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ATF Tunes: You never called when you said you would

Toronto boys Paul Grace, his brother Tony, and Rob DeBoer became a dance remix production team. They worked with such recording artists as Camille, Kim Stockwood, Ashley MacIsaac, Econoline Crush, Bif Naked and Sky before deciding to put out their own dance album in 1999, under the name The Boomtang Boys, which they presumptuously titled Greatest Hits, Volume One. Singer Kim Esty sang many of the tracks. Half of the songs on the album were dance versions of well-known songs like Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”, Marc Bolan’s “Bang a Gong”, Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”, and Gershon Kingsley’s “Popcorn”. Although some might find their making a dance version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” sacrilegious, it was one of our favourite songs of 1999 and was sung beautifully. As we are not including covers in our Top 50, we have to restrict our selections to original songs, and the Boomtang Boys’ album had several, the most popular being “Squeeze Toy”. However, we liked “I Was a Fool“, one of our favourite songs of all-time by a Canadian act.

Lyrics

You never called when you said you would
And you never treated me the way you should
Why did I believe in you
When everything you told me was untrue

[chorus:]
I was a fool
To put my faith in you
I trusted you
I was a fool

You were never there when I needed you
And you never talked when I needed to
How could I have failed to see
How you would end up treating me

[chorus]

Summary

Song: “I Was a Fool”
Album: Greatest Hits, Volume One
Year: 1999
Artist: The Boomtang Boys
Origin: Toronto

More songs…

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in ATF Tunes, Songs

 

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Bands, Bangs, and Boomtangs (2000-2002)

The first new major star to arise in the new millennium was a Canadian of Portuguese descent who had grown up in Victoria, BC. After her Juno Song of the Year winner “I’m Like a Bird”, Nelly Furtado went on to sell 20 million of her three studio albums worldwide. But the early years of first decade were known for a slew of new (mostly short-lived) bands.

RPM magazine and their national charts folded in Y2K and determination of the Canadian charts was ultimately handed over to the Americans. Coincidentally, Canadian music seemed to become increasingly Americanized with a host of Canadian-made R&B and rap songs reaching high positions on the charts. Interesting though was the fact that new Canadian artists who embraced American styles of music, though scoring one or two big hits, did not last past an album or two. Fewer new Canuck acts took on genres more Canadian, but those who did saw greater and longer-lasting success.

Alberta gave the nation and the world the hard rock group Nickelback who scored the biggest hit of the year in 2002 on the U.S. Billboard charts. And a young singer from small town Ontario, who swung between pop and punk, scored a diamond debut album and, by the end of the decade, had sold over 30 million records worldwide. Her name was Avril Lavigne.

2000

Montreal-born Daniel Boucher released his debut album in 1999. Its opener, “La désise” was declared song of the year at the Felix awards gala. He was the only significant new soloist in Y2K. All other new artists were bands.

Vancouver’s ambient pop band Delerium had been around since 1989. But it wasn’t until this year that they scored (thanks to the vocal help of Sarah McLachlan) their first big hit. “Silence” peaked on the charts at #5 in Canada, #3 in the U.K. and #1 in Ireland. Further singles released from the band saw greater success in the U.K. and Ireland than at home.

Another Vancouver act was R&B-rap soulDecision whose song “Faded” topped the charts, driving their album to platinum status. They scored a couple more hits later on but remain best known for “Faded” which appeared on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart in 66th place. Aimee MacKenzie, who had been part of the female group West End Girls in Vancouver, formed a new R&B band called D Cru. “I Will Be Waiting” was a Top 10 hit (#9).

Sault Ste. Marie produced an indie rock / pop-punk band called Treble Charger. Their 2000 album went platinum thanks in part to the Juno nominated song “American Psycho”. In Toronto, pop boy band B4-4′s debut album went platinum and their song “Get Down” made it to #4. R&B outfit Jacksoul, which had debuted in 1996, scored a #8 hit this year called “Can’t Stop”.

In Montreal, twin sisters Toni and Trisha Sherwood formed a dance-pop duo named after their shared birth date (November 30th). 11:30′s song “Olè Olè” peaked at #10 on the charts. Folk-rockers Okoumé which had debuted in 1997 came out with their second album this year which spawned the Felix-nominated “Irresponsable”. They were never heard from since.

2001

Although there were no significant new female soloists in Y2K, this year one of the biggest acts of the decade emerged. 2001, for all intents and purposes, belonged to Victoria’s Nelly Furtado. Her debut album Whoa, Nelly! went quadruple-platinum and sold 7 million copies worldwide, thanks to the hit “I’m Like a Bird”, a British Top 5 hit and 43rd biggest song of the year in the United States. The album spawned three more Top 20 singles.

New Brunswick’s Natasha St-Pier, who had released a debut album in 1996, represented France in the Eurovision contest with a Jill Kapler-composed masterpiece called “Je n’ai que mon âme”, turning her into an international star. The song entered the French and Belgian charts at #11 and then jumped to #2. It remained on the charts for 26 weeks and, in Canada, was declared song of the year by the Felix Awards. St-Pier released an English version of the song (“All I Have Is My Soul”) which was ignored. Lulu Hughes scored a hit called “Rock with Me”.

In terms of new bands, the most successful was Sum 41, the only act, besides Furtado and St-Pier to score an international hit this year “Fat Lip”, a #8 hit in Britain, helped the Ajax, Ontario punk rockers’ debut album attain triple platinum status. The Matthew Good Band’s “Raygun” was a Top 10 hit this year. Later suburban Vancouverite Matthew Good was to go solo and score another Top 10 hit: “In a World Called Catastrophe” in 2003. Montreal’s funky dance collective Bran Van 3000 scored a Top 10 hit with “Astounded”.

Newmarket, Ontario’s Serial Joe scored a #1 grunge-punk hit in Canada called “Completely”. Niagara Falls’ Wave went to number 1 as well thanks to “California”. Created on the first season of the Popstars show, assembled group Sugar Jones became one-hit wonders with the #2 single “Days Like That”.

There only new male soloist this year was Toronto rapper Jelleestone whose “Money” made a brief appearance on the charts peaking at #6.

2002

2002 was a huge year in Canadian music, one of the biggest of the decade. Two new superstars came out of nowhere, both selling over 30 million copies of their records through the decade.

A teenage singer from small town Ontario won a contest to sing with Shania Twain in Ottawa before a crowd of 20,000. She was offered a record deal and became a multi-millionaire when she was 16 years old. Avril Lavigne’s debut album, Let Go, was released this year and went diamond, with four singles entering the Top 20 all over the world. Ironically, her singles charted better in every other country than in Canada, including non-English-speaking countries. “Complicated” was the song that first thrust her into the limelight and was the 11th best-selling single of the year in the U.S.

Alberta had not contributed much in the way of Canadian music over the years besides the occasional artist like The Stampeders, k.d. lang, and Jann Arden. From the small town of Hanna, northeast of Calgary, a rock band had released a debut album in 1996 that went nowhere. Their 2000 release garnered some attention on the “alternative” charts but this year’s release, Silver Side Up, went 8x Platinum. Nickelback’s single “How You Remind Me” was the biggest song of the year south of the border and “Too Bad” was a Top 10 hit in Britain. Furthermore, Chad Kroeger, the band’s lead singer, teamed up with Josey Scott of the American band Saliva to record the song “Hero” for the feature film Spider-Man. It topped the charts in Canada.

Around since 1993, Windsor Ontario’s The Tea Party finally became big names thanks to “Soulbreaking”, which peaked at #3. Four of the band’s albums, with their unique sound of rock with middle eastern touches, reached multi-platinum status. After being around since 1997, folk-rock band Les Cowboys Fringants garnered their first Felix-nominated song this year, “Toune d’automne”. Dance trio The Boomtang Boys topped the charts with “Movin’ On”, following up with the Top 10 hit “Squeeze Toy”. Aside from writing original songs, they created dance versions of past hits, like Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”. Toronto’s overlooked all-female power punk band Tuuli scored a #4 hit called “It’s Over”. BC’s rap group Swollen Members made it to #3 with “Bring It Home”. Grungers Theory of a Deadman, from suburban Vancouver, made it to #2 on the charts with “Nothing Could Come Between Us”. Quebec City’s dance band One Ton made the Top 10 with “Supersexworld”.

A male-female duo emerged that sung a couple of popular duets. They were Jean-François Breau and Marie-Ève Janvier. “Changer” was popular this year and, later, “Donner pour donner”.

A few new male soloists appeared this year. Mascouche, Québec’s Marc Déry went solo after a stint with the band Zébulon and scored the hit “Depuis”. Montrealer Sam Roberts rocked his way to platinum, to Juno awards, and gave us the gold single “Where Have All the Good People Gone?” With roots in Rwanda, German-born R&B artist Corneille came out with the hit “Avec classe”, and, later on, “Parce qu’on vient de loin” and “Seul au monde”. Dany Bédar, who had started out as a dj, debuted this year with the hit song “Faire la paix avec l’amour”. Later he scored with “Écoute-moi donc”.

Calgarian nurse-turned-country-star Paul Brandt crossed over onto the pop charts with the #1 “Canadian Man”. His debut album in 1996 had gone triple-platinum and he had been the first male Canadian country artist since Hank Snow in the 70s to have a Top 10 single in the American Billboard charts (“My Heart Has a History”).

Coming up are mini-profiles on semi-major artists Daniel Boucher, Natasha St-Pier, Sum 41, The Tea Party, and Les Cowboys Fringants. Following that will be features on major artists Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne, and Nickelback.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in 2000s, Period Summaries

 

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Branching Out and Conquering Other Genres (1997-1999)

Canadian music showed no signs of slowing down through the remainder of the decade. What was unique about the late-90s was that, Canadian artists began to branch out and conquer other genres of music. Pop and rock had been championed by a plethora of Canadians as had folk; it was time to show that we could produce a superstar in other fields of music.

Although Canada had always done well in the country music scene, ever since Wilf Carter appeared in the 1930s, it was time for a Canadian superstar to churn out three double-diamond albums in a row, a feat completely unprecedented. Her catchy music appealed to children, teenagers, young adults, older adults, and even seniors. It was so irresistible that a few of her songs crossed over onto the pop charts. One was the third biggest song of 1998 in the United States. She teamed up with musical genius “Mutt” Lange, who had worked with Bryan Adams, and married him. Her name was Shania Twain.

So-called R&B had always been a genre that appealed more to the populace south of the border. But a Torontonian fell in love with it and decided to make a career out of performing these kinds of songs. She never became a big name in Canada, but, in 1998, her song “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” was a million-seller in the U.S., peaking at #2 on the pop charts and topping their R&B charts for 14 consecutive weeks, smashing all records. Her name was Deborah Cox. She scored a big hit in Canada later on in 2009; “Beautiful U R” was 39th of the year.

The late-90s also saw the rise of the biggest-selling female jazz artist in the world, a Canadian. Most jazz artists could never hope to sell as many records as pop or country artists but Diana Krall sold 15 million worldwide. Eight of her albums debuted at the top of the Billboard jazz albums charts, six of them being certified multi-platinum at home.

Another genre conquered was Celtic / New Age, thanks to harp-player Loreena McKennitt and her hauntingly beautiful voice. Her three albums released in the 90s all went 3-4x platinum and in 1997 she scored a Top 10 hit on the pop charts.

Canadians were not satisfied with their newfound success in France which began not with Celine Dion but with Roch Voisine. Two more superstars arose to score diamond albums in the land of the Eiffel Tower. The first was roots rocker Isabelle Boulay. The second was to become the second best-selling Canadian artist in France (after Celine Dion). He was born in Sherbrooke and is known for his throaty singing style. He currently holds the SNEP record for the most weeks at number one. His name is Garou.

Toronto’s Our Lady Peace, thanks to a diamond album, was the hottest new band to emerge. Frontman and primary songwriter Raine Maida formed a musical family by marrying Chantal Kreviazuk, a former childhood prodigy, who, herself, became one of the most cherished singer-songwriters in the country.

1997

Many new artists arose this year. The biggest song of the year, as mentioned previously, was Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery”. Second to that was Our Lady Peace’s “Clumsy” which appeared on the year-end chart at #14. Another new band to emerge was St. John’s folky Great Big Sea. Their song “When I’m Up” appeared in the year-end chart at #62. They managed a pair of platinum and of multi-platinum albums and scored a few more hits. The Philosopher Kings were another semi-major act, their first big song being “I Am the Man”. Band members met while in high school in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill. They scored a couple more Top 10 hits the following year. Saskatoon’s bluesy Wide Mouth Mason scored their biggest hit “Midnight Rain” (#56 YE). Another band from Saskatchewan had a hit this year. Age of Electric’s “Remote Control” finished as the 71st biggest hit of the year. Toronto’s Big Sugar added a dash of reggae to their music and had their first hit single “If I Had My Way”. Fellow locals I Mother Earth scored their biggest hit, “Raspberry” which pushed sales of their album to double-platinum status. Vancouver’s Econoline Crush attained one-hit wonder class with “All That You Are”.

Isabelle Boulay, from the town of Sainte-Félicité, on the north shore of the Gaspé peninsula, scored her first hit,” Je t’oublierai, je t’oublierai” off her debut album. Although she’d been around since 1993, Nanaimo, BC’s Diana Krall made it to the big leagues when her album Love Scenes, released this year, attained double-platinum status, a difficult feat in the realm of jazz. Chantal Kreviazuk scored her first hit “God Made Me”, the 77th biggest song of the year. Halifax’s fusion artist Holly Cole made a name for herself with “I’ve Just Seen a Face”. Another Holly (McNarland) emerged from The Pas, Manitoba and gave us the hit “Numb”. Later she collaborated with the likes of Matthew Good and The Tea Party.

The biggest name in male soloists was Sherbrooke’s Garou, a stage name that is a combination of his surname Garand and the French expression loup-garou, which means werewolf. He was discovered by Luc Plamondon while performing in a local bar and subsequently drafted to play in Notre-Dame de Paris. The song “Belle” from the musical, sung by himself, Canada’s Daniel Lavoie, and France’s Patrick Fiori, became the third best-selling single of all-time in France (after two novelty songs). In 2000, Garou released his debut album Seul, certified diamond in France, and one of the biggest-selling French-language albums in history worldwide. He eventually became the best-selling Canadian artist in France after Celine Dion.

Bruno Pelletier was another new name this year. He was born in Charlesbourg, a suburb of Quebec City. His debut had come in 1992 but, with the 1997 single “Aime”, saw his first Felix-nominated song of the year. The only other male artist to have a big hit this year was Men Without Hats’ Ivan whose song “Open Your Eyes” made the year-end Top 100 chart.

1998

Big hits this year included Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from the number one movie of all-time (at the time) Titanic. Bryan Adams had two chart-toppers: “On a Day Like Today” and “Back to You”. Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U” was a number one single as well. In the United States, the two biggest songs of the year were “Too Close” by Next and “The Boy is Mine” by Brandy & Monica respectively. In third place was a song called “You’re Still the One” by a Canadian country artist from Windsor, Ontario, named Shania Twain. She achieved the unimaginable: three consecutive studio albums were certified double-diamond in Canada (2 million copies sold).

Manitoban Celtic new ager, master of voice, piano, accordion, and harp, Loreena McKennitt, had been around since the mid-80s, scored a quadruple-platinum album in 1991, called The Visit, and had her first big hit, “The Mummers’ Dance”, on the pop singles chart this year.

Montreal’s Éric Lapointe scored his first Felix-nominated song of the year, “Rien à regretter”. According to some sources, he had as many as 30 songs that topped the charts on various radio stations and singles charts in Quebec.

Toronto’s dance band Love Inc. scored a couple of hits this year: “Broken Bones” #31 and “You’re a Supertar” #13. A few years later they were discovered by Britain and both songs became Top 10 hits there. There are some who credit their debut with being the only dance album created in Canada to attain platinum status.

On a side-note, a dance version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” was performed by the international group Stars on 54 and was featured in the Mike Myers’ film Studio 54. It peaked at #3 on the charts.

1999

The three biggest Canadian songs of the year came via new artists. While the Americans were taken by Toronto’s Deborah Cox who supplied the 9th biggest song of the year in the U.S., Montreal pop duo Sky scored the first of three number one singles called “Love Song”, the 6th biggest song of the year. In eighth place was Randy Bachman’s son Tal with the song “She’s So High”. And at 15th spot was the Toronto one-hit wonder group Len (“Steal My Sunshine”).

Besides Sky and Len, there were a number of new bands this year. Bluesy La Chicane debuted and scored the hit “Calvaire”. The Moffatts were four brothers who had grown up in various locales in B.C. They relocated to Nashville in the U.S. and released their first (country) album. Later they switched to pop and scored their first hit “Misery”. Montreal’s Les Respectables came out with “Amalgame”. Dance trio The Boomtang Boys scored the hit “Squeeze Toy”. Toronto’s dance group Temperance had the hit “If You Don’t Know” and 2 rude had “Thinkin’ about You”

Mario Pelchat, from Dolbeau-Mistassini, QC, won the Felix award for song of the year with “Je ne t’aime plus”. Francophone Italian-Canadian Nicola Ciccone appeared this year with the song “Le menteur”. Dance artist Joee scored the hit “Arriba”, the 51st biggest song of the year. Martin Deschamps saw his first hit—”Quand?” He took on the role of lead singer for the reunited Offenbach.

There were no new significant female soloists this year.

Coming up are lists of big songs and albums from the late-90s; a list of Juno and Felix song nominees and winners; mini-profiles on semi-major artists La Chicane, Nicola Ciccone, Holly Cole, Great Big Sea, The Moffatts, Mario Pelchat, Bruno Pelletier, The Philosopher Kings, and Sky; and feature profiles on major artists Isabelle Boulay, Garou, Diana Krall, Chantal Kreviazuk, Éric Lapointe, Loreena McKennitt, Our Lady Peace, and Shania Twain.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in 1990s, Period Summaries

 

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