Category Archives: Blast from the Past
In celebration of Bruno Pelletier’s 11th studio album, we present the following blast from the past. “Notre-Dame de Paris” was a Canadian-made musical based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo. The music was composed by Italian songwriter Richard Cocciante with lyrics by Canada’s Luc Plamondon. The production debuted in Paris in 1998 with an international cast. The show made its way around the world — Spain, China, Italy, Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Russia, the US, Haiti, Korea, and Belgium. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this magnificent Canadian production had the most successful first year of any musical in world history. The soundtrack achieved quintuple-platinum certification at home. One of the stars in both the French and British cast was Canadian singer Bruno Pelletier who played the character of Gringoire. “Le temps des cathédrales” was the opening song of the show and Bruno Pelletier nailed it, he simply nailed it. Enjoy.
When Prince sang “We’re going to party like it’s 1999″ and the year finally rolled around, there was perhaps more talk of Y2K than partying, that overlooked computer glitch that was “a train wreck waiting to happen on the way to nowhere…”
1999 began with the launch of the Euro, was rocked by conflict in Kosovo, and ended with the United States handing over complete administration of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian government.
Here at home, we saw the birth of a new territory called Nunavut and the death of beloved country star Hank Snow. Eaton’s went bankrupt, Air Canada took over Canadian Airlines, and Gretzky retired from playing hockey.
At the cinema, our Mike Myers had the third most popular movie of the year (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) behind #1 Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and #2 Toy Story 2. The most recognized Canuck film was Sunshine starring Ralph Fiennes.
And yes, the year was filled with tension about the so-called Y2K virus. When the year ended, nothing happened.
The most popular albums in Canada through the year were #1 Millennium by The Backstreet Boys, #2 Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, and #3 Come on Over by Shania Twain. The biggest song of the year was Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” followed by Sugar Ray’s “Every Morning”, and The Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way”. The most successful Canadian tune was Sky’s “Love Song”, the 6th most popular song of the year.
At the JUNOs, the award for BEST POP/ADULT ALBUM went to a record that was 52nd of the year (released in October) and was certified double-platinum. Its author won the JUNO for BEST FEMALE ARTIST. The album was the sophomore work of a piano prodigy singer-songwriter from Winnipeg who, in addition to becoming one of the country’s most beloved artists, has written / co-written songs for Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Hilary Duff, Carrie Underwood, and Avril Lavigne among others.
Colour, Moving, and Still is perhaps our favourite Canadian album of all-time. From start to finish, the music is refreshingly inspired, complex, literary, reflective, yearning, beautiful, and earnest. Though the album opener, “Blue”, is perhaps our favourite track, it was the playful “Before You” that became its biggest hit. It scaled up the RPM charts peaking at #2 and finished in the Year-End Top 100 at #71.
Our blast from the past is 1999′s, “Before You” by Chantal Kreviazuk. Enjoy.
“With all the work that they’ve accomplished over their past several days in space, the space shuttle Discovery crew members have just a few more tasks left to complete before they say goodbye to their International Space Station colleagues. The crews’ last day together started at 2:23 a.m., with the wakeup song, ‘Spaceship Superstar’ by Prism. It was chosen for all Discovery crew members by the team of flight controllers who have been supporting them overnight throughout the mission.”
– NASA, 6 March 2011
Undoubtedly one of the greatest Canadian classic rock tunes of all-time. It was released in 1977.
With the CCMA awards coming up, and brand new Canadian talent on the rise like CRMA winner Kira Isabella and Dallas Smith, I couldn’t help think about the legend who started it all, the grandfather of Canadian country, Wilf Carter. RCA in Montreal recorded Canada’s very first hit country record way back in 1932, Wilf Carter’s “My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby” / “The Capture of Albert Johnson”. Enjoy a real Canadian classic.
Over the past few years, recording engineers have unholstered their trigger fingers in the trend of speeding up recordings to make male singers sound female without their having to fill us with their falsettos. They have not offered an explanation for doing this. Why not simply have female singers voice the songs? Lorne Greene (1915-1987) was a man who sang like a man, though, in this particular hit (his biggest), he does not sing but … raps I suppose?
Lorne Greene was born in Ottawa and attended the prestigious Queen’s University in Kingston initially pursuing a career in chemical engineering. While there, he dabbled in acting and became involved with the campus radio station. He realized that this was more of a calling for him than mastering the periodic table of elements. He landed a job as a radio broadcaster with the CBC and moved up in the ranks very quickly becoming known as “The Voice of Canada”. During World War II, however, constant disturbing news reports turned the tide for him into the “Voice of Doom”.
Greene decided to branch out and began narrating films for the National Film Board. This led to small parts in Hollywood films and television series. He was given a major role in the hit TV series “Bonanza” which ran from 1959 to 1973. During this period, he recorded several country albums and scored a few hit singles. His biggest hit, a chart-topper, was the spoken word piece “Ringo” in 1964.
JUNO award winning (Jerry) Doucette was an exceptionally talented guitarist and singer-songwriter originally from Montreal, eventually settling in Vancouver where he launched his solo career. He is one of those great ones who enjoyed hits on the radio but many seem to have forgotten. Doucette scored hits like “Mama Let Him Play“, “Nobody“, and “All I Wanna Do”. One of his albums was certified platinum. He was quite versatile in that he made some rockin’ numbers as well as soft rock / adult contemporary tunes but in either case his music was always melodic with rich harmonies. The Canadian Music Blog wishes to make mention of him lest his fabulous contributions to Canadian music get lost in the cobwebs of crusty memory. Music videos were not so abundant in the 1970s, so here is a fan assembled video for his hit “All I Wanna Do”: