The Box was a new wave band formed in Montreal in 1981 by Jean-Marc Pisapia, an early member of Men Without Hats. They scored seven Top 40 singles, the biggest being “Carry On” in March 1990 which peaked at #12. Like Men Without Hats they were able to incorporate some French into their songs and still get airplay on highly discriminatory English radio stations outside Quebec. After four albums they called it quits in 1992.
Janz was born in Alberta and grew up in Switzerland before settling in North Vancouver. He was raised in a Mennonite family and became a theologian. Seven of his driving melodic rhythms became Top 40 hit singles, the most notable of which was “Every Little Tear” which peaked at #5 in 1990.
Luba was perhaps the most successful female singer in the male-dominated 80s, at least in terms of hit singles. While most successful Anglophone women had been in folk, country, and adult contemporary (Anne Murray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell, etc.), Luba deserves credit as the first successful woman in pop. This success helped open the door to the appearance of the first female superstar (Alannah Myles) in 1989 and the many women who followed. It is no surprise, given the success of female artists from Quebec, that Luba arose from Montreal.
Luba landed nine Top 40 hits, her biggest (#6) being a cover of Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”. Her most successful original song was 1990′s “Giving Away a Miracle” which peaked at #9. That year she went on hiatus from the music industry to dedicate more time to family. She returned 10 years later with “Is She a Lot Like Me”, a Top 30 hit.
A rock band from Prince Edward Island? You gotta be kidding! No, we’re not! Debuting in 1985, these rockers chalked up a hat trick of platinum albums and five Top 40 hits despite ill treatment from their record company, Attic Records, who constantly made unrealistic demands and did little to promote the band. Haywire’s biggest hit was “Dance Desire” which peaked at #10 and made the year-end Top 100. It also won the Best Song Award at the World Popular Song Festival in Japan.
A more progressive and sophisticated sound animated the work of Honeymoon Suite unlike their more poppy contemporaries Glass Tiger and Platinum Blonde. Like the latter, they managed five Top 40 singles, the most successful of which was 1988′s “Love Changes Everything” (#9). Their albums sold well, attaining Platinum Status and they won the Juno Award for Group of the Year in 1986. The band named itself after their hometown of Niagara Falls, the honeymoon capital of the world.
The Sarnia native departed from the album-oriented band Max Webster in 1981 to pursue a solo career. His Shakin’ Like a Human Being won the Album of the Year Juno in 1987 and he won the Best Male Artist Juno in 1990. Mitchell’s 1985 song “Go for Soda” was featured in an episode of TV Series “Miami Vice”. Three of his songs made the year-end Top 100 RPM charts, the most successful being 1989′s “Rock and Roll Duty“, 43rd of the year.
Patrick had been active since the 60s. His bilingual disco song “Let’s Try Once Again” in 1977 sold 100,000 units. But his switch from RCA to the Star label in 1984 proved to be a good move. His Quand on est en amour album sold a quarter million copies thanks mostly to its title-track, a huge hit in Quebec. Norman won the Felix Award for Male as well as Album Artist of the Year in 1987.
Platinum Blonde scored a #1 hit in 1985 which became the 5th biggest song of the year: “Crying Over You“. “Situation Critical” (#8) ensured they were not a one-hit wonder group and that their album Alien Shores went multi-platinum. They managed three further Top 40 hits. These guys were a British-Canadian hybrid band based in Toronto, known for their glam-like appearance, big blonde hairdos, and pastel outfits. Later on they renamed themselves The Blondes and had a minor hit in 1990 before calling it quits.