Lighthouse

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Lighthouse

Lighthouse

 

One of Canada's most original pop groups ever, Lighthouse was formed in Toronto early in 1969 when drummer Skip Prokop and guitarist Ralph Cole hooked up with keyboard player Paul Hoffert, who was already an accomplished musician doing session work on the local scene. While Cole was actually trained in more classical stylings and relatively new to rock and roll, Prokop already had a wealth of experience, including The Paupers, and having previously worked with the likes of Janis Joplin, Al Kooper and Carlos Santana.

The 'full orchestra sound' which would become the band's trademark was rounded out by an additional 10 members including singer Pinky Dauvin. Their sound was as diverse as their listening audience, and contained such instruments as cellos, violas, an array of horns and a full percussion section. The band was doing their first gig outdoors by May of that year and were signed to a deal with RCA shortly thereafter. They released their self-titled debut that same year and were instantly met with critics' praises, following the success of the lead-off single, "Feels So Good". Next up was PEACING IT ALL TOGETHER, still in '69 , which featured the single "The Chant". Their third and final album with RCA was released before year end. SUITE FEELINGS followed the natural evolution Lighthouse was going through, but failed to produce a single.

Problems with management saw the band switch to GRT Records the next year. Commercial success began catching up to the critics' praise with ONE FINE MORNING, released that summer. With new singer Bob McBride and producer Jimmy Ienner behind the controls, whose resume included work with The Raspberries and The Chamber Brothers, the first of 2 singles was released. "Hats Off", followed by the title-track, helped push Lighthouse as one of the country's most promising pop acts. Appearances at major outdoor concerts, including The Isle Of Wight, The Monterey Pop and Newport Jazz Festivals also helped make their mark on the international circuit. ONE FINE MORNING also earned the band their first gold record, selling in excess of 50,000 copies at home. The band was rewarded early the next year with a Juno Award for Outstanding Group Performance for OFM.

THOUGHTS OF MOVING ON came out in 1971 and featured the hit "Take It Slow". Held together by an intricate but tight horns section, blended with a cohesive percussion unit and clever pop hooks, the band continued their tours of the world's outdoor concert scene, gaining them their second straight gold record. RCA stateside released ONE FINE LIGHT later that year, a compilation of some of the band's earlier works.

LIGHTHOUSE LIVE, Canada's first platinum-selling record, was taped at Carnegie Hall and hit the shelves later that year while the band took some time off. They responded from their hiatus with SUNNY DAYS, put out in '72. Backed by the international success of the title tune, Canada's summer-anthem, they soon earned another gold record and the next year, was awarded with another Juno, this one for Group Of The Year.

Following another world tour, CAN YOU FEEL IT? came out in '73 . Backed by the lead-off track "You Girl", Lighthouse enjoyed another gold effort. Two other singles came of it, the soulful "Broken Guitar Blues" and the upbeat "Pretty Lady". Despite following their proven forumula, they found themselves in the middle of a changing musical environment. Dissension within the band caused Hoffert to leave later that year, followed by the dismissal of McBride from the ranks. Burnout was taking its toll. That, coupled with problems with management caused Prokop's departure following the release of GOOD DAY in '74. GRT released a compilation that same year called simply THE BEST OF LIGHTHOUSE.

The remaining members carried on for another 2 years before succumbing to the obvious - a building can have as many bricks as you want - but it won't last if you take out the cornerstones. Gone but not forgotten, demand for simple but sophisticated pop brought the founding members back together for a series of gigs in Toronto in the summer of '82. In 1989 Denon Records bought the rights to the music and released BEST OF LIGHTHOUSE - SUNNY DAYS AGAIN that same year, then a remastered LIGHTHOUSE LIVE in '91. The renewed interest spawned a full band reunion in '93, which found them touring again for the first time in over 15 years.

The band put out SONG OF THE AGES in '96. Though it didn't spawn any singles, it showed the world that one of Canada's most original pop acts ever was back - and still strong. A remastered Greatest Hits package hit the stores two years later, shortly after the untimely death of Bob McBride from compilations from substance abuse. Today, the group is still touring, concentrating mostly on outdoor festivals, where their oversized rock-orchestra sound fit in right at home.

Lighthouse was undeniably one of the driving forces of the Canadian pop machine of the '70's. With a total of nine gold records, one platinum and 3 Junos, no other band of the day could touch them. In a time before Canadian radio stations were required to play a minimum of homegrown talent, Lighthouse wasn't affected. Their keen pop sensibility, combined with plain musical talent and clever production styles, helped their light shine brightly, guiding many of today's groups along the way.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox

Discography

Lighthouse
Lighthouse (1969)

Mountain Man
If There Ever Was A Time
No Opportunity Necessary
Never Say Goodbye
Follow the Stars
Whatever Forever
Eight Miles High
Marsha Marsha
Ah I Can Feel It
Life Can Be So Simple

Peacing It All Together
Peacing It All Together (1969)

Nam Myoho Renge´ Kyo / Let the Happiness Begin
Everyday I Am Reminded
The Country Song
Sausalito
The Fiction of Twenty-Six Million
The Chant (Nam Myoho Renge´ Kyo)
Mr. Candleman
On My Way to L.A.
Daughters and Sons
Just a Little More Time
Little People

Suite Feeling
Suite Feeling (1969)

Chest Fever
Feel So Good
Places on Faces Four Blue Carpet Traces
Could You Be Concerned
Presents of Presence
Taking A Walk
Eight Loaves of Bread
What Sense
A Day in the Life

One Fine Morning
One Fine Morning (1970)

Love of a Woman
Little Kind Words
Old Man
Sing, Sing, Sing
1849
One Fine Morning
Hats Off
Show Me the Way
Step Out on the Sea
Sweet Lullabye

Thoughts Of Movin' On
Thoughts Of Movin' On (1971)

Take it Slow (Out in the Country)
What Gives You the Right
You and Me
Fly My Airplane
I'd Be So Happy
I Just Wanna Be Your Friend
I'm Gonna Try To Make It
Rockin' Chair
Walk Me Down
Insane

One Fine Light
One Fine Light (1971)

Mountain Man
If There Ever Was A Time
Whatever Forever
Eight Miles High
Follow the Stars
Never Say Goodbye
Marsha Marsha
Ah I Can Feel It
Life Can Be So Simple
Chest Fever
Presents of Presence
Taking A Walk
A Day in the Life
Everyday I Am Reminded
Mr. Candleman
On My Way to L.A.
Just a Little More Time
Daughters and Sons

Lighthouse Live!
Lighthouse Live! (1972)

I Just Wanna Be Your Friend
Take it Slow (Out in the Country)
Old Man
Rockin' Chair
You and Me
Sweet Lullabye
1849
Eight Miles High
One Fine Morning
Insane

Sunny Days
Sunny Days (1972)

Silver Bird
Sunny Days
You Girl
Beneath My Woman
Merlin
Broken Guitar Blues
Letter Home
You Give to to Me
Lonely Places

Can You Feel It
Can You Feel It (1973)

Set the Stage
Same Train
Magic's in the Dancing
Pretty Lady
Disagrreqable Man
Can You Feel It
Is Love the Answer
Lonely Hours
No More Searching
Bright Side

Good Day
Good Day (1974)

White Buffalo
Wide-Eyed Lady
Got a Feeling
Be Here Now
Good Day
Man, Woman, Child
Mighty Waters
Going Downtown
Reincarnate Nation

The Best Of Lighthouse
The Best Of Lighthouse (1974)

One Fine Morning
Sunny Days
Can You Feel It
Take It Slow (Out in the Country)
Insane
Hats Off (to the Stranger)
You Girl
Silver Bird
1849
Eight Miles High

Sunny Days Again
The Best Of Lighthouse - Sunny Days Again (1989)

One Fine Morning
Hats Off
Little Kind Words
1849
Sunny Days
Sweet Lullabye
Take It Slow
Broken Guitar Blues
I Just Wanna Be Your Friend
You Girl
Silver Bird
Lonely Places
Pretty Lady
Can You Feel It
Magic's In The Dancing
Good Day

Lighthouse Live!
Lighthouse Live! (1991)

I Just Wanna Be Your Friend
Take it Slow (Out in the Country)
Old Man
Rockin' Chair
You and Me
Sweet Lullabye
1849
Eight Miles High
One Fine Morning
Insane

Song Of The Ages
Song Of The Ages (1996)

Song of the Ages
Fifty to Life
Ain't Money Funny
Pale Rider
Sweetness
Remember the Times
T.V.Voodoo
Fine China
Justice in the Nineties
Will You Love Me
Heat of the Moment
Reason to Celebrate
Time Tides


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