Tag Archives: Stompin’ Tom Connors
In the late-60s Canadian music became a major force and rose as steadily as the so-called British invasion declined. This set up what became known as “The Canadian Invasion” of the early-70s in the United States. The act that spearheaded this invasion was what some consider to be the greatest Canuck rock band of all-time: The Guess Who. But it took some tricks for them to be noticed at all in the beginning.
Besides Canadian and American hybrid bands, who churned out some big hits, other purely Canadian outfits emerged in this period. Toronto-based Little Caesar & the Consuls scored hits, beginning with “My Girl Sloopy” which won an RPM award for best produced single. Their song “You Really Got a Hold on Me” (a cover of The Miracles’ 1962 hit) topped the charts in 1965. The following year, they cracked the Top 10 with “You Laugh Too Much”. Also big in 1966 was “The Merry Ploughboy” by the Carlton Showband. Douglas Rankin & the Secrets ate up the charts with “(Clear the Track) Here Comes Shack”. This novelty song, which charted for nearly three months in Toronto, peaking at #1, was about hockey star Eddie Shack who played for the Leafs.
1967 was Canada’s centennial birthday and the biggest Canadian hit came from the short-lived band The Ugly Ducklings; their “Gaslight” was the 7th biggest song of the year and the second most popular Canadian song of the late-60s. The Lords of London also had a major hit with their “Cornflakes & Ice Cream”.
In 1969, eight of the Top 100 songs of the year, according to Toronto’s CHUM radio, were by Canadian artists. Besides aforementioned selections, The Poppy Family scored with “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” It won Song of the Year at the Junos and sold over two million copies worldwide. They had another big hit two years later: “Where Evil Grows”. The Poppy Family, like Ian & Sylvia, was a married duo who divorced a few years after success came. The husband, as a soloist, scored one of the biggest international hits of the 1970s; we’ll talk about Terry Jacks later.
In terms of solo artists, the most successful of the late-60s, perhaps, with several hits, both domestically and internationally, was Andy Kim. His first big hit was “How’d We Every Get This Way” (1968). The following year, “Baby I Love You” did even better, finishing in 20th place in the year-end charts. And let’s not forget to mention that it was Kim who co-wrote one of the biggest-selling singles of all-time: The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar”. Claude Dubois scored an everlasting hit with “J’ai Souvenir Encore”. This gifted performer and Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee has enjoyed a lengthy career. The godfather of French Canadian rock appeared in the late-60s. His name: Robert Charlebois. Following suit was rock ‘n roller Michel Pagliaro who released a string of hits at the end of the decade and crossed over to the English-speaking market in the ’70s. The only other soloist worth mentioning is Barry Allen due to the success of his song “Lovedrops” in 1966.
Canadians continued contributing to the world of country thanks to Stompin’ Tom Connors and showed no signs of slowing down in the flourishing folk music industry. Two of the greatest folk artists arose in the late-60s, both of whom have been inducted into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their names—Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.