The Stampeders

The Stampeders

Origin: Calgary
Years Most Active: 1968-1976
Genre: Rock

Primary Members:
Rich Dobson (lead guitarist, vocals)
Ronnie King (rhythm guitar, vocals)
Kim Berly (drummer, vocals)

Originally the Rebounds, who formed in Calgary, the group changed their name to The Stampeders in 1965. They had several lineup changes over the years, but the core consisted the three players above. Though best remembered for their chart-topper “Sweet City Woman”, they scored a total of 15 Top 40 hits including “Carry Me” and “Wild Eyes” which peaked at #2.

With the concept of cowboys playing rock and roll, The Stampeders dressed up in assorted-coloured denim, and wore cowboy boots and hats, playing their first year in Calgary. Yearning for better things, a six-man, mostly under-aged band at the time, they travelled across Canada to Toronto in 1966 in a Cadillac limousine pulling a U-Haul trailer playing in bars and to pay their way, as they crossed the country. In Toronto, with their cowboy gear, they were a curiosity in the folk-oriented, hippie clubs of the Yorkville district.

The Stampeders signed with U.S. booking agency, Premier Talent, in 1971 which led to American tour appearances with a number of high-profile acts like Santana, Joe Cocker, Steve Miller, Steely Dan, Sonny and Cher, The Beach Boys, ZZ Top, The Eagles, Earth, Wind And Fire, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Genesis. In 1972, they toured UK and Europe, where they discovered their “Sweet City Woman” was already covered by the Dick Clark 5.

To the disappointment of fans, they split in 1980 due to a perceived inability to continue their success but in 1992 reunited and came out with an album in 1998. They continue to tour.

Andy Kim

 
Born: 1952 in Montreal
Debut: 1968
Genre: Pop, Adult Contemporary
 
Achievements:
 
–  Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year (1970)
–  Co-wrote one of the biggest songs of all-time, “Sugar, Sugar”
 
Biggest Hits:
 
“Baby I Love You” (1969)
–  Peaked: #1-Canada; #1-US; #2-UK
–  11th biggest song of the year in Canada
“Rock Me Gently” (1974)
–  Peaked: #1-Canada; #1-US; #2-UK
–  23rd biggest song of the year in Canada
 
Biggest Composed Hit:
 
“Sugar, Sugar” (1969)
–  Co-wrote the song with Jeff Barry
–  #1 Song of the Year in the U.S. (Billboard)
–  #2 Song of the Year in Canada.
–  Spent 8 weeks at #1 in the U.K.
–  Sold over 13 million copies, making it one of the biggest-selling singles of all-time.
 
Some Other Hit Singles:
 
–  “How’d We Ever Get This Way?” (1968) <#9 Canada; #21-US>
–  “Shoot ‘Em Up Baby” (1968) <#29 Canada>
–  “So Good Together” (1969) <#15 Canada>
–  “A Friend in the City (1970) <#19 Canada>
–  “Be My Baby” (1971) <#6 Canada 80th of the year; #17-US)
–  “I Wish I Were” (1971) <#22 Canada>
–  “I Been Moved” (1971) <#39 Canada>
–  “Who Has the Answers” (1972) <#12 Canada>
–  “Fire, Baby I’m On Fire” (1974) <#15 Canada>
–  “The Essence of Joan” (1975) <#28 Canada>
–  “Amour” (1980) <nominated for JUNO Song of the Year>
–  “Powerdrive” (1991) <#27 Canada>
–  “I Forgot to Mention” (2004)
 
Andy Kim of Montreal grew up with three brothers in a hardworking family involved in the grocery business. With $40 in his pocket, he went to New York at age 16 to try to realize his dream of becoming a pop star. He was signed by producer / songwriter Jeff Barry to Steed Records. The two became a very successful songwriting team beginning with “How’d We Ever Get This Way” which made the Top 10 in Canada. A string of hits followed in the late-60s and early 70s. His first Gold Record was “Baby, I Love You”, a #1 hit in Canada and Top 10 hit in the U.S.; it sold 1.5 million copies.
 
He began co-writing songs for the cartoon TV series, The Archies. “Sugar, Sugar” became the biggest song of 1969 worldwide, selling over 13 million copies. In 1970, Kim won a Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year. His biggest international hit came in 1974—“Rock Me Gently”. Due to the mounting strain of fame, Kim stopped recording for a few years. Tom Jones’ manager Gordon Mills signed him recommending he change his name to distance himself from his earlier bubblegum pop, teen idol image. In the 80s, he released a couple of adult contemporary albums under the alias Baron Longfellow. The song “Amour” was a hit and was nominated for Song of the Year at the Junos.
 
He faded into obscurity before recently resurfacing in 2004 with “I Forgot to Mention” co-written with the Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson. Andy Kim has been compared in sound to Neil Diamond, and, having gone from teen idol to adult contemporary, in career path to Paul Anka.

Robert Charlebois

 
Born: 1944 in Montreal
Debut: 1965
Genre: Folk, Rock, Pop, World Beat
 
Most Well-Known Song:
 
“Lindberg” (1968)
 
Some Other Hits:
 
–  “La Boulée”
–  “Demain l’Hiver”
–  “California”
–  “Ordinaire”
–  “Avril sur Mars”
–  “Je Reviendrai à Montréal”
–  “Mon ami Fidel”
–  “Je t’aime comme un fou”
 
Robert Charlebois is for all intents and purposes the godfather of French Canadian rock. His musical career spans half a century. He started out as a folk singer but switched to psychedelic rock, then to mainstream pop/rock. He sang in a street-slang style known as joual.
 
During his teens, Charlebois took piano lessons and taught himself to play the guitar. He started out playing in folk clubs in the early 60s. His debut in 1965 won a Best Folk Album award. His clean-cut, articulate, and poetic approach in songs like “La Boulée” and “Demain l’Hiver” appealed to intellectuals.
 
After his third album, he ventured down to California and experienced first-hand the “flower power” movement. This radically changed his musical vision. He staged an experimental, psychedelic show back in 1968 Montreal called L’Osstidcho which became the most important show of the decade due to its unbridled creativity. It changed the face of song in Quebec. His subsequent album which also featured Louise Forestier let loose the single “Lindberg” which became an international hit and won awards. “California” followed.
 
Riding on the wave of success, Charlebois toured France in 1969 accompanied by Forestier and backed by Le Jazz Libre. Their riotous performance at the Olympia in Paris was one-of-a-kind. Charlebois, dressed in a Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey and singing in joual to the backing of a jazzy rock band, made a big impact in France. Shock soon turned into appreciation for the originality and energy of his music. He returned to France a number of times in the early ’70s when he settled on a sound in-between his mellow folk early-on and his extreme psychedelia of the late-60s. The albums he released at that time are considered monuments of Canadian rock history. In 1970, he released the song “Ordinaire” his second major success and award-winner. His song “Avril sur Mars” is considered a classic.
 
In 1974 Charlebois participated with Félix Leclerc and Gilles Vigneault in the “Superfrancofête” on the Plains of Abraham, Quebec City. This was a historic gathering (and was telecast on CBC and in France) of the three men who founded modern pop music in Quebec. After this, Charlebois embarked on a two-year sabbatical. He ended this when he, the most popular French Canadian singer, teamed up with the most popular English Canadian singer at that time, Gordon Lightfoot, in concert. He began recording again and scored big with “Je Reviendrai à Montréal” and “Mon Ami Fidel”.
 
His career began to wane at the end of the decade in Quebec (though it continued to grow in France) but his settling for mainstream pop and collaboration with renowned lyricist Luc Plamondon helped bring him back into the limelight in 1983 with the release of a self-titled album which won a Félix Award for Album of the Year. His biggest hit of the 80s—“Je t’aime comme un fou” came that year and won a Félix Award for Song of the Year.
 
His breathtaking 1992 album Immensément won a Victoire de la Musique Trophy in France (their equivalent of the Junos). By the late-90s, his music had transformed into a style similar to so-called world beat. He released a come-back album in 2008 entitled Doux Sauvage.

Leonard Cohen

 
Born: 1934 in Montreal
Debut: 1967
Died: 2016
Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter
 
Some Achievements:
 
–  Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1991)
–  Companion of the Order of Canada
–  U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2008)
–  7 Juno Awards
–  Two thousand renditions of his songs have been recorded.
 
Most Well-Known Song:
 
“Suzanne” (1967)
 
Some Other Well-Known Songs:
 
–  “Sisters of Mercy” (1967)
–  “Bird on the Wire” (1969)
–  “The Story of Isaac” (1969)
–  “Last Year’s Man” (1971)
–  “Joan of Arc” (1971)
–  “Famous Blue Raincoat” (1971)
–  “Chelsea Hotel No. 2″ (1974)
–  “Who by Fire” (1974)
–  “Coming Back to You” (1985)
–  “Hallelujah” (1985)
–  “Everybody Knows” (1988)
–  “First We Take Manhattan (1988)
–  “Tower of Song” (1988)
 
Leonard Cohen with his signature gruff, monotone voice, picturesque and unsettling lyrics, and rudimentary, melancholy music is considered the most successful singer/songwriter of the late 60s who mad music through to the 2010s.
 
Cohen is as much a poet as a musician. He, himself, conceded that his strength lies in his poetry rather than his vocal offerings when he remarked after winning a Juno Award, “Only in Canada could I get ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’”. It can be offered however that Cohen’s voice was perfectly suited to the material at hand, which was, in the words of music critic Bruce Eder, “drenched in downbeat images and a spirit of discovery as a path to unsettling revelation”.
 
Despite lavish praises by American critics and musicians and his induction into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, his albums did not sell well there until the 2010s when he placed two LPs in the Billboard Top 10. Five of his albums made the Top 10 in Britain, his earliest being Songs from a Room in 1969. In that country, he achieved one-hit-wonder status, as “Hallelujah” scratched into the Top 40 in 2008. Like Buffy Sainte-Marie, poppier covers of Cohen’s songs have often done better than his own darker, discreet versions.
 
Born in 1934 in the Montreal suburb of Westmount, Cohen’s father died when he was nine years old. His mother encouraged him in his pursuits as a writer, especially of poetry. At age 13, he learned the guitar initially to impress a girl and later on to play country tunes at local cafés. He started a band called the Buckskin Boys. By the time he graduated from university in 1955, his creative writing earned him an award and he published a book of poetry a year later. His second book of poetry (1961′s Spice Box of Earth), unlike his first, became an international bestseller. He continued publishing books of poetry and novels while traveling around the world including a lengthy stay in Greece. In 1966, he began writing music but as a natural extension of his poetry.
 
Initially feeling too modest to get involved in the vanity of the music business, he allowed his song “Suzanne” to be picked up by established folk singer Judy Collins who put it on her album In My Life. The song received considerable airplay. Collins encouraged Cohen to begin performing again and his professional debut performance came in the summer of 1967, care of the Newport Folk Festival. Two sold out shows in New York followed before the telecast “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen”. Around this time, a second cover of “Suzanne” by Noel Harrison brought the song onto the pop charts. Impressed with Cohen, legendary producer John Hammond Sr. got him a recording contract with Columbia Records and The Songs of Leonard Cohen LP was released at the end of the year.
 
The album, too dark to be a commercial success, was as big a hit as a folk album could be. University students, especially, got into it. And it spent a full year on the album charts in Britain. Robert Altman’s 1971 film, McCabe And Mrs. Miller featured almost the entire album as the soundtrack. In 1968, Cohen released a new volume of poetry which earned him Canada’s highest literary honour—the Governor General’s Award. He humbly declined it.
 
In 1970, Cohen, along with Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Canada’s Joni Mitchell, appeared at the post-Woodstock gathering of rock stars in England: The Isle of Wight Festival. He performed before an audience of 600,000 people. By the time he released the album Songs of Love and Hate, Cohen had gained an international cult following.
 
He released Death of a Ladies’ Man in 1977 which suffered from disagreements over mixing between him and its producer—Phil Spector. Recent Songs came in 1979. A six-year lapse followed, after which he did an album with Seattle-born Jennifer Warnes: Various Positions (1985). Cohen had met Warnes (who incidentally sang Canadian Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Oscar-winning song) in the mid-70s and had been collaborating and performing with her since then.
 
In 1988, the more pop-oriented, electronic-tinged I’m Your Man came out and first introduced what has become one of Cohen’s best-known songs in Canada—“Everybody Knows”. The Future was released in ’92, becoming his biggest success in Canada (in terms of studio albums), where it went 2x Platinum. Three tracks from the album were featured in the movie Natural Born Killers. A couple of tribute albums came out, the second of which was entitled Tower of Song and featured covers of Cohen’s songs by superstars like Billy Joel, Elton John, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and others. In the late-90s, Leonard Cohen became a Buddhist, spending time in a Zen retreat writing new material. New collaborations with Sharon Robinson led to her producing his next album, Ten New Songs (2001). It was a bestseller. Cohen released Dear Heather in 2004 and, at the age of 77, released Old Ideas in 2012 which topped the Canadian Billboard Albums Chart. Popular Problems did the same in 2014 and won the Album of the Year JUNO award. Shortly after the release of what was to become his final studio album, You Want It Darker, Leonard Cohen passed away at the age of 82.

Chilliwack

 
Origin: Vancouver
Years Most Active: 1967-1984
 
Primary Members:
 
– Bill Henderson (lead vocals, guitars, keyboards; 1970-84)
– Glenn Miller (bass, guitar, backing vocals; 1970-78)
– Ross Turney (drums; 1970-78)
– Claire Lawrence (keyboards, flute, sax, piano; 1970-71)
– Howard Froese (guitar, backing vocals, keys; 1973-78)
– Brian MacLeod (lead guitars, vocals, drums; 1977-84)
– Ab Bryant (bass; 1979-84)
 
Genre: Rock
 
Biggest Hit:
 
My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” (#3 Hit in 1981; 29th biggest song of 1981; 67th biggest song of 1982)
 
Other Big Hits:
 
–  “Fisherwoman” (#18 in 1967) [as The Collectors]
–  “Looking at Baby” (#23 in 1967) [as The Collectors]
–  “Lonesome Mary” (#9 in 1971)
–  “Crazy Talk” (#10 in 1975)
–  “Fly at Night” (#7 in 1977; 76th biggest song of 1977)
–  “I Believe” (#13 in 1982; 78th biggest song of 1982)
–  “Whatcha Gonna Do (When I’m Gone)” (#17 in 1982; 82nd biggest song of 1982)
 
 
The main man behind the band, named after a mid-sized city in British Columbia, a Salish word meaning “going back up”, Bill Henderson, began earning a living as a musician while still in high school and later studied music at the University of British Columbia. In the early 60s, he hooked up with musicians from a band called The Classics. They began performing at high school dances, managing to land a record deal during which they were given the new name The Collectors. They released their first single, “Looking at a Baby”, released a couple of albums in the late 60s and scored a couple of hits: “Fisherwoman” and “Lydia Purple”.
 
After the departure of lead vocalist Howie Vickers, the band re-formed as Chilliwack in 1970, Henderson taking over as singer. They released a couple of albums and a string of singles which had some success. But their big break came in 1973 with “Lonesome Mary” which cracked the Top 10. Poppy Family member Terry Jacks (“Seasons in the Sun”) produced Chilliwack’s 1974 album Riding High which spawned the Top 10 hit “Crazy Talk”.
 
In 1976 things really took off for the band with their Dreams, Dreams, Dreams album responsible for four radio singles, including “California Girl” and Top 10 hit “Fly at Night”. Their follow-up album, Lights from the Valley, went platinum. As a side project McLeod performed as The Headpins with Darby Mills as lead vocalist.
 
After the bankruptcy of their record company (Mushroom Records), they joined a new label (Solid Gold Records) and went through a major line-up change. This second version of Chilliwack was the most successful. Their 1981 album Wanna Be a Star housed the band’s biggest hit, “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” which peaked at #3 on the RPM charts. A second successful single “I Believe” (which reached #13 on the charts) ensured the album went platinum. Opus X echoed this success with the Top 20 offering “Watcha Gonna Do (When I’m Gone)” and won a “Producer of the Year” JUNO award for Henderson and MacLeod. Look In Look Out became the Chilliwack’s last major studio release, as Solid Gold Records went bankrupt and took the band’s fortunes along with it. A Greatest Hits package followed. Henderson’s own “When I Sing”, heard in the feature film Bye Bye Blues, won a Genie Award in 1990 for Best Original Song.
 
Rolling Stone Magazine wrote of Chilliwack: 
“At their best, Chilliwack was the finest Canadian rock band, outrocking BTO and outwriting Burton Cummings. But a lack of consistency kept it from international success.” 
With too many line-up changes and bad fortune affecting their record companies, Chilliwack’s talents could have propelled them to the greater heights they deserved.

1969’s Biggest Canadian Hits

CMB medThe biggest song of 1969 in Canada was The Beatles’ “Get Back”. There was an upswing in Canadian music this year; however, many of these hits were not played on Canadian radio until after they had become hits south of the border. On the bright side, the CRTC had been established in 1968, and CanCon/MAPL regulations were on the way. The biggest Canadian hit of 1969 was Andy Kim’s “Baby I Love You” (11th of the year), one of three number one hits this year. In total, there were 21 Canadian Top 40 hits, six of which made the Top 10 and the year-end Top 100. Below is a list of all Canadian Top 40 hits for the year with their peak chart position. Bear in mind, that this is a picture of cross-Canada success. Songs may have charted much higher or lower in various cities as radio stations usually give local artists more support. Below the list, check out some cool trivia on the year’s hits and their artists.

YE= Year-End chart position.

WP = Weekly chart peak position.

1969 HITS

TITLE ARTIST YE WP
Baby I Love You Andy Kim 11 1
These Eyes The Guess Who 30 7
Laughing The Guess Who 32 1
When I Die Motherlode 35 1
Which Way You Goin’ Billy The Poppy Family 54 9
Rock Me Steppenwolf 90 4
Move Over Steppenwolf   12
So Good Together Andy Kim   15
Hands of the Clock Life   19
Undun The Guess Who   21
Goodnight My Love Paul Anka   23
Now That I’m a Man 49th Parallel   30
Cruel War Sugar and Spice   31
It’s Never Too Late Steppenwolf   33
Pack It In Buckstone Hardware   33
Private Train 5 Man Electrical Band   37
We Love You, Call Collect Art Linkletter   37
Lily the Pink The Irish Rovers   38
So Come with Me Witness Inc   40
Memories of a Broken Promise Motherlode   40

1969 CHOICE TRIVIA

1969 Trivia

LINKS

More Charts

Late 60s Overview

1968’s Biggest Canadian Hits

CMB medThe need for CanCon / MAPL regulations was more apparent than ever in 1968. Only seven Canadian hits made the Top 40. Four of them reached the Top 10 and two made #1. Andy Kim, The Stampeders, Steppenwolf, and The Irish Rovers were the only Canadian acts able to score hits this year. Three of these hits made the year-end Top 100. The biggest Canadian hit of them all was Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild”, the song that coined the term heavy metal. It was 1968’s 14th biggest hit. The top song of 1968 in Canada was The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. Below is a list of all Canadian Top 40 hits for the year from RPM with their peak chart position as well as the positions of those that made the year-end Top 100.

YE= Year-End chart position.

WP = Weekly chart peak position.

1968 HITS

TITLE ARTIST YE WP
Born to Be Wild Steppenwolf 14 1
The Unicorn The Irish Rovers 35 4
Magic Carpet Ride Steppenwolf 45 1
How’d We Ever Get This Way Andy Kim   9
Morning Magic The Stampeders   23
Shoot Em Up Baby Andy Kim   29
Whiskey On a Sunday The Irish Rovers   34

LINKS

More Charts…

Late 60s Overview…

1967’s Biggest Canadian Hits

CMB medThe biggest song of 1967 in Canada was “The Letter” by The Box Tops. This was the year support of Canadian music took a dive. While 1965 and 1966 saw 53 and 45 Top 40 Canadian hits respectively, 1967 saw only 28. Moreover, only two made the Top 10, one of which made the year-end Top 100 (the only Canadian entry). This drop in the success of Canadian music was incredibly ironic given that 1967 was Canada’s centennial anniversary as a nation. While one would assume that the year would have seen a greater embracing of Canadian music, it witnessed instead a turning away from it. Most surprising of all was that on July 1, Canada’s 100th anniversary, for the first time in chart history, not a single Canadian song was in the Top 40. Such sad phenomena in 1967 precipitated a movement in the music industry to establish CanCon/MAPL regulations which came into effect three years later.

While discussion commonly blames the British Invasion for the lack of support of Canadian music during this time, consider that the majority of 1967’s ten biggest hits were from American artists whether they performed soul music, psychedelic rock, or sunshine pop.

The top Canadian song of 1967 was “Canada” by The Young Canada Singers, the only #1 hit and only Canadian entry on the year-end Top 100 (41st of the year). It sold 270,000 copies. The song was written by Bobby Gimby (lyrics) and Ben McPeek (music) in honour of the centennial and Expo 67 and sung by a choir of children, versions recorded in both official languages.

Below is a list of all Canadian Top 40 hits for the year with their peak chart position. Bear in mind, that this is a picture of cross-Canada success. Songs may have charted much higher or lower in various cities as radio stations usually give local artists more support. Below the list, check out some cool trivia on the year’s hits and their artists.

WP = Weekly chart peak position.

1967 HITS

TITLE ARTIST WP
Canada Young Canada Singers 1
Half Past Midnight The Staccatos 8
Get On Up The Esquires 17
Gaslight The Ugly Ducklings 17
Fisherwoman The Collectors 18
His Girl The Guess Who 19
Sunny Goodge Street Tom Northcott 20
Simple Deeds The Paupers 21
Looking at a Baby The Collectors 23
Bring It Down Front The Jon-Lee Group 23
Lovin’ Sound Ian and Sylvia 24
Go Go Round Gordon Lightfoot 27
Catch the Love Parade The Staccatos 28
Somebody Help Me The British Modbeats 29
This Time Long Ago The Guess Who 30
If I Call You By Some Name The Paupers 31
Next to Nowhere M. G. and the Escorts 31
Armful of Teddybears Barry Allen 32
Jezebel Witness Inc 34
Got to Get You Into My Life The Stitch in Tyme 36
The Way I Feel Gordon Lightfoot 36
New Dawn The Stitch in Tyme 36
Flying On the Groud is Wrong The Guess Who 36
Give Me a Reason to Stay Bobby Curtola 37
It’s Not Funny Money Bobby Curtola 39
Playground Debbie Lori Kaye 40
Diamonds and Gold Willie and the Walkers 40
Canada Sugar Shoppe 40

1967 CHOICE TRIVIA

1967 Trivia

LINKS

More Charts…

Late 60s Overview…

Broadcasters Drop Support (1967-1969)

Young Canada Singers - CanadaSomething must have happened at the end of 1966 but what exactly is a mystery. While 1965 and 1966 saw 53 and 45 Top 40 Canadian hits respectively, 1967 saw only 28, only two of which made the Top 10. This is ironic given that 1967 was Canada’s centennial year. The year that should have seen the most support towards Canadian music instead saw a turning away from it. While discussion commonly blames the British Invasion, consider that the majority of the year’s ten biggest hits were by American artists. Even more ironic was that a weekly singles chart was released on July 1, 1967 (Canada’s centennial birthday), and, for the first time in chart history, not a single entry by a Canadian artist appeared in the Top 40. This downturn in broadcasters’ support of Canadian music was lowest in 1968 when, through the entire year, only seven songs by Canadian artists made the Top 40. A few key players began to call for Canadian content regulations which were to eventually be launched in the early 1970s. With the CRTC established in 1968 and MAPL regulations on their way, 1969 saw an upswing, though many of the Canadian hits were aired on Canadian radio only after they had charted in the United States.

The top Canadian song of 1967 was “Canada” by The Young Canada Singers, the only #1 hit and only Canadian entry on the year-end Top 100 (41st of the year). It sold 270,000 copies. The song was written by Bobby Gimby (lyrics) and Ben McPeek (music) in honour of the centennial and Expo 67 and sung by a choir of children, versions recorded in both official languages. The year also saw the Top 40 debut of The Collectors who later re-Christened themselves Chilliwack. They started out as a promotional tool for Vancouver CHR station CFUN. CFUN later changed format being unable to compete with the much more popular CKLG. Although he has never scored any Top 40 hits (his songs covered by other artists have charted), poet Leonard Cohen is considered a principal figure in the realm of songwriting, and he debuted in 1967.

Already a popular folk singer in Québec, Robert Charlebois ventured to California experiencing the movement of psychedelic rock which reshaped his musical vision. He staged the experimental, psychedelic show L’Osstidcho in 1968 Montréal which forever changed the face of song in Québec. His “Lindberg” became a huge hit. The most successful Anglophone soloist of the late-60s was Andy Kim. He scored 13 Top 40 hits through his career. “How’d We Ever Get This Way” reached #9 on the RPM charts in 1968. “Baby I Love You” was the top Canadian song of 1969 (11th of the year, RPM). Andy was also the co-composer of The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” one of the biggest hits of all-time worldwide. One of the most successful Canadian bands of all-time debuted on the charts in 1968 thanks to “Morning Magic”—Calgary’s The Stampeders. Although remembered mainly for their chart topper “Sweet City Woman” in 1971, the band managed 15 Top 40 hits, seven of which made the Top 10.

“Which Way You Goin’ Billy” was a Top 10 hit for The Poppy Family in 1969. Terry Jacks from the outfit was to score a massive worldwide hit as a soloist in the mid-70s (“Seasons in the Sun”). London, Ontario’s Motherlode scored the big international hit “When I Die”. Canadian radio stations aired it only after it had become a Top 20 hit in the United States and sold half a million copies.

Links

1967’s Biggest Hits
1968’s Biggest Hits
1969’s Biggest Hits
Chilliwack
Leonard Cohen
Robert Charlebois
Andy Kim
The Stampeders

Mini Profiles on Mid-60s Artists

Barry Allen

Barry AllenHailing from Edmonton, Barry Allen started his recording career in 1965 playing guitar and singing background vocals with Wes Dakus and the Rebels. He continued with this band while releasing his own albums Goin’ Places and Lovedrops with Capitol Records. From 1965 to 1967, Allen scored five Top 40 hits, the most successful of which was “Lovedrops”, a Top 10 hit. His success did not meet Capitol’s expectations and he was dropped from the label. He released his third and final album through MCA in 1970. In the past while, Allen has run his own Edmonton recording studio called Homestead Recorders.

Terry Black

terryblackVancouver’s Terry Black was a teen idol in the 1960’s scoring six Top 40 hits from 1964 to 1966. In 1964, when he was 15, he hit the American airwaves with the single, “Unless You Care”. The song was a major hit in Canada (#2, RPM) and made the US Billboard Hot 100. His appearance on American Bandstand performing the song can be seen on YouTube. In 1969, Black joined the cast for the Toronto production of the musical Hair!, met his wife to be Laurel Ward, and together they released several singles in the 1970’s. “Backup (Against Your Persuasion)” made the Top 30 in 1975. He also performed alongside Dr. Music producing a couple of hits in 1972. In the 2000s, he hosted an oldies radio show in British Columbia, and, suffering from multiple sclerosis, passed away in 2009 at the age of 60.

Little Caesar and the Consuls

Little Caesar and the ConsulsThe core of Toronto’s Little Caesar and the Consuls consisted of Bruce Morshead, guitarist Ken Pernokis, bassist Tom Wilson, drummer Gary Wright, and saxophonist Norm Sherrat. They recorded four Top 40 Canadian hits, including Top Tens “You Laugh Too Much”, “My Girl Sloopy” and “You Really Got a Hold On Me“. The latter reached #1 on the RPM charts in 1965, making them only the second Canadian group to do so. Early members also featured future The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson and “Snowbird”/”Put Your Hand In The Hand” songwriter Gene MacLellan.

Five Man Electrical Band

5 Man Electrical Band

Origin: Ottawa
Years Most Active: 1965-1974
Genre: Rock

Primary Members:
Les Emmerson (vocals, guitar)
Brian Rading (bass)
Rick ‘Bell’ Belanger (drums)
Mike ‘Bell’ Belanger (percussion)
Ted Gerow (keyboards)

The Five Man Electrical Band formed in Ottawa in 1963 as The Staccatos. The name change took place in 1968. Between the years 1965 and 1974, the group scored 14 Top 40 hits. Les Emmerson, as a soloist, managed an additional three. They received financial backing from journalist/manager Sandy Gardiner, were signed to Capitol Records, and enjoyed initial success with singles “Small Town Girl” and “Moved to California”. Debut album Initially appeared in 1966.

Interestingly, they shared an album with The Guess Who in 1967. Sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company, one side of A Wild Pair featured The Staccatos and the other side songs by The Guess Who. The album was recorded on Jack Richardson’s Nimbus Records at Hallmark Studios. “Half Past Midnight” was their first Top 10 hit. Unable to replicate that success with followup singles, the band began strategizing and decided to change their name based on a song of theirs—”Five Man Electrical Band”. They also left Capitol Records at the end of the decade and climbed aboard Lionel Records/MGM.

“Signs” (#4) became the band’s most successful hit internationally reaching #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Australian charts. It sold a million copies worldwide (some sources say two million). In Canada, their song “Absolutely Right” fared slightly better on the charts (#3). Both songs made the RPM year-end charts of 1971. It was 1973’s “I’m a Stranger Here” that became the Five Man Electrical Band’s biggest hit domestically. It peaked at #2 and was the 28th biggest song of the year. Les Emmerson scored a few hits as a soloist, his most successful being “Control of Me” (#5).

Michel Pagliaro

 
At one time, it was believed that Michel Pagliaro would become an international rock star. Then he disappeared, long enough to become a true artist.
—Hélène de Billy
 
Born: 1948 in Montréal
Debut: 1966
Genre: Pop / Rock
 
Achievements:
 
– Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (2008)
– Wrote the biggest-selling single in Quebec history
– The first Canadian act to score Gold records in both official languages
 
Biggest Hit:
 
“J’entends Frapper” (1973)
– Biggest-selling single in Quebec history
– 3 Weeks at #1
 
Some Other Hits:
 
– “Comme d’habitude” (1966)
– “Le p’tit poppy” (1966)
– “A t’aimer” (1969)
– “J’ai marché pour une nation” (1969)
– “Give Us One More Chance” (1970)
– “M’Lady” (1971)
– “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy” (1971) <#15 RPM, #31 UK>
– “Mon Coeur” (1972) – #2
– “Rainshowers” (1972) <#35 RPM>
– “Some Sing, Some Dance” (1972)
– “Fou de toi” (1973)
– “What the Hell I Got” (1975)
– “Louise” (1975)
– “Emeute dans la prison” (1975)
– “Dock Of The Bay” (1977)
– “Le temps presse” (1977) <24th of the year CKOI>
– “Le soleil pour des lunes” / “Travailler” (1981) <25th of the year CKOI>
– “Bamboo” / “Romantique” (1981)
– “L’espion” (1988) – Top 10
– “Coup de Coeur” <50th of the year CKOI>
 
 
Michel Pagliaro is one of the few Canadian acts who has scored hits in both official languages. He was the first to score Gold records in both English and French. He had mastered the guitar by age 11 and in his mid-teens played in a number of bands. At 18, he became the replacement bass guitarist for a major band called Les Chancelliers, later becoming its lead singer. The group hit the charts in 1966 with “Le P’tit Poppy”. Two years later, Pagliaro decided to go solo and released several singles including the original French version of “My Way” (“Comme d’habitude”). Initially he recorded French adaptations of English hits but soon he was composing his own numbers, like the rock and roll anthem “J’ai marche pour une nation”.
 
In the early ’70s, he signed a record deal that enabled him to spread out into English Canada, scoring biggest with “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy”. He recorded and English album that spawned a couple of hit singles and soon he became a household name from coast to coast. The success in English Canada steeled his resolve to do better in his own Province and he recorded the Chuck Berry-ish “J’entends frapper” which became the biggest-selling 7-inch single in Quebec history The song was so catchy that some Ontario (English) radio stations aired it and it managed to reach #1 in Kingston. It even charted on RPM (unusual for a Franco song).
 
It was time to swing back to a successful English song and he accomplished this mid-decade with “What the Hell I Got”. He began extensive touring and performed at Toronto’s CNE with Peter Frampton. He began releasing English and French albums simultaneously. Some songs on the “twin” albums were translations of each other while others were unique to the album. This is a technique that is used today in Hong Kong with Cantonese and Mandarin. After 1976, however, “Pag” was finding it difficult to maintain success in English Canada and began focusing more on French songs and albums to cater to Quebecers who were bigger fans.
 
In the early ’80s, Pag, to keep up with the times, released some punkish / new wave albums. He moved to France to help produce for pop star Jacques Higelin, returning to Canada in 1987. He was chosen as David Bowie’s opening act at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. His last significant hit followed: “L’espion” which cracked the Top-10 in Quebec. Since then he has made the occasional guest appearance and some compilation albums of his material have been released. Various artists released a tribute album of covers of his songs in 2015.

Claude Dubois

 
Born: 1947 in Montréal
Debut: 1965
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Pop
 
Accomplishments:
 
– 6 Major Félix Awards
– Inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
 
Songs Inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame:
 
– “Comme un million de gens”
– “Artistes”
– “Femme de rêve”
– “Le Labrador”
– “L’infidèle”
 
Other Big Hits:
 
– “J’ai Souvenir Encore”
– “Ma petite vie”
– “Cerveau gelé”
– “La Vie à la semaine”
– “Bébé Jajou Latoune
– “En voyage”
– “Chasse-galerie”
– “Au bout des doigts”
– “Le Blues du businessman”
– “Plein de tendresse”
– “Femmes ou filles”
– “Femme de société”
– “Un chanteur chante”
 
Dubois began his musical career at age 12 when he joined the country band Les Montagnards. They released an album in 1959. Becoming influenced by ’60s artists, he decided to go solo and released an album in the middle of the decade spawning the award-winning hit “J’ai Souvenir Encore” and “Ma petite vie”. With performances among other stars at the Place des Arts, awards and accolades kept coming, including a trophy for “discovery of the year” in 1967. That year also saw him perform at the Youth Pavilion at the World Expo as his “Cerveau gel锑 served as the theme for a documentary film on Montréal. While in Paris in ’69, he recorded the smash hit ‘Comme un million de gens’ which was later inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
 
A string of hit songs and albums came in the ’70s and he was offered to host his own variety shows. Perhaps his biggest achievement during the decade was the album Touchez Dubois which spawned hits like “La Vie à la semaine”, “Femme de Reve”, and “Bebe Jajou Latoune”. He helped popularize Caribbean music with the album Mellow Reggae.
 
He appeared in the rock opera Starmania in Paris and recorded “Le Blues du businessman” which was a huge hit in both France and Québec. At the first ADISQ gala, in 1979, he won the Félix Award for best male performer.
 
This encouraged him to create his masterpiece in 1982, the certified-Platinum Sortie. The album and its hit singles won for him five Félix awards. In 1985, Dubois was asked to join the ensemble Northern Lights for the famine-relief single, “Tears Are Not Enough”. (We’ll talk about this later in more detail).
 
Dubois continued recording and giving sold-out performances in the new millennium and released the hit album Duos Dubois (2007) in which he sang with other popular singers like Céline Dion, Gilles Vigneault, Isabelle Boulay, and Natasha St-Pier. The following year Claude Dubois was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. But this actually brought him grief and resulted in his calling the CBC “racist”.
 

The Guess Who

 
Origins: Winnipeg
Years Active: 1965-1975
 
Primary Members:
 
–  Chad Allan (vocals, rhythm guitar; 1965-66)
–  Randy Bachman (guitar; 1965-70)
–  Jim Kale (bass; 1965-72)
–  Garry Peterson (drums; 1965-75)
–  Burton Cummings (vocals, keyboards; 1965-75)
–  Greg Leskiw (guitar; 1970-71)
–  Kurt Winter (guitar; 1970-73)
–  Donnie McDougall (guitar; 1972-73)
–  Bill Wallace (guitar; 1972-1975)
–  Domenic Troiano (guitar; 1974-75)
 
Genre: Rock
 
Achievements:
 
–  Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1987)
–  Canadian Walk of Fame (2001)
–  2 Juno Awards (Band of the Year 1970 and 1971)
–  33 Top 40, 15 Top 10, and 4 #1 Songs in Canada
–  13 Top 30, 7 Top 10, and 1 #1 Songs in the U.S.
 
Biggest Hits:
 
“American Woman” (1970)
–  5th biggest song of the year in Canada
–  3rd biggest song of the year in the U.S.
 
“No Time” (1970)
–  12th biggest song of the year in Canada
 
Other #1 Hits in Canada:
 
–  “Shakin’ All Over” (1965)
–  “Laughing” (1969)
 
Some Other Hits:
 
–  “Tossin’ and Turnin’” (1965) <#3 RPM>
–  “Hey Ho” (1965) <#3 RPM>
–  “Believe Me” (1966) <#10 RPM>
–  “These Eyes” (1969) <#7 RPM>
–  “Share the Land” (1970) <#2 RPM>
–  “Hand Me Down World” (1970) <#10 RPM>
–  “Rain Dance” (1971) <#3 RPM>
–  “Hang On to Your Life” (1971) <#5 RPM>
–  “Running Back to Saskatoon” (1972) <#9 RPM>
–  “Clap for the Wolfman” (1974) <#4 RPM>
–  “Star Baby” (1974) <#9 RPM>
 
Three shards of irony come to pass. The first hit from a Canadian band to top the American charts is anti-American. Band members leave when the group is at its pinnacle of success. And Canadian radio’s disdain for homegrown talent launches the greatest Canadian rock band of all-time.
 
Winnipegger Chad Allan started up a band in the late-50s called Al and the Silvertones, then Chad Allan and the Reflections in 1962. They released their debut single, “Tribute to Buddy Holly” that year. But it and subsequent singles over the next few years failed to chart.
 
Beatlemania was so huge in Canada that five of the CHUM Top 10 songs of 1964 were Beatles’ songs! Probably, in part, owing to this, Canadian radio stations were snubbing homegrown talent. To them, American music was good; British was much better. Canadian music? A joke. Canadian acts who’d moved to the States were played and there were some regional stars and novelty hits. But, aside from their giving the nod to the irresistible Bobby Curtola, Canadian disc jockeys were predominantly anti-Canadian.
 
Meanwhile, in 1965, their name now Chad Allan and the Expressions, the five lads from Winnipeg recorded a rendition of British Johnny Kidd’s “Shakin’ All Over”. Quality Records felt it had potential but that once radio stations knew it was Canadian (and not British) they would not grant it airplay. Producer George Struth invoked a marketing ploy. Promotional copies of the single were mailed to radio stations across the country without the band’s name and with “Guess Who?” printed below the song’s title. It was hoped that DJs would assume they were listening to a mysterious new English band. The strategy worked and the single topped the charts and finished as the 20th biggest of the year. It won an RPM award and hit the Top 30 in both the U.S. and Australia.
 
The name Guess Who stuck and became an ideal moniker, given the number of personnel changes that were to come. The first of these was that, for some reason, despite their success, Bob Ashley and Chad Allan left the group; keyboardist Burton Cummings became lead vocalist. They began churning out a number of hit singles (including three that made the Top 10) in Canada, but were not successful outside the country. This changed with their release of “His Girl” which made the Top 20 in Britain and was their first hit in England.
 
Apparently, when Canadian radio stations found out that the Guess Who were not English but homegrown musicians, they stopped playing their records. And the resulting poor record sales prompted Quality to sell The Guess Who’s recording contract to the Nimbus 9 label for the incredibly low price of $1,000. Big, frickin’ mistake!
 
In 1968 Nimbus 9 signed a $3,000 licensing deal with RCA in the States, later heralded by RCA as the beginning of the “Canadian Invasion”. A full length album of Bachman/Cummings originals was released called Wheatfield Soul. Radio stations indicated they would not support “any inferior Canadian music, especially the new Guess Who record” (JAM Pop Encyclopedia) so RCA hired promotional people in key cities to launch the album’s single “These Eyes” in 1969. The song became a million-selling single in the U.S. reaching No. 3 on the charts. Canadian DJs were surprised at the band’s States-side success, and decided to play it in Canada. Needless to say, it became a Top 10 hit in Canada.
 
The Guess Who’s follow up album, Canned Wheat, resulted in three very successful songs: “Laughing”, “Undun”, and “No Time”. This album is hailed as their crowning achievement by music critics. But it was The Guess Who’s next album, in 1970, that housed their biggest hit, the edgy title track, “American Woman”. Ironically, despite its anti-American themes, it became the band’s only U.S. chart-topper. The Guess Who was invited to perform at the White House before U.S. President Nixon.
 
Trouble was brewing on the horizon, however. Randy Bachman decided to leave the group. An unfinished album They Way They Were was abandoned but released later in 1976 after The Guess Who folded. Bachman first teamed up with another ex-Guess Who member—Chad Allan—before forming the immensely successful Bachman-Turner Overdrive in 1973. Despite several lineup changes, The Guess Who managed to trudge on, continuing to rock their way up the charts.
 
The Guess Who’s next album was Share the Land which scored three Top 10 singles in Canada. They continued with several more hit albums and singles, their last Top 10 being “Clap for the Wolfman” featuring dialogue by renowned disc jockey “Wolfman” Jack. During their lifetime, the band toured extensively. Canadian appearances included annual concerts at the CNE before audiences of up to 20,000. The band, as led by Cummings, gave its farewell concert at the Montreal Forum in September, 1975. Burton Cummings embarked on a successful solo career.
 
In 1997, Bachman and Cummings decided to bury the hatchet and perform together for the first time in more than a quarter century. Two years later, the original members of The Guess Who (Bachman, Cummings, Kale, and Peterson) reunited to perform four songs at the closing ceremonies of the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg before a crowd of 22,000. When they were told that the concert drew a television audience of over 900,000, they decided to launch a reunion tour the following year:  Running Back Thru Canada. Grossing nearly $5 million, it was one of the most successful in Canadian music history. In 2003 they performed a set at the SARS benefit concert in Toronto before an estimated audience of 450,000. The show was the largest outdoor ticketed event in Canadian history.
 
The Guess Who were the ones who made it okay to be Canadian and who proved that you didn’t have to leave the country to make it big. They were the first to have a Canadian hit top the charts in both Canada and the U.S. at the same time, a feat that wasn’t repeated until Nickelback accomplished it 32 years later. The songwriting team of Bachman / Cummings became Canada’s answer to Lennon / McCartney. In 1970, The Guess Who sold more records than the entire Canadian recording industry to that point, even outselling The Beatles. From 1969 to 1975, The Guess Who released 20 million-selling singles. They are, quite simply, rock legends.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

 
Born: 1941/2 Piapot Reserve, Saskatchewan
Debut: 1964
Genres: Folk / Pop
 
Some Achievements:
 
–  Canadian Walk of Fame
–  Canadian Music Hall of Fame
–  Queen’s Jubilee Medal
–  Juno and Gemini Awards
 
Biggest Song:
 
“Up Where We Belong” (1982)
–  Theme song of the movie An Officer and a Gentleman
–  Academy Award winner
–  Golden Globe winner
–  BAFTA winner
 
Some Other Popular Songs:
 
–  “Until It’s Time for You to Go”
–  “Universal Soldier”
–  “Cod’ine”
–  “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone”
–  “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying”
–  “Piney Wood Hills”
–  “Lyke Wake Dirge”
–  “Soldier Blue”
–  “Mister Can’t You See”
–  “I’m Gonna Be a Country Girl Again”
–  “The Big Ones Get Away”
–  “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”
 
Buffy was born Beverly in the early 40s on Piapot Reserve, in the Qu’Appelle valley (near Regina, Saskatchewan) and is a First Nations (Cree) singer-songwriter, guitarist, mouth-bow player, visual artist, actress, social activist, and educator. She was orphaned when only a few months old and adopted by a part-Mi’kmaq family and raised in the U.S.. Later on, she was adopted back into the Piapot Reserve, according to tribal customs, by a Cree family related to her birth parents.
 
At 17, Sainte-Marie took up the guitar. By 1962, she was touring the folk circuit in the U.S., Canada, and abroad along with emerging Canadian contemporaries Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young. Venues included cafés in downtown Toronto’s old Yorkville district and New York City’s Greenwich Village. In 1964, she performed at Canada’s Mariposa Folk Festival and released her debut album It’s My Way (Vanguard Records).
 
According to the All Music Guide, Sainte-Marie’s style, with an “idiosyncratic vibrato”, “made large-scale commercial success out of the question”. What ended up happening was that her raw, folk songs were picked up by other artists and turned into commercial hits. She witnessed wounded American soldiers returning from their war with Vietnam and was inspired to write “Universal Soldier” which became one of Scottish Donovan’s first hits. The stunningly beautiful “Until It’s Time for You to Go”, regarded as one of her finest compositions, has been covered by a vast array of singers, including, but not limited to, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Roberta Flack, Cher, Bobby Darin, and Elvis Presley who had a British hit with it in the early 70s. “Cod’ine”, one of the few 60s anti-drug songs, was covered by The Charlatans. “Piney Wood Hills” was converted into a country hit by Bobby Bare.
 
Social issues became the central themes of her songs, not only broader issues like war and justice but also those closer to home for her. Being Native Canadian, she wrote songs about related ethnic issues like “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying”. She performed at Expo 67 in Montreal.
 
Buffy’s 1970s singles charted better in Britain than in the U.S., interestingly. Her “Soldier Blue”, theme song of the movie of the same name, made it to #7 on the U.K. charts. Her only Top 40 hit in the U.S. that decade was “Mister Can’t You See”. She attempted to break into the country, rock, and even electronica markets but those songs failed to do as well as her folk compositions. She commented about this saying that “People were more in love with the Pocahontas-with-a-guitar image”. In 1977, she performed before Queen Elizabeth II at the Silver Jubilee celebrations in Ottawa. She made a number of television appearances, including a five-year stint on Sesame Street.
 
In the 1970s, she became a big admirer of the Bahá‘í Faith and performed at some Bahá’í conferences along with renowned Bahá’í band Seals & Crofts. She performed at the Bahá’í World Congress in 1992 in New York City. She also set a popular Bahá’í prayer to music and recorded it.
 
Buffy Sainte-Marie’s most acclaimed piece was the theme song of the 1982 Hollywood production An Officer and a Gentleman, “Up Where We Belong”. She co-wrote the music with her husband Jack Nitzsche. Will Jennings wrote the lyrics and the song was performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. This effort earned her an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and BAFTA Award. Two years later, she completed her PhD (in Fine Arts) at the University of Massachusetts. She has, over the years, been given honourary doctorates from a number of Canadian Universities.
 
In 1992, she released her first album since 1976, Coincidence and Likely Stories. Apparently, she recorded it onto her home computer in Hawaii and then transmitted it via modem through the early Internet to producer Chris Birkett in London, England. The album included the politically-charged songs “The Big Ones Get Away” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”. The album contained electronic backings and traditional Aboriginal chants and, most notably, won a Best International Artist award from France! She followed up with Up Where We Belong (1996), a collection of both new and previously recorded tunes, combining elements of pop and powwow music in an “unplugged” style. The album received a Juno Award for Best Music of Aboriginal Canada in 1997.
 
In 2002, she performed at the Ottawa Folk Festival and toured France, Denmark, and Sweden. She was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal that year. In 2015, she surprised with new pop album Power In the Blood which received praise from the critics and won the Polaris Prize for the year’s best album. Buffy Sainte-Marie currently lives on Kauai, Hawaii.