. It has been covered quite well by Positively Stompin'.
April 9, 1984 - Sherry Kean peaked in the Canadian top 20 with I Want You Back. Sherry had, initially, been part of Toronto's punk scene, but by the time of this record was aiming straight at the pop mainstream.
April 9, 1988 - Robbie Robertson, days after Showdown at Big Sky peaked in the Canadian charts, repeated the feat with Somewhere Down the Crazy River. Two magazines, two different charts, two different agendae.
April 9, 1990 - Canada had its first homegrown rap star when Maestro Fresh Wes' Let Your Backbone Slide peaked at #1 on the domestic charts. Wes is still around but he is just, simply, Maestro now.
April 10, 1971 - The Bells peak at #1 in Canada with their biggest hit, Stay Awhile, removing them from the Holiday Inn circuit for years. In fact, the band launched two successful solo careers from within its membership in Frank Mills and Cliff Edwards, and songwriter Ken Tobias benefitted mightily from his association with the band as well.
April 10, 1971 - Neil Young entered the US charts with When You Dance I Can Really Love. The power of the guitar in this track, on which he was backed by Crazy Horse, became somewhat of a trademark for Neil, extending the crunch of Cinnamon Girl, and the volume considerably.
April 10, 1971 - The Stampeders peaked at #2 in the Canadian charts with Carry Me. When the group first moved east from Calgary, they were a six-piece, but all their hits came when they pared down to trio size. Carry Me was their first top ten hit, but its successor would reach #1 in Canada and top ten internationally.
April 10, 1971 - Chilliwack peaked in the Canadian chart with Sundown. Though it only reached #54 it was their biggest hit to that date, but that would all change before the end of the year when they scored their first top ten. In subsequent years their journey from progressive rock to mainstream pop would be similar to that of Genesis, and gave them a very lengthy career as chartmakers, second only to April Wine, although the Tragically Hip are gaining.
April 10, 1976 - Gino Vannelli peaked in the Canadian charts with Keep On Walking. Though signed directly to A&M US, Gino was still known best in this country. Within a year he would break through as a superstar in the States as well.
April 10, 1982 - Loverboy entered the US charts with When It's Over. The power ballad would become their second US top 30 hit, and further establish them as one of the most successful rock bands in the world at the time.
April 10, 1995 - Ashley MacIsaac teamed up with dance specialists BKS to play fiddle on their dancefloor hit, The Square Dance Song, which entered the Canadian charts on this day.
April 10, 1995 - The Headstones entered the Canadian charts on this day with their Teeth and Tissue album. The Kingston-based band was firmly establishing itself as one of the top alternative bands in the country, and, soon after, the lead singer for the band starred in Bruce MacDonald's chronicle of the punk rock music business, Hard Core Logo.
April 11, 1966 - Little Caesar and the Consuls peaked in the Canadian top 20 with You Laugh Too Much. At the time RPM was a new magazine, and that it grew out of a fairly tight musical community of small label owners, booking agents and artist managers. Little Caesar, not to take anything away from them, were a part of this community, and many times records made the charts without being heard anywhere in the country but Toronto, and, it might be argued, only occasionally there. Still, it kickstarted an industry and most of us have benefitted as a result.
April 11, 1970 - Steppenwolf, by now living in the US but still considered Canadian by birth, entered the US charts with Hey Lawdy Mama. It only received one point in the MAPL Cancon designation that would soon come in to play, and that was the A for artist, but anything at least one part before the rules came into effect still qualifies.
April 11, 1983 - Men Without Hats peaked in the Canadian top 20 with The Safety Dance. Within months, the song would make it all the way to #3 in the Billboard chart.
April 12, 1944 - Joachim Krauledat was born in Prussia province but, along with his parents, emigrated to Canada in the early 50s. There he fell in love with the blues, changed his name to John Kay, and became frontman for Jack London's former band, The Sparrows, who soon became Sparrow and then Steppenwolf.
April 12, 1954 - Pat Travers was born.
April 12, 1971 - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's li ve "Four Way Street" is certified gold even before it hits the LP chart. The double record set makes it to Number One giving the quartet the distinction of two Number One albums in two tries. It's the last LP the four will record together.
April 12, 1973 - Rolling Stone reports a Buffalo Springfield reunion may be in the works. Says original member Richie Furaym now with Poco, "It's all up to Neil right now." Stephen Stills have given his consent as has the original bassist Bruce Palmer and drummer Dewey Martin. The reunion doesn't happen.
April 12, 1975 - Gino Vannelli peaked in the Canadian top 40 with the second hit and title track from his breakthrough album in this country, Powerful People. Gino was signed directly to A&M US by Herb Alpert who had produced an earlier album for Gino, and then, wisely, turned it over to Gino and his brother for this one. Gino now lives in Portland, as does drummer Graham Lear, and they are working on tracks together.
April 13, 1974 - Gary and Dave peak in the Canadian top 30 with I Fell in Love With You Sometime. It was the second hit in a row for the duo who were, at the time, still students at UWO in London. Their first hit went all the way to #1 (Could You Ever Love Me Again), but the pair packed it in when they were offered an opportunity to be pilots for Air Canada.
April 13, 1974 - Gordon Lightfoot entered the US charts with Sundown. It was a warning to someone to stay away from the singer's woman, and we have it on good authority that it came from real life.
April 13, 1974 - Murray McLauchlan peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Linda Won't You Take Me In. This was the first time Murray had charted with a song that was about boy/girl stuff, as he had only had success before with songs about human mortality, farmers, and the state of the world.
April 13, 1974 - Lighthouse peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Can You Feel It. By this time, Bob McBride had left the band, and Skip Prokop, for a short while, stepped up to the front of the stage to take over lead vocals. These days, he's back on the skins and Danny Clancy handles all the old hits, although this one doesn't seem to show up in the set list anymore.
April 13, 1974 - Bill Amesbury peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Virginia, a pretty good pop that seemed to be inspired equally by The Tremeloes/Cat Stevens' Here Comes My Baby and Steve Stills' Love the One You're With. Amesbury was a great talent and is still writing, but his/her first name is now Barbara.
April 14, 1969 - Steppenwolf peaked in the Canadian top 5 with Rock Me. Though an original composition, some copies of this, initially, credited B.B. King and J. Taub as writers because of an earlier composition with the same title.
April 14, 1973 - James Leroy, another Ottawa based act, peaked in the Canadian top ten with his debut single Touch of Magic. James toured with an act called Denim which featured some of the best players in the country at the time.
April 14, 1973 - Les Emmerson peaked in the Canadian top 5 with Control Of Me. He had broken away from the 5 Man Electrical Band to create more pop- than rock-oriented singles, and Control of Me fit the bill. A ballad featuring a near-falsetto vocal it caught here, but fell short of the top 50 Stateside. Though there were three more Canadian charters, they all failed to enter the US charts, and the experiment ended quietly.
April 14, 1973 - Valdy peaked in the Canadian top ten with a good song called Good Song. Less well known than much of his other material, it is still his only top ten record.
April 14, 1986 - During the 80s everyone conceded that Columbia Records had the worst A&R department in the country. Occasionally they signed an act, and then applied all their resources to the project, but few had second hits. This year it was a band called Cats Can Fly and their single Flippin' To the A-Side peaked in the top ten on this day.
April 15, 1973 - Edward Bear entered the US charts with another wimpy ballad called Close Your Eyes. It was the immediate followup to The Last Song, and though it went top five in this country, it barely made the top 40 south of the border, virtually ending their international career.
April 15, 1979 - Claudja Barry entered the US charts with Boogie Woogie Dancing Shoes. It was one of two hits she had that started in the clubs and worked their way onto radio.
April 16, 1984 - Manfred Mann, the British band known for interpreting such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, peaked in the Canadian top 20 with their only Cancon hit, Runner, written by Ian Thomas. It was a hot year for Ian with covers also happening by Chicago, America and Santana.
April 16, 1999 - One of rock music's true characters, Skip Spence, died. The Windsor native and former resident of Vancouver played guitar but was discovered by Marty Balin in a club in San Francisco and was immediately drafted as the drummer for the first Jefferson Airplane album because Marty felt he "looked like a drummer". He left after the first LP to join up with some Seattle cronies to form a new band called Moby Grape, thereby assuring his place in rock and roll history. That band's debut album, Wow, was a masterpiece and though the group never repeated that success, it was an album that earned its title.
April 17, 1944 - Bobby Curtola, Canada's first domestic rock and roll star, was born. Both Paul Anka and Jack Scott predated Bobby with chart hits, as did a couple of bands and vocal groups, but Curtola's stardom was limited to Canada only, proving to many that we could have an industry in this country that wasn't totally dependent on making it in the US. Hundreds of artists since appreciate Bobby leading the way, or, at least, would, if they were old enough to know who he was.
April 17, 1971 - Ocean peaked in the Canadian top ten with their biggest hit, Put Your Hand in the Hand. The song was written by Gene MacLellan, and Ocean first heard it on an Anne Murray album, with whom, at the time, they shared a label (Arc Records). It went on to become a top ten hit in the States as well, but they were never able to repeat the success despite numerous chart entries here in Canada.
April 17, 1971 - Joe Cocker peaked in the Canadian charts with the first of what would be many Cancon singles for the Sheffield, UK native. Leonard Cohen was the source and the song was Bird On a Wire which has been covered by many international artists since.
April 17, 1971 - The Guess Who entered the US charts with the double sided hit Albert Flasher/Broken. The A side was built around the barrelhouse piano style that Burton Cummings liked to employ, and went on to become another big hit for them south of the border.
April 17, 1976 - Heart entered the US charts with Crazy on You, from their debut album. One of the keys to this band's success was the guitar playing of Nancy Wilson, often overlooked because her sister Anne was the singer. Page and Beck were both influences on Nancy, and it's very evident on this track and many others.
April 17, 1995 - The Tea Party entered the Canadian charts with their Edges of Twilight CD. The Windsor band, often accused of borrowing too much from Led Zeppelin and The Doors, did stand apart in this decade however simply by refusing to listen to their critics and creating some of the most memorable albums in the history of Canrock.
April 18, 1944 - London Ontario's Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians topped the US charts with It's Love Love Love. Finding accurate charts for the pre-rock period is not an easy thing to do, but there are those who cite Lombardo as the most successful Canadian act ever in terms of international #1 hits. In London, he has a museum and a bridge dedicated to him, and an annual big band festival held each summer in his honour.
April 18, 1946 - Skip Spence was born in Windsor. We covered his career a few days ago on the anniversary of his death, including his stints with both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. His one and only major label solo album, Oar, was the source for most of the material found on his tribute album released soon after his passing.
April 18, 1960 - Jack Scott, another Windsor native, entered the US charts with Burning Bridges. His style ranged from boppin' rockabilly to big voiced crooner, but he was, generally, closer to rock and roll than the other Canadian making the US charts at the time, Paul Anka.
April 18, 1966 - The Big Town Boys peaked in the Canadian top ten with Hey Girl Go It Alone. The band was fronted by Tommy Graham who, in the 70s, became a folkie best known for working with Brent Titcombe.
April 19, 1954 - Bob Rock was born. As a musician, he graduated from Pointed Sticks to the Payolas to Rock & Hyde to Rockhead, but his real fame has come as a producer. After he worked alongside Bruce Fairbairn, learning the trade, he managed to score Metallica for himself and gave them the element that had been missing from previous recordings, a good drum sound. The self-titled album, featuring Enter Sandman, became their mainstream breakthrough, and, since, he has produced many of the biggest hard rock acts in the world, and now lives in Hawaii.
April 19, 1975 - Thundermug, from London, entered the Canadian charts with Let's Live Together. Within a year, they would lose their lead singer and, soon after, break up, only to reunite 20 years later and re-enter the charts with three more rock radio hit airplay tracks.
April 19, 1980 - Another London band, Uranus, peaked in the Canadian charts with their version of You're So Square, which reflected their rockabilly roots. All the guys are still around, and Frank Ridsdale still does the occasional gig with Jack Whiteside. The name of the band changes occasionally, but the repertoire is still one of the most entertaining of any band. Ridsdale is a record collector and enjoys hauling out rockabilly classics for a one-time only live play, while Whiteside likes to surprise the audience with obscure Shadows instrumentals.
April 19, 1980 - Rush peaked in the Canadian top 30 with The Spirit of Radio. The song was adapted as the theme song of CFNY-Toronto, despite the fact that the last line is "The spirit of radio is the salesman".
April 19, 1980 - Prism peaked in the Canadian top 40 with Night to Remember, a major production number that marked the growth of former member and producer Bruce Fairbairn, who would soon move on to bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and others.
April 19, 1980 - Bruce Cockburn peaked in the Canadian charts with Tokyo. Like many of his songs, determining what he's actually on about is a bit of a challenge, but at least, by this time, he'd learned how to convey his often political messages wrapped in pretty good hooks.
April 19, 1980 - April Wine peaked in the Canadian charts with I Like to Rock, in which they copped guitar signatures from many other songs including Satisfaction and Daytripper. A very good source has let us know that this tricky bit of guitar wizardry was actually copped from The Dudes, the semi-legendary band that included former and future members of April Wine and Bob Segarini, besides.
April 19, 2000 - Louis Applebaum, one of Canada's most honoured classical music composers, died. In his time he not only created a great catalogue of work that may, one day, be recognised internationally, but was also very active in a musico/political sense, serving duty as head of many organisations.
April 20, 1968 - Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers entered the US charts with Does Your Mother Know About Me. The group, formerly known as Little Daddy & the Bachelors, opened for The Supremes at The Cave nightclub in Vancouver, and the trio told Berry Gordy about them. Before long, they were signed to Motown, changed their name, and released this song about interracial romance for their one and only hit record. Among the lineup were bassist Tommy Chong, later of Cheech and Chong, and keyboard player Tom Baird, who became a staff writer/arranger for Motown before his untimely death in the mid-70s.
April 20, 1974 - Anne Murray entered the US charts with her cover of the Beatles' You Won't See Me. As covers go, this was a great arrangement and a deserved hit version perfectly suited to Anne's style.
April 20, 1974 - The Guess Who peaked in the Canadian top ten with Star Baby.
April 20, 1987 - Bryan Adams peaked in the Canadian top ten with Heat of the Night. By this time he was this country's most consistent hitmaker, both here and around the world.
April 20, 1987 - The Pursuit of Happiness peaked in the Canadian top 40 with I'm an Adult Now. Though other songs charted, nothing else achieved the success of this tongue-in-cheek offering about the difficulties of confronting adulthood. Group leader Moe Berg is now an author.
April 21, 1956 - The Diamonds entered the US charts with Church Bells May Ring. Though less known than Little Darlin' and The Stroll, this, too, was a big hit for the Toronto quartet in the American pop world.
April 21, 1958 - Paul Anka entered the US charts with the double sided hit Let the Bells Keep Ringing/Crazy Love. It was about this time that Paul appeared on the old US TV show I've Got a Secret. His secret was that he was a successful singer/songwriter/performer at the age of 16. Nobody on the panel recognised him, and he won the \$400.00 for stumping them, then performed Let the Bells Keep Ringing.
April 21, 1972 - Neil Young was presented his first gold record for Heart of Gold, a #1 single from his Harvest album. Both Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor performed on the track with him.
April 21, 1973 - The Stampeders peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Oh My Lady. This track was unique among their offerings in that it featured drummer Kim Berly on lead vocals. He would go on, in subsequent years, to form a band called The Cry in which he would be the frontman with London Ontario's Charlie Mitchell on drums.
April 21, 1973 - Keith Hampshire entered the US charts with First Cut Is the Deepest. The song was written by Cat Stevens and had already been a hit in the UK by P.P. Arnold and the Nice. Keith, who had been a deejay in Britain, was good at grabbing UK hits for his Canadian recording career. A couple of years later, Rod Stewart would cover the tune and make an even bigger hit of it.
April 21, 1979 - Gino Vannelli peaked in the Canadian top 40 with the title track of his international breakthrough album, Wheels of Life. For the next couple of years he would graduate from the small theatres and large clubs he had been playing in Canada, to become one of the world's hottest performers but, alas, it only lasted a short while.
April 21, 1979 - Anne Murray topped the Canadian charts with a great ballad called I Just Fall in Love Again. Though she was considered pop in this country, south of the border they continued to market her as a country singer, but the former gym teacher's biggest following in the States seemed to come from the lesbian community who wrongly assumed that she was one of them. A similar following developed in Canada, where k.d. lang chose her as a personal hero.
April 21, 1979 - The Blues Brothers featured Kingston's Dan Aykroyd on lead vocals for their song Rubber Biscuit which peaked in the Canadian charts on this day. Aykroyd, who began his comedy and acting career here, had moved to the States to be part of the original cast of Saturday Night Live and, from there, moved on to films and, eventually, to become the founder of the House of Blues chain of nightclubs in the States.
April 21, 1979 - Trooper peaked in the Canadian top 20 with The Moment That it Takes. Though not generally known for ballads of this nature, they were very adept at it, and were fortunate that in Ra MacGuire, they had a singer who could sing both their anthemic rock tunes and these very soulful love songs.
April 21, 1979 - Murray McLauchlan peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Whispering Rain. Still best known, at the time, for Farmer's Song, Murray had moved close to hard rock with a couple of albums before coming up with this song which has to be the most pop-oriented tune of his career, and the album that carried the same title which has one of the best covers of any album.
April 22, 1967 - Canada was celebrating its 100th birthday in this year and a patriotic number called CANADA, performed by The Young Canada Singers under the direction of Bobby Gimby topped the charts on this date. Gimby toured the country all year, utilising local children's choirs to help many communities celebrate the anniversary, while the Sugar Shoppe took the same song and made a pop record out of it.
April 22, 1972 - The Stampeders peaked in the Canadian top 10 with Monday Morning Choo Choo which was as innocuous as it sounds. Thankfully, there was a B-side on this disc which allowed rock stations to also support the band's career called Then Came the White Man which was a tribute to the first citizens of this continent.
April 22, 1972 - Donny Osmond topped the Canadian charts with his version of Paul Anka's Puppy Love. The song was Donny's fourth single and was a massive hit all over the world, making Anka just that much richer. His first three singles being Hey Girl, Sweet and Innocent and Go Away Little Girl.
April 22, 1972 - The Guess Who peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Heartbroken Bopper. Though rarely considered one of their strongest songs, the support the band had in this country from radio by this time gave them automatic carte blanche onto the playlists of radio stations coast to coast.
April 22, 1978 - Trooper peaked in the Canadian charts with, coincidentally, another ballad called Oh Pretty Lady. See previous days entry for comments.
April 22, 1978 - John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd make their first ever appearance as The Blues Brothers on "Saturday Night Live," The duo opened the show with "Hey Bartender" with an intro by Paul Schaffer acting as Don Kirschner.
April 23, 1977 - Bob Seger entered the US charts with Mainstreet. Why is it mentioned here? Simply because it was recorded in Toronto with the cream of the city's session crew augmenting Bob's Silver Bullet Band. Among them, Doug (Dr. Music) Riley, who played the Hammond organ, and a trio of singers who, at the time, were on almost every session in the town.
April 24, 1971 - Neil Young peaked in the Canadian charts with a true classic rock tune with pop overtones, When You Dance I Can Really Love. It was around the time of recording this track that Neil was getting comfortable with his guitar style, evolving into the big crashing chords that would so often highlight his work, and, eventually, inspire many generations of rockers.
April 24, 1971 - Fotheringay, a British band, peaked in the Canadian charts with their cover of Gordon Lightfoot's The Way I Feel. The quintet was led by former Fairport Convention vocalist Sandy Denny, who sadly died a few years later in an accident at home, apparently while changing a lightbulb. Had she lived, she would have been universally recognised as one of the great voices, adept at folk but able to reach out to pop audiences alike.
April 24, 1976 - Bachman Turner Overdrive entered the US charts with Lookin' Out For #1. This song, and Blue Collar were totally different from what BTOs fans expected, which was hard driving crunchy rock. Both songs, however, remain as popular today as the more metallic offerings.
April 24, 1982 - Aldo Nova peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Fantasy. Although, technically, a one-hit wonder, Aldo went on to a strong career as a songwriter and studio hand, most notably with Bon Jovi.
April 24, 1989 - Tom Cochrane and Red Rider peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Good Times. It was a great song but it hardly described the circumstances within the band. One by one the original members were leaving the band as the focus shifted from the group identity to Tom's own star status.
April 24, 1989 - Bruce Cockburn asked the musical question, If A Tree Falls In the Forest Does Anybody Hear, and peaked in the Canadian top 40 with it on this day. Cockburn's subject matter, so often political and sometimes delivered in dark lyrics, never failed to have a certain sense of joy to it, no matter what the message, and this song is as good an example as any.
April 24, 1993 - About 40,000 people showed up for Farm Aid 6. Willie Nelson, John Cougar Mellencamp and Neil Young were among 40 artists who played at the concert in Ames, Iowa.
April 24, 1995 - Bryan Adams entered the Canadian charts with Have You Ever Loved a Woman, another of his motion picture theme songs. Entering the area of opinion, the song was pap, but after the success of Everything I Do I Do It For You, who could blame him for trying.
April 25, 1970 - Allan Nicholls peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Goin' Down. The longtime Montreal bandsman had been working the night club circuit with his own band for some time, but not long after this song hit, he left for Hollywood where he became a screenwriter and actor, most closely aligned with Robert Altman with whom he worked on many films.
April 25, 1981 - Jesse Winchester, in the wake of the general amnesty of draft dodgers from Jimmy Carter's presidency, recorded in the United States for the first time since his first album. One of the results, a song called Say What, entered the US charts on this date, but it had considerably more success in Canada where he was, by comparison, a star. He continues to live in Canada despite no restrictions that would prevent him from returning home permanently.
April 25, 1988 - Strange Advance peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Love Becomes Electric. It is probably the least known of their three hits, behind We Run and World's Away, but, oddly enough, it was the highest charter of their short career.
April 26, 1957 - David Wilcox was born. Initially, he became known as the guitarist who had to step into Amos Garrett's shoes backing Ian and Sylvia, which he did quite well. He specialised in acoustic guitar with the folk act, but when he re-emerged a few years later it was as a full-blown blues rocker. For years he competed with Kim Mitchell for record setting box offices around Central Canada and beyond, filling bars in every city and dance halls and pavilions at the beach and resort communities. He's still active, more so than Kim as a matter of fact, and has proven to be a very smart businessman as well as creative performer.
April 26, 1965 - The Rolling Stones played London, Ontario. This gig is local legend in the Forest City as the Stones only managed to get a few songs out before the show was stopped by the police because the audience would not sit down as they were expected to.
April 26, 1994 - King Ganam died of a stroke. His name means less these days than it did in the 50s and 60s, but the fiddle player of Lebanese extraction was the Ashley MacIsaac of his day. No, he didn't get his name in the paper for outrageous behaviour, but, coast to coast, he was a star due to his solo spot each week on Country Hoedown, the show that launched the careers of Gordie Tapp, Tommy Hunter, Gordon Lightfoot and many others. He wore a pencil thin moustache, and the ladies would wait for the closeup when he would wink at the camera, sending middle aged music fans across the nation into a swoon. He was also one helluva fiddle player.
April 27, 1987 - Frozen Ghost peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Should I See. The band was a spinoff of an earlier group led by Arnold Lanni known as Sheriff. Arnold created his music in his own studio, then located in his basement, called The Arnyard, and along with his brother Rob also started a management company that brought the band Harem Scarem to the world's attention. Arnold also took a pass when his old band scored a major international hit with a five year old record, leading the survivors to form a new band called Alias to cash in on their good fortune.
April 27, 1987 - Rock & Hyde peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Dirty Water. The two fellas from Victoria had worked together since the punk days, and went national under the name The Payolas which evolved into Rock & Hyde. Paul Hyde recently released an album of mostly new material through EMI, while Bob Rock is now a world class record producer, working with some of the biggest names in the world after serving his apprenticeship under the late Bruce Fairbairn.
April 27, 1992 - Bryan Adams peaked in the Canadian top 5 with Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven. In comparison to some of his material, this one has to stand as a poor cousin, creatively speaking, but its top five position indicates just how big a star Bryan had become by the early 90s.
April 27, 1992 - Bootsauce peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Love Monkey #9 from The Brown Album. The Montreal band, led by Drew Ling and Sonny Greenwich Junior, had a very strange attitude, lyrically speaking, with a predominant dependence on lyrics about bodily functions that did not, in most people's lives, include sex. They were also, by the way, one of the funkiest bands ever to score on the Canadian charts, and put on an amazingly good show.
April 28, 1969 - Blood Sweat and Tears, a band based in New York and founded by Al Kooper, were now fronted by Toronto's David Clayton Thomas, and scored their first big hit with the Motown standard You've Made Me So Very Happy, which topped the Canadian charts on this day. DCT's legendary days on the road in Canada, leading such bands as The Shays and the Bossmen, are rife with stories of bad behaviour which went far beyond that of most bands of the day. Knives and fist fights were often involved and, someday, will make a great book.
April 28, 1973 - Susan Jacks peaked in the Canadian top 5 with You Don't Know What Love Is. The Poppy Family was being put on the back burner by this time as both Susan and husband Terry Jacks were determined to create their own identities. Not many bands were able to feature lead vocals by first a female and then a male and be considered marketable. It was a good move as Susan became a star in her own right in this country while Terry went on to have one of the biggest hits of all time in Seasons in the Sun.
April 28, 1979 - Ian Thomas peaked in the Canadian chart with Time Is the Keeper. He had been working as one of our top recording artists for many years in this country after a small beginning as the leader of the Hamilton band Tranquility Base. His first solo hit, Painted Ladies, set the template, but Time Is the Keeper and the other songs on the album from which it came, Glider, marked the creative highlight of his career. Ian is still active, occasionally releasing albums under the name The Boomers, but is also well known as one of the funniest men in the country, perhaps even funnier than his brother Dave of SCTV and Grace Under Pressure fame.
April 29, 1967 - The Mamas & the Papas entered the US charts with the autobiographical Creeqe Alley in which they tell not only their story, including that of Halifax' Denny Doherty but also that of Toronto's Zal Yanovsky, another Canadian who headed for the US and played, at one time in The Mugwumps with Denny and Mama Cass before joining the Lovin' Spoonful.
April 29, 1972 - Lighthouse entered the US charts with I Just Wanta Be Your Friend. It was not an exceptional song, not even breaking beyond the 90s Stateside, and the second lowest of all their Canadian charting tracks after the switch from RCA to GRT. Not one that gets played in their sets these days, but that's okay because they have such a wealth of better known material to choose from.
April 29, 1972 - Neil Young entered the US charts with Old Man, the second single from his Harvest album. Like the first, Heart of Gold, it featured backing vocals from Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, and helped propel the album to platinum status.
April 29, 1978 - Gordon Lightfoot peaked in the Canadian top ten with The Circle is Small. It also went top 40 south of the border, continuing his winning streak in the States.
April 29, 1985 - Tears Are Not Enough, by an ad hoc group dubbed Northern Lights, joined Do They Know It's Christmas and We Are the World as another entry in the Feed Ethiopia sweepstakes. For this session, virtually every major Canadian artist of the time was in attendance, including David Foster, who co-wrote the song with Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, Burton Cummings, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Liona Boyd, Mike Reno, Corey Hart, Dal Bello, Carole Pope, Andy Kim, Dan Hill, Robert Charlebois and many many others. The song peaked at #1 on this day.
April 29, 1991 - Bootsauce, left behind their fecal musings and made funk the focal point on their cover of Every 1's a Winner which peaked in the Canadian top 20 on this day. They would, later in their career, try another cover with Love Roller Coaster.
April 30, 1955 - The Crew Cuts entered the US charts with the double sided hit Don't Be Angry/Chop Chop Boom.
April 30, 1966 - The Young Rascals peaked at #1 in the US with their second single, Good Lovin'. They were an American band based in New York City, but we mention them here because of the presence of Gene Cornish on lead guitar. His hometown has been listed variously as Ottawa and Hamilton, but Canadian he is. Cornish, later, along with Rascals' drummer Dino Dannelli, produced April Wine's Stand Back album.
April 30, 1968 - Blood, Sweat and Tears founder Al Kooper, along with saxophonist Randy Brecker, leaves the band after recording the band's first album, "Child Is Father To The Man." It's released in June of that year.
April 30, 1977 - Chilliwack entered the US charts with Fly at Night from their Dreams Dreams Dreams album. This set was their best chance at cracking the US in a major way, with this song and California Girl both drawing attention south of the border, but the death, soon after, of their label owner Shelly Siegel took the momentum away and they never had as good a chance again.
April 30, 1996 - 54/40 released their album Trusted by Millions in Canada. This band has now survived more than 20 years, in the process, have been thrust in to the position of role model for many other younger Canadian bands. That they've lasted this long without significant American support, and without being as big in this country as such predecessors as April Wine and the Tragically Hip speaks volumes about the loyalty of their fans, and about the quality of their music. There is a school, too, who feel their gigs in Seattle many years ago helped to spark the grunge rock movement that made the Pacific Northwest city musically famous.