Streetheart

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Streetheart

Streetheart

 

Originally called Wascana, the band is undoubtedly one of the prairies' biggest contributions to the Canadian rock scene. The brainchild of Winnipeg childhood friends Kenny Shields and Daryl Gutheil on keyboards . When a Kenny (Spider) Sinnaeve came from 'Toontown to join the group in 1976 they changed their name to Witness and added guitarist Paul Dean and drummer Matt Frennette later that year. One last name change and Streetheart was born. The group paid their proverbial dues for the next couple of years doing dinghy bars and anything else they could to hone their chops, all the while building a small, grass-roots following who enjoyed their simple but tight, hard-edged style.

The group was signed to Capitol Records in 1978 and that same year released what is widely considered one of Canadian rock's best debut records to date, MEANWHILE BACK IN PARIS. Backed by the energy of the first single"Look At Me", the record's depth was solidified by "Pressure", "Just For You", "People Taking Pieces of Me" and their swan song, "Action". Though in all honesty nothing landmark or genius, George Semkiew's style of straight, no-frills-heavy on the guitars-bar room feel production pushed the record to gold status.

1979 saw Dean and Frenette leave the group to form LOVERBOY. Drummer Herb Ego, ex of Painter and guitarist John Hannah joined the group that summer and the newly-reformed quintet cut UNDER HEAVEN OVER HELL later that year, and contained what would become their biggest single, a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb" and a cover of The Faces' "Here Comes The Night". Noteable about this album is it was recorded in Quebec and behind the helm were veterans Nick Blagona and Manny Charlton. Blagona's engineering expertise blended with the studio tricks up Charlton's sleeve he learned as the guitarist/producer for Nazareth to further cement Streetheart as one of Canada's most under-rated and promising talents.

The band released QUICKSAND SHOES in late 1980. Numbers like the singles "Joke's On You", "Dragging You Down" and "Teenage Rage" fed the fans who craved the sophisticated but heavy thunder the group had become known for, while the instrumental "Highway Isolation" showcased the group's depth and versatility. By this time the group's live shows were the highlight of all medium-sized venues from Winnipeg to the west coast.

DRUGSTORE DANCER followed the next summer and was supported by the title track. The shear force of "Hollywood", John Hannah's best riff in "Trouble" and the powerful harmonies of "Tin Soldier" further helped push their fourth record to platinum status. Though the group tried touring practically every corner of Canada and south of the border, their strongest holding was still the western provinces.

A greatest hits package entitled ACTION - THE BEST OF STREETHEART was released later that year and was followed in 1982 by their platinum record simply entitled STREETHEART. Reunited with producer Semkiew, the group saw three tracks hit the airwaves, including the hit power ballad "What Kind of Love Is This". "One More Time" and "Snow White" on the other hand not only played on every car radio in Canada that summer but, along with "Without Your Love", quickly became common repeats on every bar dj in the country's request list. Their brand of bar-room style concerts were finally catching on in central and eastern Canada, shooting the album past the platinum sales mark.

DANCING WITH DANGER was released that same year and contained the hits "You're Not The Only One" and "Too Hot To Stop", as well as the title-track and "Midnight Love". Though still a fine piece of work, some of Streetheart's lustre had tarnished during the time off from the road and the other tracks like "Coming True" failed to meet the critics' expectations considering the success of their last studio record.

The cross-country tour that followed resulted in LIVE AFTER DARK. Released in 1983 it was pieced together from the shows done in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Regina. Unfortunaltely though by this time conflicts with management had gotten in the way of the group's creativity. This along with a lack of hunger and focus caused their breakup by late 1983.

Capitol released BURIED TREASURES the next year, a collection of tracks which previously hadn't made it off the cutting room floors and cheesy ploys on their part saw an alternate version of "Look In Your Eyes" as the lead single. Though definitely nothing special, the record is worth seeking out as a collectible. Another compilation was released in 1989 in the company's "Over Sixty Minutes With ..." series. A good mix of the band's studio work as well as the live material made the disc pretty much a necessity for any true Canadian rock fan.

The group enjoyed a loyal home-grown base of fans throughout their fifteen-odd year career and saw six albums go gold, four of which went on to go platinum. Some felt their time was near when they disbanded, calling it quits too early. Others thought they'd reached any plateau they were going to. And although they've occasionally gotten back together for the odd gig or two, their name has all but disappeared off the face of the Canadian music world ... and sadly so.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox


Discography

Meanwhile Back In Paris
Meanwhile Back In Paris (1978)

Action
Pressure
Feel It
Move On Over
Look At Me
Captain Rhythm
Streetwalker
People Taking Pieces Of Me
Just For You

Under Heaven Over Hell
Under Heaven Over Hell (1979)

Hollywood
Main Street
Fight To Survive
Baby's Got A Gun
Dreaded Dotted Line
Star
Whose Turn Is It Tonight
Here Comes The Night
Under My Thumb

Quicksand Shoes
Quicksand Shoes (1980)

Angela
Daddy's Love
500 Miles
Baby Please
Highway Isolation
Joke's On You
Sad Affair
Dragging You Down
Feel Free
Sin City

Drugstore Dancer
Drugstore Dancer (1981)

Drugstore Dancer
Teenage Rage
Nobody Like You
Go To Hell
You're Gonna Crash
Tin Soldier
Trouble
Soldout
Let Me Go

Action: Best Of Streetheart
Action: Best Of Streetheart (1981)

Action
Look At Me
Here Comes The Night
Can You Feel It
Just For You
Under My Thumb
Hollywood
Joke's On You
Highway Isolation

Streetheart
Streetheart (1982)

Action
Look At Me
Here Comes The Night
Can You Feel It
Just For You
Under My Thumb
Hollywood
Joke's On You
Highway Isolation

Dancing With Danger
Dancing With Danger (1983)

Dancing With Danger
Comin' True
You're Not The Only One
Don't Let Her Leave You
Midnight Love
Underground
Too Hot To Stop
Night Writer
Leave My Home
Have It Your Way

Live After Dark
Live After Dark (1983)

Hollywood
Action
Too Hot To Stop
One More Time
Miss Plaza Suite
Without Your Love
Snow White
Just For You
Tin Soldier
Trouble
What Kind Of Love Is This
You're Not The Only One
Look In Your Eyes
Under My Thumb

Buried Treasures
Buried Treasures (1984)

Hot Cherie
Fine Line
Walk On Water
Nobody Said It Was Gonna Be Easy
Need A Million
Wanna Be With You
Crazy Baby
Look In Your Eyes
So Lonely

Over 60 Minutes With...
Over 60 Minutes With... (1989)

Hollywood (live)
Just For You (live)
What Kind Of Love Is This
Drugstore Dancer
Teenage Rage
Miss Plaza Suite
Tin Soldier
Trouble
Action (live)
Look In Your Eyes
Comin True
Without Your Love
One More Time
Under My Thumb (live)
Snow White (live)
Have It Your Way


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