ATF Tunes: Red and yellow seasons changing gear

To some Canadians, the year 1969 does not seem so long ago. It was the year that saw the Montreal Expos baseball team play their first home game. Authors were busy with releases: Margaret Atwood with The Edible Woman, Timothy Findley with The Butterfly Plague, Mordecai Richler with The Street, and Farley Mowat with The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float. It was the year that saw the birth of hockey players Brendan Shanahan and Joe Sakic as well as television personality Rick Mercer. There was a riot at Sir George Williams University (which later merged with Loyola College to become Concordia) to protest racism on campus. The Montreal Stock Exchange was bombed by FLQ terrorists. Québec teachers ended their 18-month strike. Ottawa opened its National Arts Centre and passed the Official Languages Act. The Guess Who topped the charts with “These Eyes”. And a rock band formed in Halifax destined to release fifteen studio albums (including 3 Platinum and 2 Double-Platinum), enjoy over 20 Top 40 hits, and become one of the most beloved Canadian recording acts of all-time.

Brothers David and Ritchie Henman, their cousin Jim Henman, and friend Myles Goodwyn came together as a quartet. A record deal came quickly with Aquarius and they relocated to Montreal to record their first album, Goodwyn composing most of the tracks. “Fast Train” was immediately picked up by radio stations across the country and just squeaked into the Top 40, prompting Aquarius to agree to release a second album from the group. Cousin Jim left the band and was replaced by Montrealer Jim Clench. Feeling the band had tremendous potential, Aquarius summoned producer Ralph Murphy with the mission of giving them an international hit. They covered Hot Chocolate’s song “You Could Have Been a Lady” which made the Top 5 and peaked at #32 on the U.S. charts. The album went Gold which was not an easy task in the early 70s. After the record, the Henman brothers left and auditions resulted in Jerry Mercer and Gary Moffet joining. Album number three hit store shelves in 1973 and spawned a couple of hits including “Lady Run, Lady Hide”. Goodwyn and Clench began hitting their stride as composers and wrote most of the album’s tracks.

For the purposes of our favourites list, we are most concerned, however, with album number four. Stand Back was released in 1975. All tracks were Goodwyn and Clench originals and the album attained double-platinum sales. The album opener “Oowatanite”, composed by Jim Clench, was, itself, covered by artists as far away as South Africa (Clout). Four tracks charted in the Canadian Top 30, two of which made the Top 5. One of these, composed by Goodwyn, is one of our favourite songs of all-time by a Canadian artist. Its long name is “Tonight Is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love“. The name of the band, of course, is April Wine.

Most interestingly, after Randy Bachman had departed from the Guess Who at their pinnacle of success to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Jim Clench left April Wine after this blockbuster album to join Bachman in his new band.


Red and yellow seasons changing gear, oh yeah
Giving her all I am, and reaching out with loving care
And you know she can feel it, oh yeah,
You know she doesn’t have to try
Going on forever, oh yeah,
Knowing that’s the reason why,

She said…
Tonight is a wonderful time to fall in love, oh yeah
Tonight is a wonderful time to fall in love,
Let’s fall in love, let’s fall in love

The two of us together, oh yeah
Doin’ things the way we do
And nothin’ seems to matter, oh no,
As long as I can be with you
And you know she can feel it,
‘Cause that’s the way she likes to fly
Goin’ on forever, oh yeah, and knowing that’s the reason why


Love is such a sweet thing, oh yeah,
It’s easy when you realize
These moments are forever, oh yeah
It’s magic and it’s in her eyes



Song: “Tonight Is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love”
Album: Stand Back
Year: 1975
Artist: April Wine
Origin: Montréal

More songs…


April Wine

Formed: 1969, Halifax
Years Most Active: 1971-1984
Primary Members:
–  Myles Goodwyn (vocals, guitars, keyboards; 1969-Present)
–  Jimmy Henman (vocals, bass; 1969-71)
–  David Henman (vocals, guitar; 1969-72)
–  Ritchie Henman (drums; 1969-72)
–  Jim Clench (bass; 1972-75)
–  Gary Moffet (guitars; background vocals; 1973-85)
–  Jerry Mercer (ex-Mashmakhan; drums; 1973-85)
–  Steve Lang (bass, background vocals; 1976-85)
–  Brian Greenway (vocals, guitars; 1977-85)
–  Canadian Music Hall of Fame
–  15 Top 30 and 6 Top 10 hits
–  7 Platinum and 3 Multi-Platinum albums
–  First Canadian album to go Platinum in advance sales
–  First Canadian concert tour to gross $1 million
Genre: Rock
Biggest Hits:
–  “Fast Train” (#23 Hit in 1971)
–  “You Could Have Been a Lady” (#5 Hit in 1972)
–  “Bad Side of the Moon” (#16 Hit in 1972)
–  “Lady Run, Lady Hide” (#19 Hit in 1973)
–  “I Wouldn’t Want to Lose Your Love” (#17 Hit in 1974)
–  “Tonight is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love” (#5 Hit in 1975)
–  “Oowatanite” (#11 Hit in 1975)
–  “The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy” (#5 Hit in 1976)
–  “You Won’t Dance With Me” (#6 Hit in 1977)
–  “Roller” (#24 Hit in 1979)
–  “Just Between You and Me” (#6 Hit in 1981)
–  “Enough is Enough” (#8 Hit in 1982)
–  “If You Believe in Me” (#19 Hit in 1993)
Although this institutional Canadian stadium rock act never received a major Juno award (they were nominated eight times for Group of the Year) before being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2010, April Wine scored a string of hits in the 1970s and early 80s including 15 that made the Top 30 and 6 that made the Top 10. Their success rarely splashed over south of the border; their biggest U.S. hit—1981′s “Just Between You and Me”—made it to #21 on the American charts. But they were always cherished at home in Canada with three platinum albums and three double-platinum. Known for their long song titles, April Wine is basically singer, songwriter, and guitarist Myles Goodwyn (b. Woodstock, NB, 1948), the only member who remained with the outfit throughout their career. Bassist Jim Clench left the band in 1975 to join Bachman-Turner Overdrive and later Loverboy.
April Wine formed in Halifax in 1969 before relocating to Montreal a few months later. They were able to quickly sign a deal with Aquarius Records and their debut came in 1971 with the moderate chart hit “Fast Train”. The following year, they made the Top 5 with a cover of Hot Chocolate’s “You Could Have Been a Lady”, which made it to #1 in some cities / radio stations. 1975′s huge hit “Tonight is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love” helped the album Stand Back to go double-platinum. In 1976, the concert tour promoting their album The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy was the first to gross one million dollars. The album itself was the first Canadian release to go platinum simply on advanced sales orders.
In 1977, the band released their biggest-selling single—”You Won’t Dance with Me”—which got them to open for the Rolling Stones in Canada and the U.S. as well as for Styx and fellow-Canadian band Rush. They broke into the U.S. Billboard charts in 1979 (“Roller”) which helped their album First Glance become their first to go gold outside Canada.
April Wine entered the 80s with great confidence and released the album Harder … Faster with “I Like to Rock” and the new wave tinged hit “Say Hello”. Both were popular on both sides of the border and the album achieved multi-platinum status remaining in the Billboard album charts for 40 weeks. They toured with Nazareth in the States. Bolstered by the hit “Just Between You and Me” (the band’s biggest in the U.S.), the album Nature of the Beast went multi-platinum in both Canada and the U.S.
Animal Grace (1984) was to be April Wine’s last album. But in 1992 the band reunited for a Canadian tour and recorded the hit single “If You Believe in Me” and the album Attitude.

The Canadian Invasion (1970-1972)

April WineBy the 1970s, Canadians had had enough of their musicians taking the best of the nation’s music to the United States because they couldn’t earn a living at home. To discourage this, two significant building blocks in the development of the Canadian music industry were put in place. The first of these was the establishment of the Juno Awards. The televised annual ceremony, held amidst a gala of stars, gave out awards to the best in Canadian music.
The second, which was controversial, involved the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announcing new regulations governing Canadian broadcasting. The new rules required that 30% of the songs on playlists of Canada’s AM radio stations had to fulfill two of the following four characteristics: the music was composed by Canadians, the lyrics were written by Canadians, the recording artist was Canadian, and the recording was performed (i.e. recorded) in Canada. The regulations, known as MAPL, were designed to compel radio stations to promote Canadian music.
Although some radio stations fulfilled the rules defiantly by playing the Canadian songs early in the morning or late at night, the new regulations allowed the Canadian music industry to really take off. The first artist to benefit from the new rules was Anne Murray whose song “Snowbird” became an international multi-million seller. With the groundbreaking international success of The Guess Who, a number of acts who’d been ignored by radio in the 60s saw breakthroughs in the 70s (Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Lighthouse, The Five Man Electrical Band, and The Bells). This precipitated what became known in the United States as the “Canadian Invasion”.

Female Stars

First and foremost was Anne Murray who would go on to sell over 54 million records worldwide becoming a national treasure. Second in rank was Diane Dufresne, the first francophone female rocker. Patsy Gallant emerged and released successful songs in both French and English. Country singer Renée Martel had three chart toppers from 1972-1973: “Un Amour Qui Ne Veut Pas Mourir”, “Partir Au Soleil”, and “Si On Pouvait Recommencer”. The other big country singer who began rising to fame and glory was Carroll Baker.

Male Stars

The men were more plentiful (haven’t things changed since the 90s!). First in rank would be Gordon Lightfoot. Although his debut came in 1962, his big (international) breakthrough came eight years later. Neil Young had finished dabbling with Buffalo Springfield and went solo. He was always more successful outside of Canada, especially in the U.S. And he had the first #1 album in Britain by a Canadian artist. Pianist André Gagnon rose to prominence as did Frank Mills after his departure from The Bells.
A number of other singers emerged, like R. Dean Taylor, whom American critics consider one of the most underrated acts ever to record under the Motown label. His “Indiana Wants Me”, which opened the decade, made the Top 5 south of the border, becoming one of the label’s first hits from a white artist. The following year, Taylor came out with “Gotta See Jane” which did even better in Canada, finishing as one of the biggest Top 40 hits of the year in his native Toronto.
Tex Lecor achieved international success with the Georges Langford song “Le Frigidaire”, which he, amazingly, recorded in five languages. The French version topped the charts in Quebec for five straight weeks in early ’72. His “Quand Ca Ne Tourne Pas Rond” also did well. Award-winning folk music came from Ottawa-native Valdy.
Donald Lautrec continued churning out French hits (he was the one who sang a French version of “Whiter Shade of Pale” called “Le Jour du dernier jour”). On Remembrance Day in 1972, Lautrec’s “Le Mur Derriere La Grange” peaked at #2 on the Montreal charts. 1972 also was a big year for Georges Dor. Not only did his “Pour La Musique” top the charts in Quebec, but CKAC radio designated Dor’s “La Manic” as the most popular song of the last fifty years.


The early 70s, like the late-60s, were dominated by The Guess Who, naturally. Their “American Woman” was the 2nd biggest Canadian tune of the whole decade and they had five additional songs that made the yearly Top 100. Perhaps the second most significant band of the period was April Wine with three huge hits that decade (and a couple in the early 80s). Bluesy Offenbach became a formidable force as well. Calgary‘s The Stampeders scored three major hits.  
Lighthouse succeeded with “One Fine Morning” (1971) and “Pretty Lady” (1973). They won Juno Awards for Best Group of the Year in 1973 and ’74. The Five Man Electrical Band‘s “Signs” was the 22nd biggest song of the year in 1971 and they subsequently scored with “I’m a Stranger here” two years later. Original Caste scored two major hits in 1970: “Mr. Monday” and “One Tin Soldier”. They disbanded the following year.
There were a couple of one-hit wonder bands that appeared. The first of these was Mashmakhan. Their “As the Years Go By” was the 10thbiggest hit of 1970. The following year, gospel-ish Ocean came out with the third most successful Canuck song of the decade: “Put Your Hand in the Hand”.
Before moving on to the big guns, below are mini-profiles of semi-major acts: Patsy Gallant and The Bells / Frank Mills.

Patsy Gallant

Patsy was one of ten children who all sang in a family group, The Gallant Sisters. She began singing when she was five. In 1967, she started a solo career, appearing in TV commercials and variety shows. Her debut album appeared in 1970 and she became, not only one of the few Canadians to have hits in both official languages (English and French) but also one of the few successful Canadian disco artists later in the decade. Patsy Gallant’s “Tout Va Trop Vite” reached No. 3 on the Canadian French charts in 1972. Later in the decade she had huge success with “From New York to L.A.”, and her “Sugar Daddy” was the best-selling Canadian single of the year in 1978. She won the Juno Award for Best Female Singer of the Year in both 1977 and 1978.

The Bells / Frank Mills

The Bells were a Montreal outfit who debuted in 1968. But their first big hit came in 1971—”Stay Awhile”, the 27th biggest song of the year. Their “Fly Little White Dove, Fly” was nominated for a Juno. Pianist Frank Mills departed for a successful solo career performing instrumental piano pop. His first major hit, which faired much better in Canada (topping the charts) than the U.S., was “Love Me Love Me Love” in 1972. “Pretty Little Fool” followed that year. His huge international breakthrough, however, came in 1979 care of his album Music Box Dancer with two hit singles: its title-track and “Peter Piper”. The album reached #21 on the Billboard charts and its title-track reached #3.