Events in Canadian Rock
For the month of
February 1, 1952 - Rick James was born on this day. Though not Canadian, he became an important part of the Toronto music scene in the mid-60s after deserting from the US Navy. He was, for awhile, a member of the Mynah Birds with Neil Young, and, at that time, signed a deal with Motown. When he returned to the States, however, he had to deal with his desertion and spent some time in jail before emerging, in the 70s, as a star, still signed to Motown. The funkmaster has also been in the news over the past few years regarding some white slavery charges, for which he also served time.
February 1, 1969 - Judy Collins entered the US charts with a song that would become one of her biggest hits. Someday Soon was written by Ian Tyson and was a precursor of his now well-established love affair with the cowboy song, in this case, a rodeo performer telling his love that he'll be home someday soon.
February 1, 1973 - Less than a year after they "retired," Steppenwolf resurrect themselves, with leader John Kay returning although he promises to continue recording as a solo artist.
February 1, 1975 - Anne Murray turned to the Beatles catalogue for the second time in a year with Day Tripper which peaked in the Canadian top 30 on this day. The previous summer she had scored a big hit with You Won't See Me which hit the top ten, but Day Tripper was too well-known in its original version by the Fab Four to duplicate such success.
February 1, 1975 - Ray Materick peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Linda Put the Coffee On. A Hamilton-based poet who turned to music, Ray worked the folk clubs initially with a trio that included both Bob and Dan Lanois on guitars. By the time of this record, he had put together an electric band and, for awhile, was lauded as one of the great new folk-rock voices alongside Cockburn and McLauchlan.
February 2, 1921 - Fiddler Ned Landry was born. Though certainly not rock, we mention him because his fiddle style reflected both the French and Scottish forms which created a new hybrid that still affects Canadian traditional music forms, and sets it aside from the rest of the world. Interestingly, Scots and Normans still look to Canada for the purest forms of their traditional musics.
February 2, 1955 - Tom Stephen, drummer with the Jeff Healey Band, was born in Saint John, New Brunswick.
February 2, 1974 - The James Gang entered the US charts with Must Be Love. By this time, Domenic Troiano, who had replaced Joe Walsh for two albums, had left the band to join the Guess Who, but his partner in music, Roy Kenner, remained in Cleveland for one more album with the band as lead vocalist and turns in a bravura performance on this track. Tommy Bolin was Troiano's replacement, and the guitar solo that opens this song is so good that sometimes it still shows up in my dreams.
February 2, 1980 - Streetheart peaked in the Canadian top 20 with their take on the Stones' Under My Thumb. Though it was a cover of a very well known song, Streetheart gave it a new sound, as they had done earlier on Here Comes the Night, the Them classic.
February 2, 1985 - Honeymoon Suite peaked on the Canadian charts with Burning in Love. It was the second of four singles released from their debut album, and the least of them all in terms of chart placing. New Girl Now, their introduction to the world had gone top 30 as did their third single Stay in the Light.
February 3, 1958 - Moe Koffman's Swinging Shepherd Blues entered the US charts. A veteran of big bands on both sides of the border, the sax player switched to flute for this one and was known for that instrument for the rest of his long career.
February 3, 1959 - In the words of Don McLean, "it was the day the music died." Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper are killed when their plane crashes in the Iowa countryside.
February 3, 1968 - Ronnie Hawkins peaked in the Canadian charts with his version of Gordon Lightfoot's Home From the Forest. It was his attempt to hit the middle of the road mainstream and it worked, though his next hit would be the bluesy offering Down In the Alley. He would score again, two years later with another Lightfoot cover in Bitter Green.
February 3, 1968 - Buffalo Springfield's Expecting to Fly peaked in the Canadian charts. Neil Young wrote this one and it holds the honour of being his first charted composition.
February 3, 1973 - Edward Bear topped the Canadian charts with The Last Song. By the time it ended its chart run, many were hoping that it was, in fact, the last song they would have to hear from the band. Predictably, the former blues trio spent the rest of their career recreating the feel of this lightweight piece of candy.
February 3, 1973 - The Guess Who entered the US charts with a song inspired by the rhythms of the Caribbean when Follow Your Daughter Home turned the trick.
February 3, 1973 - Alice Cooper entered the US charts with Hello Hooray, written by folkie Rolf Kempf. Rolf was a veteran of the coffeehouse circuit, and after this his profile was raised somewhat, but he never had another success as a performer or writer that came anywhere close to this break.
February 3, 1979 - Heart's Dog & Butterfly entered the US charts with the last track in their career that would be considered Cancon. Initially from Seattle, the Wilson sisters relocated to Vancouver when their boyfriends, who were members of the original lineup, chose to live there during the Viet Nam years. Eventually, with new members in the band, they relocated to the States, leaving behind their Canadian label and went on to become one of the top acts of the 80s.
February 3, 1990 - Quebec teen heartthrob Roch Voisine won the best international French-language album award at a ceremony in Paris. His album "Helene" was at the top of the French chart at the time.
February 4, 1956 - The Crew Cuts entered the US charts with their version of Seven Days, another cover of an American rhythm and blues record.
February 4, 1969 - Aretha Franklin released her version of The Weight, written by the band's Robbie Robertson.
February 4, 1978 - Chilliwack peaked on the Canadian charts with Baby Blue. It was the 12th of their 19 charted hits in this country.
February 4, 1978 - Burton Cummings peaked in the Canadian charts with Your Own Backyard. His solo career is best known for the big ballads like Stand Tall, but whenever he was able to get something together that featured his barrelhouse style on piano like this or My Own Way to Rock, radio was happier for it.
February 4, 1991 - Alias, the band that succeeded Sheriff, peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Waiting For Love. The band was rushed together when the previous group's When I'm With You finally became a Stateside hit, but founder Arnold Lanni was not interested in returning to the road or in giving up his rights to the band name. Besides two members of Sheriff, the band also included former members of Heart.
February 5, 1944 - Guitarist and keyboard player Al Kooper, a major figure in t he blues-rock movement of the 1960's, was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1965, he helped form the Blues Project. And two years later, he and Steve Katz put together Blood, Sweat and Tears, but Kooper left the group before it achieved commercial success. By the '70s, Kooper was involved more in producing than recording. He discovered the groups Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Tubes.
February 5, 1972 - Edward Bear peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Fly Across the Sea. They were still a year away from their biggest hit, but the pattern for The Last Song was set with this track, which also owed a little to an earlier hit called You Me and Mexico.
February 5, 1972 - Neil Young entered the US charts with Heart of Gold from his LP Harvest. This track moved him into the pop mainstream and became his biggest hit ever.
February 5, 1972 - Steel River peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Mexican Lady. While not as big a hit as their earlier Ten Pound Note, it did keep the band on the road a little bit longer, sadly, before the Donald K Donald route was setup across the country in the wake of April Wine's success and they soon faded from sight.
February 5, 1972 - Chilliwack entered the US charts with Lonesome Mary from their second album. The second set, in the style of the times, was a double, and featured a few long experimental tracks as well as touches of country, blues and hard rock.
February 5, 1981 - Anne Murray, still boycotting the Junos ceremony, won four awards. Her "Can I Have This Dance" tied for best single with "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau inducted Joni Mitchell into the Juno Hall of Fame.
February 5, 1990 - Kim Mitchell peaked in the Canadian top 40 with the song Expedition Sailor. Far from being his biggest hit, it was thought at the time that this was the direction Mitchell wanted to go in the future but his audience was much more interested in him being a wild party rah rah ole.
February 5, 1990 - Sheree Jeacocke's Woman's Work peaked in the Canadian top ten. Released under her first name only, the former backing singer for Gordon Lightfoot was expected to become a superstar but, aside from this hit, very little else was heard from her.
February 5, 1990 - Joe Cocker peaked in the Canadian top 30 with When the Night Comes, written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. At this stage of their career, the Vancouver songwriting team was also pumping them out for such as .38 Special and many other international acts.
February 6, 1971 - Tom Jones entered the US charts with his only Cancon hit, She's a Lady. The tune was penned by Paul Anka who had been having success with it in his own live show, where Jones heard it and continued his own string of hits with the song.
February 6, 1995 - Jann Arden peaked in the Canadian top ten with her breakthrough hit Insensitive. Months later, the song became an international success story largely through its use in an advertising campaign in Italy. The product was a brand of blue jeans, and it went on to become top ten in a number of Euro territories which revitalized the song south of the border where it also enjoyed success, largely through Adult Alternative Radio.
February 7, 1966 - Bobby Kris peaked in the Canadian top 10 with Walk On By. Bobby led a band called the Imperials and today remains one of the lost stars of the early days of Cancon rock.
February 7, 1966 - The Guess Who entered the Canadian charts with a song called Hurting Each Other, which is not to be confused with a later hit by the Carpenters with the same title. In this period of time, between Shakin' All Over and These Eyes, the band was getting charted nationally but not, necessarily, receiving airplay in each part of the country.
February 7, 1970 - The Guess Who weren't the only Canadian band to criticize the USA in this year. Steppenwolf peaked in the top 20 in this country with Monster, a shortened version of a mini-suite that, oddly enough, received less positive attention south of the border. Perhaps it was the chorus line "America, where are you now? Don't you care about your sons and daughters?"
February 7, 1976 - Joni Mitchell entered the US charts with In France They Kiss On Main Street, from the album The Hissing of Summer Lawns. That LP was the first to give evidence that Joni was expanding her style considerably from what she had done on the first five albums, incorporating African rhythms and jazz influences.
February 7, 1976 - Bachman Turner Overdrive entered the US charts with Take It Like a Man. It wasn't one of their biggest hits, but by the time it was released the band had already established themselves as a force south of the border.
February 7, 1981 - April Wine entered the US charts with Just Between You and Me which would go on to become their biggest US hit, peaking later in the top 30. While they toured the States behind this hit, opening for Kiss, a teenager in Oklahoma City saw the show and went home impressed with their on-stage opening for Oowatanite which involved revolving red lights and the inevitable fireball. He decided then and there that you didn't have to be like Kiss to be noticed, and incorporated the experience into his own concept of putting on a show. His name was Garth Brooks.
February 7, 1981 - Jack Richardson was handed the task of rescuing the career of The Irish Rovers who had scored one hit at the end of the 60s with the folky The Unicorn. He found, in a box of tapes, a badly recorded live version of a Tom Paxton tune, and adapted it for the group. They dropped the Irish from their name and Wasn't That a Party went on to peak in the Canadian top 5 on this day.
February 7, 1987 - Crosby, Stills and Nash did not perform as scheduled at a Greenpeace benefit in Vancouver after David Crosby was refused admission into Canada because of his criminal record.
February 8, 1965 - If You Don't Want My Love by Jack London peaked in the Canadian top 5. London was a singer who patterned himself strongly after the British Invasion groups that inspired him. He dressed in the latest mod fashions, and affected a British accent that wasn't real. His backing band, The Sparrows, included three future members of The Sparrow who became Steppenwolf. Apparently, the band and Jack split up when they realized that he was cutting deals that gave him a larger percentage of the take for both live gigs and recording money, despite an agreement that they would split everything equally.
February 8, 1971 - In 1971, "Eat the Document," a film starring and edited by Bob Dylan, was shown at the New York Academy of Music. Made for ABC TV in 1967, and consisting mainly of clips from Dylan's 19 66 British tour with The Band, it was never aired. The proceeds from the academy screening went to a citizens' group battling strip mining.
February 8, 1990 - Daniel Lanois capped a nine-country European tour with a concert before a star-studded audience at L ondon's Royal Festival Hall. One of rock's leading record producers, Lanois was touring in support of his first album, "Acadie." In the London audience were some of his most famous associates, including Peter Gabriel, composer Brian Eno and U2 guitarist D ave (The Edge) Evans.
February 9, 1936 - Stompin' Tom Connors is born in Prince Edward Island. A recent honouree at the governor-general’s Arts Honours ceremony, Tom was inducted by Ken Dryden, who thanked him for the Hockey Song, and also for writing songs that don't have enough notes and that repeat a lot of words. Molly Johnson also thanked him for The Man in the Moon is a Newfie, which she sings to her kids at night.
February 9, 1968 - The Band, in Big Pink, record I Shall Be Released. Sung by Richard Manuel, the song has gone on to have a long life, recorded by dozens. It was written by Bob Dylan, but history has given the definitive version to The Band.
February 9, 1974 - Joni Mitchell peaks in the Canadian charts with Raised on Robbery from her Court and Spark album. Canuck references abound in this atypical rocker, but the real energy comes from Robbie Robertson's clean, sharp and driving guitar solo.
February 9, 1976 - Montreal's Percy Faith dies of cancer. The biggest Canadian hit, internationally, before Cancon rulings was his Theme From "A Summer Place". It went to #1 in 1960 and became the biggest hit in the world that year in terms of both chart ranking and sales. He continued to work in the film world until his retirement, scoring many movies, and turning out at least an album a year until the early 70s.
February 9, 1980 - April Wine entered the US charts with I Like to Rock. In the course of recording the song, Myles and his guitarists referenced earlier tracks that inspired them, including Daytripper and Satisfaction.
February 10, 1969 - Judy Collins, who had entered the US charts the week before with the same title, peaked in the Canadian top 40 with Ian Tyson's Someday Soon. It's interesting to note that of Judy's seven charted hits in her long career, three were Canadian, including the first (Both Sides Now) and her third (Chelsea Morning), and despite later hits like Amazing Grace and Send in the Clowns, her version of Joni's Both Sides Now remains her biggest hit ever.
February 10, 1973 - Terry Jacks, during his days with The Poppy Family, and before Seasons in the Sun enriched his pocketbook while destroying his credibility, was cranking out records at an amazing pace. He maintained a solo career in addition to his group, and even released product under one-off names. One of his best records was a remake of Buddy Holly's I'm Gonna Love You Too, under his own name, which peaked in the Canadian top ten on this day.
February 10, 1985 - "Tears Are Not Enough," the contribution of Canadian recording artists to African famine relief, was recorded at Manta Sound in Toronto under the name "Northern Lights." The song was written by Bryan Adams and his re gular songwriting partner, Jim Vallance. Adams's performance of the song at the Live Aid concert in July 1985 was marred by satellite blackout.
February 10, 1986 - Very few French language records have crossed over to the Anglo charts in this country, but one, L'Affaire Dumoutier by The Box peaked in the Canadian top 30 on this day. The half-spoken chronicle of a murder in Quebec owes its success to determined work by the label, Alert, and its promo person at the time, Lisa Zbitnew. The Box toured with Sass Jordan as a backing vocalist, and Zbitnew is now president of BMG Canada.
February 10, 1987 - One of the Soviet Union's top rock bands, Autograph, played in Quebec City as part of its first North American tour. The concert was organized to coincide with the Rendezvous 87 hockey series between the NHL all-stars and the Soviet Union.
February 10, 1995 - Marty Butler, a pop charter in the 1970s on a number of occasions, became the first Canadian pop star to die of AIDS, or, at least, the first to acknowledge his illness publicly. After his own chart run, highlighted by We Gotta Make it Together in 1972, Butler worked as a writer for others, as well as cranking out advertising jingles, and working on soundtracks.
February 10, 1996 - Shania Twain drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 to 20,000 fans for an autograph session at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.
February 11, 1978 - Rush peak in the Canadian charts with Closer to the Heart. Though it didn't quite crack the top 40 here, it followed Fly By Night into the middle of the charts and further cemented the band's following both in Canada and the United States, where it peaked out at #69. The airplay they were receiving began to move them out of support slots and clubs and onto larger stages, but, even then, no one could predict that they'd become the biggest Canadian rock band of the next 20 years, if not of all time.
February 11, 1978 - Gordon Lightfoot entered the American charts with The Circle is Small. It would go on to become a top 40 hit south of the border, and go top ten in this country. Lightfoot had just come off The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, one of his most notable hits, and, it seemed, could do no wrong on either side of the line. Soon enough, the trends in music would change, and Lightfoot himself would suffer from personal and health problems, but continues to perform on occasion, and never without a great deal of deserved fanfare.
February 11, 1994 - Bryan Adams and Sting joined Australian stars in a benefit concert at Sydney's Football Stadium. The show raised about $600,000 to aid victims of bush fires in the Sydney area.
February 12, 1915 - Lorne Greene was born. As a broadcaster with the CBC, he was known as the voice of doom during WWII, supplying regular reports to Canada from London. He then moved into acting, becoming best known as the patriarch of the Cartwright's on Bonanza. Musically, sort of, he had a #1 single in the 60s with a semi-spoken-sung tale of a gunfighter named Ringo. His star power helped it get to the top, but the title character's name had something to do with it too in the headiest days of Beatlemania.
February 12, 1951 - Gil Moore, vocalist and drummer with the Canadian hard rock band Triumph, was born. The other members of the trio, formed in Toronto in 1975, were vocalist and guitarist Rik (correct) Emmett and keyboard ist and bassist Mike Levine. Triumph's hits from 1979 to 1986 included "Hold On," "Magic Power" and "Somebody's Out There."
February 12, 1972 - Terry Black and Laurel Ward enter the US charts with the song Goin' Down On the Road to L.A. Black had already been a solo star with songs like Unless You Care, recorded when he was 16, while Laurel had been part of the Toronto scene for many years before both joined Dr. Music. Apparently, the title phrase meant something different in 1972, as it didn't prevent any airplay in those much more sensitive times.
February 12, 1977 - Very few bands can chart with three songs from their debut album, but Heart did it when the title track, Dreamboat Annie peaked in the Canadian chart on this day. It followed Magic Man and Crazy on You, and established the band as one of the hottest new Canadian acts before they relocated to the United States from which the Wilson sisters had emigrated a few years before.
February 12, 1987 - Bryan Adams joined members of Loverboy, Journey and the Fabulous Thunderbirds to sing "Good Golly Miss Molly" at an anniversary party for Vancouver radio station CFOX.
February 12, 1990 - Alannah Myles actually scored four hits off her debut album, the third of which was Still Got This Thing For You which peaked in the Canadian top 40 on this day. The album's second single, Black Velvet, became a multinational chart topper.
February 12, 1994 - Celine Dion became the first Quebec artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart when "The Power of Love" made number-one.
February 13, 1938 - Bunny Sheppard of the Ukranian-Canadian pop music duo Mickey and Bunny, was born in Rosa, Manitoba. Mickey and Bunny were popular in the 1960's.
February 13, 1974 - the heavily-publicized Bob Dylan and the Band tour ended at the Forum in Los Angeles. Many of the tracks on Dylan's "Before the Flood" album were recorded at this concert.
February 13, 1982 - Loverboy's "Working For The Weekend" peaks at #29 on the chart.
February 13, 1982 - Eddie Schwartz, known primarily as a writer for others including Pat Benatar, Paul Carrack and many more, peaks in the Canadian top 40 with a hit under his own name called All Our Tomorrows. Six years later Joe Cocker covered the song and had a hit with it on both sides of the border.
February 13, 1985 - Bruce Cockburn gave a concert in East Berlin after having performed the previous night in the western portion of the divided city. His 27-date European tour included eight shows in communist countries.
February 13, 1995 - Susan Aglukark becomes the first Inuit singer to breakthrough to commercial success in the mainstream when her This Child CD enters the Canadian charts. Sparked largely by a song called O Siem, the CD establishes her with pop audiences and she continues to enjoy a solid career, not only here but, now, in Europe as well, where her uniqueness is celebrated, as it is here.
February 13, 1995 - The Odds enter the Canadian chart with their Good Weird Feeling CD. The west coast quartet are thought of, by many in the industry, as one of the most original of all Canadian bands, and all they were doing was great pop with a little bit of their tongue in their cheek. They disbanded a couple of years ago and are now making their individual names as record producers for a variety of artists, but public demand may force them to come together soon for another album and tour.
February 14, 1970 - The Band enter the US charts with their second single from their self-titled second album. Rag Mama Rag followed Up On Cripple Creek to success on the charts, although Creek made it to the top ten in Canada, whereas Rag fell short of that achievement.
February 14, 1974 - After 39 shows in 21 cities, the Bob Dylan/The Band tour comes to an end at the Forum in Los Angeles. Many celebrities like Carol e King, Ringo Starr, Neil Young, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson turn out for the final performance. Afterwards Ringo says, "It was bloody fantastic. The best concert I've ever been to."
February 15, 1975 - Montreal singer Gino Vanelli became the first white artist to appear on the US TV show "Soul Train." Later that year, he received the Juno Award as the most promising male singer.
February 15, 1975 - One of the most highly touted bands that never became superstars in this country was Myles and Lenny, who peaked in the top 20 on this day with their only hit, Can You Give It All To Me. They were signed to Columbia Records, got opening slots on the biggest shows, and had a great hit, but disappeared almost immediately. Myles Cohen played guitar and sang, and Lenny Solomon played rock fiddle, which was still quite unique.
February 15, 1975 - Terry Jacks followed up his Seasons in the Sun single with Rock and Roll I Gave You All the Best Years of My Life and, though he peaked in the top 30 here with the track on this day, internationally he was scooped by Mac Davis, who got the airplay south of the border.
February 15, 1975 - April Wine's I Wouldn't Want to Lose Your Love peaked in the Canadian top 20 on this day. It was their first top 20 hit in two years, and followed two relative failures, chart wise, so marked a comeback, of sorts, for the group who would continue recording top 20 singles for another seven years.
February 15, 1988 - One of the singers who inspired K. D. Lang when she was growing up in Alberta was Roy Orbison. When the producers of some long forgotten film decided to use his song Crying on the soundtrack, they asked K. D. to do it as a duet with the Big O, and the result peaked at #2 on this date in Canada. Their voices matched so seamlessly that initial listens led to a little confusion as to who was doing which part.
February 15, 1989 - An all-star ensemble of Canadian recording artists, organized by guitarist Domenic Troiano, raised more than $40,000 for Joey Philion, a teenaged burn victim from Orillia, Ontario. The jam session was part of the Music Express Magazine Awards, held in Mississauga, Ontario.
February 15, 1995 - Lucio Agostini, one of the busiest musicians in Toronto in the 40s and 50s, died on this day. He was part of the big band scene and radio orchestras, and, with the dawn of CBC-TV in the 50s became musical director and bandleader for many shows, training a new generation of players in the process.
February 15, 1995 - Vancouver rock band Moist became the first Canadian rock act to perform live on the Internet. The show, broadcast from Atlanta, was also the first live concert on the Internet's World Wide Web, which is easily accessible to millions of people. Other acts on the bill were Matthew Sweet, Blues Traveler and Hootie and the Blowfish.
February 16, 1963 - Paul Anka, finally an adult, marries Ann DeZogheb. His wife was a finalist in the Miss World contest, representing Belgium, but despite the pop star/beauty queen hookup, the marriage lasts 37 years. They separated in 2000 with all their children grown.
February 16, 1969 - The Guess Who realize one of their dreams when they appear on American Bandstand. After their performance, Dick Clark presents them with a gold record for These Eyes, representing their first US gold.
February 16, 1974 - The Guess Who enter the American charts with Star Baby. It would reach the top 40 there, and go top ten in Canada. By this time, the group was a machine, with lineup changes occurring on a regular basis. Only Burton Cummings and Gary Peterson remained in the band by this time from the group that had broken through five years earlier, and even the replacement players were starting to be replaced with Don McDougall joining in place of Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw. He, in turn, would soon be replaced by Domenic Troiano.
February 16, 1974 - Bill Amesbury's Virginia entered the American charts. Amesbury was a discovery of Bill Gillilland, who ran Arc Records and who was a pretty good talent scout, having been among the first to record both Anne Murray and David Clayton-Thomas. Bill is now known as Barbara Amesbury and lives, reportedly, in New York City where she continues to write.
February 16, 1988 - Quebec fiddlers have followings that equal that of rock stars in other parts of the world and one of the greats, Ti-Jean Carignan, died on this day. There is a direct link from Quebec fiddle to that heard on Cape Breton, but the style incorporates many of the rhythms more readily associated with Louisiana Cajun music.
February 17, 1970 - Joni Mitchell announces her retirement from live performances after her show at London's Royal Albert Hall. It was premature as within a year she was back on stage.
February 17, 1973 - Wildflower by Skylark entered the US charts. This was David Foster's entry into the American business, and within a couple of years his name was showing up on albums by everybody leading, quickly enough, to production assignments, and Grammies by the barrow load. The rest of the band, most of whom were from Victoria, moved into the Vancouver session scene, or, eventually, returned home and took day jobs.
February 17, 1979 - The Raes peaked in the Canadian top 20 with A Little Lovin'. The duo, working out of St. Thomas, Ontario, consisted of Cherrill (Yates) Rae and her husband Robbie Rae. He was a minor pop star in Wales and when they met and married there, he came back to Canada with her to enjoy a short run of chart success. Eventually they split. She still sings around London, and Robbie spent a short time in a band that included some ex-Saga members.
February 17, 1979 - Gino Vannelli entered the US charts with Wheels of Life. He had been a star in Canada for a number of years, but things were just beginning to roll for him south of the border. This track was the follow-up to his US top five, I Just Wanna Stop, and he was now concentrating on the States, appearing on all the right TV shows where they were discovering his dynamic stage presence and his guitarless band, including drummer Graham Lear who would soon leave the group to join Santana. His keyboard player at the time, Fred Mandel, moved on to Elton John's group.
February 17, 1992 - Bryan Adams peaked in the Canadian top 20 with There Will Never Be Another Tonight. Top 20 singles are a mark of great success, but by comparison with his other monster hits, this one has become a rarely heard item in the years since.
February 18, 1953 - Robbie Bachman, drummer for Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was born in Winnipeg. The Canadian rock band, which also included Robbie's brothers Randy and Tim on guitars, was internationally popular in the 1970's with such hits as "Blue Collar," "Let It Ride," "Takin' Care of Business" and "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," a 1974 million-seller. At its peak, BTO won many polls and honors in the US, as well as seven Juno Awards.
February 18, 1956 - The Diamonds entered the US charts with the first of their r 'n' b covers, Why Do Fools Fall in Love. Though it went all the way to #12, in this instance the original did outperform the white cover, with Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers going all the way to #6.
February 18, 1972 - Neil Young received a gold disc for his album Harvest. It remains his most successful album of all time and, about ten years ago, he repeated the feeling with Harvest Moon which became his second most successful album of all time, commercially speaking, by duplicating the concept of acoustic feel and full arrangements.
February 18, 1985 - The Parachute Club scored a top twenty hit with their second single, At the Feet of the Moon. Although it charted marginally lower than their debut, Rise Up, it suffers by comparison with only the first hit receiving regular airplay a decade and a half later. Lead singer Lorraine Segato is still recording, and has a solid following of fans.
February 18, 1991 - Blue Rodeo peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Til I Am Myself Again. Rarely has a group lasted this long in the Canadian pop hierarchy, but, in this case, it has more to do with the fact that Blue Rodeo are two completely different bands that complement each other perfectly. There is Jim Cuddy's band, with great ballads and strong melodic hooks, and there is Greg Keelor's band, edgy and quirky, balancing each out. Cuddy's stuff has a bit of an edge thanks to Keelor, and Keelor's work is softened, somewhat, by Cuddy's presence.
February 19, 1946 - Paul Dean, lead guitarist with the Canadian rock bands Loverboy and Streetheart was born.
February 19, 1977 - Burton Cummings enters the US charts with I'm Scared. Since leaving the Guess Who, Burton has had a number of hits in Canada, but only five tracks have charted south of the border. This was his second solo single, following Stand Tall. The former went top ten on both sides of the border, but I'm Scared peaked in the top 50 here and only in the top 70 in the States.
February 19, 1977 - Gordon Lightfoot charted in the US with Race Among the Ruins. This was the follow-up single to one of Lightfoot's most memorable offerings, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. It was atypical of what we had come to expect from Gord, with a heavy backbeat on the chorus, and, though it didn't get high on the US charts, it did give him another Canadian top 30 track.
February 19, 1990 - Roch Voisine peaked in the Canadian top 20 with his first English language hit record, Helene. Many tipped him for international superstardom at the time, and, though he has a solid career in France, singing in that language, his English successes have been limited, thus far, to Canada. His presence on a Quebec owned and operated label could have been a factor in limiting his international potential, as could his management situation. A couple of years back the industry was surprised to learn that his manager took his own life rather than face exposure on some questionable behavior.
February 20, 1941 - Buffy Ste. Marie is born. The native performer spent time both in Saskatchewan and Maine as a child but is generally accepted as being Canadian, though she sees herself as a North American. As a writer, her career has been highlighted by such classics as Universal Soldier, Until It's Time For You To Go, and Up Where We Belong. As a performer, she was one of the biggest names on the 60s folk-music circuit.
February 20, 1971 - Tundra peaked in the Canadian top 30 with Band Bandit. This was the first direct Canadian signing to A&M Records, and, among the band's lineup were vocalist Lisa Garber (younger sister of Broadway and film star Victor Garber) and piano man Scott Cushnie. They didn't last long after this project, but their producer Harry Hinde went on to produce many of the 70s best known Canadian acts.
February 20, 1971 - The Band peaked in the Canadian charts with The Shape I'm In from their third album. This set marked a move towards more hard driving rock without forsaking the more traditional sounds that highlighted the first two albums.
February 20, 1971 - Anne Murray peaked in the Canadian top 5 with Sing High Sing Low. With each release Anne found as many songs as she could be Canadian writers, thereby exposing them to a larger audience. This tune was written by a 15-year old east coaster living in Oshawa named Shirley Eikhard, who went on to her own career soon after.
February 20, 1971 - Gordon Lightfoot topped the Canadian chart with If You Could Read My Mind. One of his all time classic songs, it must have still surprised him when, a couple of years ago, it became a hit all over again in a disco version.
February 20, 1971 - Alice Cooper entered the US charts with I'm Eighteen, which would become his first hit record. Significant in the context of this calendar is that it marked the first success for young Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, working as an assistant to Jack Richardson at the time. He would go on to produce Pink Floyd and many others.
February 20, 1982 - Straight Lines peaked in the Canadian top ten on this day with Letting Go. The band was the cream of the Vancouver crop and lasted a couple of albums before moving on. Among the lineup was David Sinclair who would form the band Body Electric and, eventually, join K. D. Lang’s band.
February 20, 1988 - Bryan Adams performed a private concert for 3,000 athletes and media people at the Calgary Olympics. More than 200 athletes joined Adams on stage for the finale.
February 20, 1988 - Bruce Cockburn opened a US tour in Seattle before a sellout crowd of 3,000. The concert netted Cockburn more than $10,000, which he donated to the Central American Peace Campaign.
February 20, 1989 - Candi's Under Your Spell peaked in the Canadian top 5. The band, led by a girl named Candi, was an Italian wedding band who cashed in on the dance music trends of the day. The band lacked substance, to be kind, but they did have their moment in the sun.
February 20, 1998 - Bob McBride, long time and best known lead singer for Lighthouse, and a fairly successful solo artist in the 70s, died in Toronto. He had been experiencing some serious problems for years, mostly to do with drugs, which led to him spending time in prison after he was caught breaking in to a pharmacy to feed his habit. Despite his sad end, McBride is one of the greats of Canadian rock history.
February 21, 1976 - Anne Murray, hoping that gold will strike twice, picks a Gene MacLellan song as her new single. The Call, one of his best songs, enters the US charts on this day but only inches its way up to #91. MacLellan, a few years earlier, had written Anne's breakthrough hit, Snowbird.
February 21, 1976 - Trooper peaked in the Canadian top 20 with General Hand Grenade. It was their second single and the first to crack the top 20, but the biggest hits were yet to come...enough to enable the band to continue touring and doing good business in clubs long after the hits stopped happening.
February 21, 1981 - The Rovers entered the US charts with Wasn't That a Party which would go on to become a top 40 hit south of the border.
February 21, 1986 - Montreal-born folk singer and poet Leonard Cohen appeared in an episode of the TV series "Miami Vice."
February 22, 1960 - The #1 hit in the USA on this date was Theme From "A Summer Place" by Canadian orchestra leader Percy Faith. It went on to become the biggest hit of the year and a Grammy winner, and helped Faith, who had been working as a conductor and arranger in Hollywood, to become a successful recording artist, with an album or two a year for the rest of the decade, usually covering other movie hits.
February 22, 1960 - Peaking in the top 5 on the same day was Jack Scott's What in the World's Come Over You, a country styled ballad by the Windsor-born rockabilly artist. This marks, most probably, the first time two Canadian acts were in the US top five at the same time, eleven years before Cancon regulations became a reality.
February 22, 1969 - Apricot Brandy by Rhinoceros entered the US charts on this day. The band was an all-star aggregation of support players, signed to Elektra and pushed as the hot new thing. Among the lineup, which included former members of The Mothers of Invention, Buffalo Springfield, and other American bands, were Jon Finley of Jon & Lee and the Checkmates, and keyboardist Mike Fonfara, both of Toronto. After they broke up, those two plus former Iron Butterfly guitarist Danny Weiss moved back to Toronto and formed a group called Blackstone.
February 22, 1969 - Aretha Franklin entered the US charts with her version of The Band's The Weight. Though her vocals were recorded in NYC, the backing band was the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section featuring Duane Allman on lead guitar.
February 22, 1975 - Charity Brown peaked in the Canadian top ten with one of her series of Motown covers, in this case Mary Wells' You Beat Me to the Punch. Producer Harry Hinde had taken Charity (nee Phyllis Brown) out of the Kitchener band Rain to use her as a vehicle for his productions after his first choice, Lisa Garber, decided to leave the music business and complete her education. Together, Brown and Hinde had a number of hits.
February 22, 1986 - Bruce Cockburn gave a cheque for $28,000s to the Council of the Haida Nation following two concerts at th e Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. The Indians were to use the concert proceeds in their fight to stop logging on Lyell Island in the Queen Charlottes.
February 22, 1988 - Men Without Hats peaked at #2 in the Canadian charts with Pop Goes the World which, arguably, was their most accessible hit. Though they had been more successful with The Safety Dance, both here and in the States, it was always considered somewhat of a novelty.
February 22, 1992 - All 34,000 seats for two Grateful Dead shows at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario sold out in 56 minutes. "Deadheads" started lining up a week before the tickets went on sale.
February 23, 1970 - The first public presentation of the Junos, the annual awards of the Canadian recording industry, took place in Toronto. The awards had existed since 1964 under the name the "RPM Gold Leaf Awards," which were established by Walt Grealis (GREE'-LIS), editor and publisher of RPM magazine. They became known as the Junos in 1970. From the awards' inception until 1975, winners were selected by reader s of RPM. Thereafter, only members of the newly-formed Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences participated in the voting.
February 23, 1974 - Bachman Turner Overdrive's Let it Ride enters the US charts. Randy was attempting, in interviews he gave at the time, to create a song with the same feel as the Doobie Brothers records, and it went on to become one of BTO's biggest hits.
February 23, 1974 - Susan Jacks peaked in the Canadian top 10 with the ballad I Thought Of You Again. Susan spent most of her career being manipulated by her husband and her manager, and, perhaps, was easily swayed, but if, in the aftermath of her marriage, she had hooked up with the right producer, who knows how big she could have been.
February 23, 1974 - The Stampeders peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Running Wild. The road was starting to wear on the trio, and within a year the lineup would suffer its first change since downsizing to three. The revitalized band doubled in size, and included horn players.
February 23, 1974 - Gordon Sinclair, the dean of Canadian radio commentators, peaked in the top 30 here with The Americans, one of his comments that seemed to touch a nerve. The spoken word piece was covered, in the States, by CKLW newsman Byron MacGregor, and repeated its success south of the border.
February 23, 1980 - Rush entered the US charts with Spirit of Radio. The song became the theme of new Toronto station CFNY, who dubbed themselves the Spirit of Radio, but if they'd waited for the last line they would have realized that Rush was saying "...the spirit of radio is the salesman."
February 23, 1980 - April Wine peaked in the Canadian charts with Say Hello, arguably one of their most memorable songs, and built around a conflicting rhythm between the guitar players and the vocalist, much like reggae music, but sounding nothing at all like that form.
February 23, 1980 - Anne Murray peaked in the Canadian top 20 with one of her best remakes of another artist's hit when she covered John Stewart's Daydream Believer, made famous by the Monkees. It was a good time for Stewart, a onetime member of the Kingston Trio, whose own Lindsey Buckingham produced album gave him his only major hit as a solo artist just a few months before with the song Gold.
February 23, 1987 - Eight Seconds, out of Ottawa, peaked in the Canadian top 20 with Kiss You When It's Dangerous. Great things were expected of this band with the full weight of Polydor's team behind them, but, whatever the reasons, within a year members were on the road backing other artists like Sass Jordan.
February 23, 1987 - Glass Tiger peaked in the Canadian top 20 with You're What I Look For. Lead singer Allan Frew is still making great sounding records, although his latest release represents a handful of new songs combined with previously released material from a four-year old album. Still, one of this country's better pop-rock voices, and host of an annual charity fundraiser in southern Ontario that draws many of the great classic rockers out of the woodwork every year.
February 24, 1962 - Inspired by the Latin rhythms that were entering the charts through such as the Drifters and others, Paul Anka did his own interpretation on a song called Love Me Warm and Tender which entered the US charts on this day. Just for fun, check out the pattern on such tracks as Guantanamera, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', La Bamba, and Louie Louie. The similarity is uncanny. It's called the Guajira rhythm, and is still used today as the base for many songs.
February 24, 1964 - The Canadian music industry magazine RPM began publication in Toronto. RPM and its publisher, Walt Grealis, w ere major lobbyists for the Canadian content regulations imposed upon radio stations by the CRTC. RPM also began the RPM Gold Leaf Awards in 1964 to honor Canadian talent. These awards later became known as the Junos.
February 24, 1971 - Janis Joplin's "Pearl" goes gold.
February 24, 1973 - Gordon Lightfoot peaked in the Canadian top 5 with a tip of the hat to bluegrass called You Are What I Am. Though the Good Brothers are credited as backing musicians, only Larry, on banjo, and Bruce, on autoharp are used. Brian and Gord were, at the time, not speaking with each other over a mutual interest in a woman called, in song, Daylight Katy, otherwise known as Kathy Smith, later famous as the woman who shot up John Belushi on his last trip.
February 24, 1979 - The Blues Brothers, featuring the aforementioned Belushi alongside Canadian Dan Aykroyd, peaked in the Canadian top 20 with their version of Sam & Dave's Soul Man. Aykroyd was the son of a former City of Toronto police chief.
February 24, 1995 - After 18 years apart, Beau Dommage reunited for a concert tour of their native Quebec, kicking things off with a three-night stand in Terrebonne. Relatively unknown in English Canada, the band was the biggest francophone act in La Belle Province throughout most of the 70s.
February 25, 1967 - Gordon Lightfoot, under a little pressure from his record company to record songs a little less traditional than those he had been creating, came up with Go Go Round, a song about a gogo girl, which peaked in the Canadian top 30 on this day. As atypical as it may be, it remains a great example of the music of the times.
February 25, 1978 - Claudja Barry, a Canadian who did very well in the discos of the world, entered the US charts on this day with Dancin' Fever. Oddly enough, it didn't even dent the Canadian charts, although later tracks like Boogie Woogie Dancin' Shoes did quite well.
February 25, 1986 - "We Are the World," t he charity anthem by an all-star rock choir, won four Grammy Awards, including song and record of the year. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson wrote the song, which was recorded by 45 celebrities. The record raised more than 33 million dollars for African famine relief.
February 25, 1992 - Bryan Adams won for best song written specifically for a motion picture or television - for "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."
February 26, 1972 - Donny Osmond entered the US charts with his remake of Puppy Love. The song was written by Canadian Paul Anka and had been a major hit for him more than a decade earlier. Donny was still only 12 when he recorded his version, making him even younger than Paul who had recorded it at the age of 17.
February 26, 1972 - Frank Mills peaked at #1 on the Canadian charts with his only vocal hit, Love Me Love Me Love. He was far better known as a keyboard player, scoring big later in his career with Music Box Dancer. He recorded Love Me Love Me Love while still a member of Montreal's The Bells.
February 26, 1972 - Joey Groegorash's My Love Sings peaked in the Canadian top 30. Gregorash, sometimes spelled Gregrash, was a Winnipegger who specialized in lightweight pop, and his biggest success wasn't even his biggest hit. His The Wedding Song has sold more copies than any of his other records, but over a period of years.
February 26, 1972 - The Guess Who paid tribute to the early days of rock and roll, musically, even if, lyrically Life In the Bloodstream would never have existed in the 50s. The song peaked in the Canadian charts on this day.
February 26, 1989 - Bruce Cockburn was forced to cancel a show in Ottawa after falling and injuring his nose while taking the stage. He was treated in hospital, but a show the next night in Montreal went ahead as scheduled.
February 26, 1997 - Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson of Rush became the first rock musicians to be inducted into the Order of Canada. The Canadian government created the honor in 1967 to recognize "significant achievement in important fields of human endeavor."
February 26, 1997 - Celine Dion won two Grammy Awards for "Falling Into You" - album of the year and best pop album. At the time, "Falling Into You" had sold more than 21 million copies worldwide.
February 27, 1967 - The Toronto rock band The Paupers made their New York debut at the Cafe A Go Go. During the next year, The Paupers performed widely in the US and Canada, recording two albums and having modest hits in this country with the singles "If I Call You By Some Name" and "Simple Deed." The Paupers broke up in mid-1968.
February 27, 1971 - Neil Young took Don Gibson's Oh Lonesome Me to its highest point on the Canadian charts on this day. Gibson had recorded his song as a medium up tempo shoulder shrugging kind of take on lonesomeness, while Young brought it down to its bare bones and made loneliness sound as depressing as it might be to someone who just couldn't deal with it.
February 27, 1971 - Rare Earth peaked in the Canadian top 20 on this day with Born to Wander. The band was American but this song was written by Vancouver's Tom Baird, a former member of Bobby Taylor's band, and, before that, the Classics and the Collectors. After BT & the Vancouvers broke up, he remained on staff at Motown as a writer, but drowned in a boating accident in 1975 off the BC coast.
February 27, 1974 - Joni Mitchell has her biggest album with "Court and Spark" (#2), which turns gold on this date. The highest charting singles are "Help Me" (#7) and "Free Man in Paris" (#22).
February 27, 1977 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police raid Keith Richards' Toronto hotel suite while he is asleep and seize 22 grams of heroin, 5 grams of cocaine and narcotics paraphenalia. Richards is arrested, charged with possession of heroin with intent to traffic and possession of cocaine. He is released on $25,000 bail. Trial is set for October. With Richards previous arrests for various problems, fans and associates of the Rolling Stones fear this will be the one that will bring an end to the 15 year old band.
February 27, 1984 - The Boys Brigade peaked in the Canadian top 40 with their hit Melody. Among the lineup of this six-man band was a young Malcolm Burn who, soon after, would leave the group to work fulltime with Daniel Lanois, learning the production game.
February 27, 1988 - Joe Cocker peaked in the Canadian charts with All Our Tomorrows, written by Toronto's Eddie Schwartz. It wouldn't crack the top 40, but, south of the border, the song was a major hit on the adult contemporary charts.
February 27, 1995 - Celine Dion made British chart history by becoming the fi rst artist in more than 30 years to have both the number-one album and single for five straight weeks. Dion topped the singles chart with "Think Twice" and the album chart with "The Color of My Love." The last time that happened for five consecutive weeks was in 1964 with "I Feel Fine" and "Beatles for Sale."
February 28, 1970 - The Guess Who peaked at #1 in the Canadian charts with No Time. The track represented, through its use of fuzz guitar, the first success the band had with the newer heavier style of rock music, though was still somewhat lightweight, sonically, when compared to their mid-60s hit, Shakin' All Over.
February 28, 1976 - Wednesday peaked in the Canadian top ten with Loving You Baby. It was the band's second top ten hit, following their remake of Last Kiss a couple of years earlier. Despite that earlier success, or because of it, the band always had problems in the credibility department.
February 28, 1976 - The Stampeders borrowed a trick from The Guess Who, and used Wolfman Jack as guest vocalist on their version of Hit the Road Jack. Earlier, Jack had sung of the GW's Clap For the Wolfman, which put them back into the American top ten. The Stamps, who had not been in the US charts for four years, entered them on this day with this track, and ended up cracking the top 40 there a few weeks later.
February 28, 1983 - Sheriff peaked in the Canadian top 5 on this date with When I'm With You. The song would have a long and strange life, however, coming back to become an American top seller six years later at which time it would re-enter the Canadian top ten. By this time, the band had broken up, and leader Arnold Lanni was doing quite well with his next project, Frozen Ghost. Vocalist Fred Curci tried to convince the band to reform following the rebirth of the earlier hit but was unsuccessful, so he and Steve DiMarchi formed a new band called Alias with three former members of Heart, to cash in as best they could. The result, they had a top 5 hit on their own with More Than Words Can Say.
February 28, 1989 - Sebastian Bach, the Toronto-born lead singer of the heavy metal band Skid Row, spent the night in jail in Hampton, Virginia for using abusive and violent language on stage. He was released after paying a $35 fine.
February 28, 1996 - Canadian singer Alanis Morissette won four major Grammy Awards, including album of the year and rock album of the year for "Jagged Little Pill." She also picked up trophies for best rock song and best female rock vocal performance, both for her single "You Oughta Know." Canadians picked up a total of 11 Grammys, including two by Joni Mitchell for her album "Turbulent Indigo." Faith Hill won the best country album Grammy for "The Woman In Me."