Toronto

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Toronto

 

A native of Kentucky, Annie Woods moved to Ontario as a teen and began singing in bars and lounges almost as soon as she was of legal age. After meeting up with guitarist Brian Allen in the late 70's, she started going by the name of Holly Woods. At the time Allen was in a band called Rose, whose final album JUDGEMENT DAY features Woods singing on the song "Johnny Law". After Rose split up Allen recruited his old bandmate Jim Fox on drums and bassist Nick Costello. Enter Woods again this time with guitarist friend Sharon Alton and Toronto was born. After adding Scott Kreyer on keyboards in '79 they were noticed by the same management company which handled The Raes (don't bother looking for anything on them ... really not worth mentioning) and Chilliwack, they were soon signed to a deal with Solid Gold Records.

Their debut LOOKING FOR TROUBLE came out in the summer of 1980. Their street-wise image mixed with their hard-edged sound made Toronto instant staples on FM stations across the country. With the lead-off single "Even The Score", critics instantly took notice of the band as one of Canada's most promising new talents. The title-track, "5035" and covers of the 'Stones' "Let's Spend The Night Together" and Eddie Schwartz's "You Better Run" all drove home the message Toronto was here, pushing their debut platinum in near-record time.

They followed it up the next year with HEAD ON. From the opening riffs of the lead-off title-track, Toronto showed their debut on the scene the year before was no fluke. Supported by the gold single "Enough Is Enough", HEAD ON showed the versatility of a band capable of not only the straight forward rockers, but also the well-thought-out complexities of a good power ballad. Also on the record was "Silver Screen" about a young girl's dreams of movie stardom and Allen/Woods duet rocker "Still Talking About Love". An extensive tour across Canada followed which also saw them in the States early into '82.

Their third straight platinum record came in the form of GET IT ON CREDIT in the fall of '82. Yet again, the lead off track "Break Down The Barricades" saw furious lick trading between Allen and Alton and Woods' now trademark vocals. Harder than ever, the title-track and the smash "Your Daddy Don't Know" were further evidence a six piece group could act like a well-oiled machine with new drummer Barry Connors, Kreyer and new bassist Gary Lalonde, who Allen worked with in Rose prior. "Start Telllin' The Truth" again showed the diverse writing talents of the group, crossing over to the keyboard-laden easy listening side of the rock realm.

GIRLS' NIGHT OUT was released the next year but seemed to lack the edge of their previous efforts. The first single, "All I Need", title-track and "Ready To Make Up" were all moderate hits. But the first album with new drummer Paul Hanna was the first to not reach platinum. Incorporating more keyboards into what were now smoother melodies, the fifty some thousand copies that were sold did however push it gold. Innovative marketing before its time saw them package the record in a trippey 3d album jacket.

The group took time off to release a greatest hits compilation in '84 and followed it up with ASSAULT AND FLATTERY with new bassist Mike Gingrich. Falling back to a heavier sound, the singles "Kerry Anne" "New Romance" and the near-metal "Bang Your Head" showed the group's maturity, able to blend slick hooks with the hard edge that brought them to the dance. As is all too often the case in this country, the "record know-it-alls" quickly passed off easily the group's most under-rated album. Without proper support from management, A&F proved a disaster, not even going gold. Now without a record deal, inner turmoil between members caused the breakup of the group in 1985. Among other things, Allen and Alton had been doing outside projects at the time, including writing Heart's "These Dreams" with Bryan Adams' collaberator Jim Vallance.

A reunion was announced in 1997 but unfortunately was met with lacklustre interest. Still, a cross-Canada tour ensued and interest was again renewed following a series of blistering live performances. Toronto was back. The group is still on the road, doing what they do best.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox


Discography

Lookin' For Trouble
Lookin' For Trouble (1980)

Even The Score
You Better Run
5035
Get Your Hands Off Of Me
Do What You Want
Tie Me Down
Don't Stop Me Now
Looking For Trouble
Delirious
Shot Down
Let's Spend The Night Together

Head On
Head On (1981)

Head On
Silver Screen
Still Talkin Bout Love
Someone Will Play The Blues
It Comes From You
Enough Is Enough
Master Of Disguise
Blackmail
Gone In A Flash

Get It On Credit
Get It On Credit (1982)

Break Down The Barricades
Your Daddy Don't Know
Start Telling The Truth
You're A Mystery To Me
Don't Walk Away
Get It On Credit
Sick and Tired
You Love To Love
Why Can't We Talk
Run For Your Life

Girls Night Out
Girls Night Out (1983)

Girls Night Out
All I Need
Ready To Make Up
Standing In
Talk To Me
All Night Love Affair
When Can I See You Again
Come Give Me The Once Over
Those Eyes
Who's Your Lover

Assault & Flattery
Assault & Flattery (1984)

New Romance
Kerry Anne
Sometimes Change
Look What's Showing Through
Bang Your Head
Desperation
Assault and Flattery
Cats and Dogs
No More Cliches

Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits (1984)

Your Daddy Don't Know
Lookin For Trouble
Enough Is Enough
Start Tellin The Truth
Even The Score
Andrea
Ready To Make Up
All I Need
Silver Screen
Head On
Me Generation


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