2 and 2 in Britain; 4 and 4 in the States

Adams and Bieber 2 and 2 in Britain

On this week’s official UK charts, Canadians Bryan Adams and Justin Bieber both debut at #2. Last month, they played together in Germany (see it here). Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” debuts at #2 on the British Singles Chart behind “Hello” by England’s Adele. Bryan Adams, on the other hand, debuts at #2 on the British Albums Chart with Get Up behind Sounds Good Feels Good by Australia’s 5 Seconds of Summer.

adams bieber1

Bieber Performs on the Graham Norton Show

Justin Bieber performed “What Do You Mean” tonight on BBC’s The Graham Norton Show. In the cute interview that followed, the host commented, “That song, ‘What Do You Mean’, I like it. It’s your little cry from the heart to the women of the world, ’cause you don’t know what they mean. Is that the thing?” Justin replied, “I never know what they mean.” Norton returned, “But all boys don’t know what girls mean.” And Justin said, “Yeah, that’s why we needed an anthem.”

Norton Bieber

Four Canadians in Top 4 U.S. Billboard Spots

For the first time in U.S. Billboard Hot 100 history, four Canadian artists own the top four spots on the chart. The Weeknd is at #1 with “The Hills”, Drake is #2 with “Hotline Bling”, Justin Bieber is at #3 with “What Do You Mean”, and Shawn Mendes is at #4 with “Stitches”.

US Billboard Hot 100 - 7 Nov 2015

Mendes and Cara MAKE Billboard’s Hot PRE-21

Billboard magazine recently listed its picks for the 21 hottest stars under the age of 21. The list includes two Canadians: Shawn Mendes (ranked 4th) and Alessia Cara (ranked 11th). The latter’s hit “Here” entered the U.S. Hot 100’s Top 20 this week. She will be releasing her debut album Know It All November 13. You can view the article here.

mendes cara

Come October Bryan Adams Shall Get Up

bryan adams - get upElectric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne and early collaborator Jim Vallance have teamed up with Bryan Adams on his upcoming studio album Get Up, set for an October 16 release. It will be the North Vancouver raised superstar’s 13th career album. While last year’s Tracks of My Years (gold) was replete with covers, this will be a disc of original material. The stats on Adams are more than impressive. He is the first homegrown artist to score a diamond album domestically (Reckless) and has sold some 60 million albums worldwide. Bryan has scored more Top 40, more Top 10, and more #1 hits than any other local artist, a total of 36, 18, and 10 respectively from 1982 to 2000. Below is a list of all Bryan Adams’ Top 40 hits in Canada with peak position and year. “What’s your favourite Bryan Adams song?” is always a good question to start a friendly conversation.

Fits Ya Good 30 1982
Cuts Like a Knife 12 1983
Straight form the Heart 20 1983
This Time 32 1983
Run to You 4 1985
Summer of ’69 11 1985
Heaven 11 1985
Somebody 13 1985
It’s Only Love 14 1985
One Night Love Affair 19 1985
Heat of the Night 7 1987
Hearts on Fire 25 1987
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You 1 1991
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started 1 1991
Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven 1 1992
There Will Never Be Another 2 1992
Do I Have to Say the Words? 2 1992
Touch the Hand 38 1992
Please Forgive Me 1 1993
Is Your Mama Gonna Miss Ya 36 1993
All For Love (with Sting and Rod Stewart) 1 1994
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? 1 1995
Low Life 13 1995
Let’s Make It a Night To Remember 1 1996
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You 1 1996
Rock Steady 12 1996
18 Til I Die 21 1996
Do to You 6 1997
I’ll Always Be Right There 15 1997
I Finally Found Someone 18 1997
Back to You 1 1998
On a Day Like Today 1 1998
I’m Ready 11 1998
When You’re Gone 5 1999
Cloud #9 7 1999
Best of Me 10 2000

Ice Conduit to the 2015 JUNOs: Artist/Group of the Year Nominees

Nominees for these two categories are determined by an equal weighting of sales, CARAS Academy Delegate votes and Next Big Sound Data.

Up for Artist of the Year are Kingston, ON’s Bryan Adams, Niagara Falls’ deadmau5, Montreal’s Leonard Cohen, Halifax’s Sarah McLachlan, and Toronto’s The Weeknd.

For Group of the Year, we have Hamilton’s Arkells, Montreal’s Chromeo, Quadra Island, BC’s Mother Mother, Hanna, AB’s Nickelback, and half Canadian duo You+Me.

The Artists

Bryan Adams released a gold-certified covers album last year, Tracks of My Years. He has won 19 JUNO Awards placing him in third place after Anne Murray and Celine Dion. Deadmau5 released his album While One Is Less Than Two which placed three tracks on the charts, the most successful being “Seeya”, a gold, Top 20 hit. He’s won four JUNOs to date. Leonard Cohen gave us platinum certified album Popular Problems. His JUNO count stands at six. Sarah McLachlan, winner of eight JUNOs heartened 2014 with her gold album Shine On. The Weeknd’s last album was Kiss Land back in September 2013. Four of his songs made the Hot 100 in 2014 including his Top 10 collaboration with Ariana Grande. Newer on the playing field, The Weeknd has had two JUNOs to date.

We have a feeling The Weeknd will win this one, with his recent international superstardom and thus momentum, but it’s a tough call. Interestingly, none of the artists scored both a Hot 100 charting single and a gold/platinum certified album in 2014.

The Groups

Regarding the groups, two-time JUNO winner Arkells released album High Noon and single “Come to Light” peaked at #81 on the charts. Chromeo had one of the year’s biggest Canadian hits; “Jealous” from album White Women peaked at #12 and became a platinum single. The duo has not yet won a JUNO. Mother Mother graced 2014 with album Very Good Bad Thing. While no certifications or hit singles resulted, the band was signed to a major label, a mark of growth. The band has not yet won a JUNO. Nicelback’s 2014 album was No Fixed Address, recently certified platinum. Three singles made the charts, two landing in the Top 40. The band has won a dozen JUNOs. You+Me scored gold album Rose Ave, three tracks making the Hot 100. The duo was new on the scene in 2014.

Prediction? The JUNOs will probably want to reward Chromeo for its new level of success and finally give the duo an award.

Diana Krall Woos The Wallflower

Diana Krall - WallflowerAfter being delayed twice, Diana Krall’s 12th studio album Wallflower has finally arrived. This is a covers album of mainly pop songs converted to jazz with some bossa nova rhythms. Wallflower was produced by Canada’s David Foster. Nanaimo, BC’s Diana Krall OC has won 8 JUNO awards, scored seven multiplatinum albums, and sold over 15 million records worldwide. Her most successful work was 2001’s The Look of Love at 7xPlatinum. Wallflower contains duets with two of Canada’s leading men: Diana’s jazz counterpart Michael Bublé as well as Bryan Adams.

As most are already familiar with Diana’s style, and therefore what can be expected on the new album, we will provide the origins of its songs, most of which are from the 1970s with a few from the 60s and 80s. “California Dreamin'” from 1965 was originally performed by The Mamas & The Papas, a band that included Canadian artist Denny Doherty. Both “Desperado” (1973) and track #7 “I Can’t Tell You Why” (1980) were first recorded by American country rock band The Eagles. 1969’s “Superstar”, written by Bramlett and Russell, has been covered many times, the most famous version being The Carpenters’.

“Alone Again (Naturally)” is the much anticipated duet with Michael Bublé, a song by Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan from 1972. Diana’s duet with Bryan Adams is for track #11, “Feels Like Home” by Randy Newman made famous by Chantal Kreviazuk in The Notebook soundtrack. The album’s title-track, “Wallflower”, was written and recorded by Bob Dylan in 1971. “If I Take You Home Tonight” is a previously unreleased composition by Paul McCartney. “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” is Elton John’s from 1976. Jim Croce’s “Operator” is from 1972, 10CC’s “I’m Not In Love” from 1975, and “Don’t Dream It’s Over” was a hit in 1986 for Australia’s Crowded House. A deluxe version of the album contains a couple more songs and a couple of live versions.  iTunes

Selected New Releases 25 November 2014

25 Nov 2014 Albums Collage copy

Platinum country-rocker Dallas Smith releases his second studio album, Lifted. Gold-certified Dumas launches his latest, a self-titled LP. Barenaked Ladies’ keyboardist Kevin Hearn contributes Days In Frames. Album X celebrates 10 years in music from rock band Jonas & The Massive Attraction. In The Hardest Part Is You May Never Know, Paul Cargnello continues his adeptness at mashing up punk rock, reggae, blues and folk. Noem is a five-piece alternative / electronic rock band from Sherbrooke and turns out fine new album Le grand Mensonge. Snowday, a new chillout electronica outfit based in Toronto with members from Ottawa, gives us the exquisite debut, As We Travel. Rap lovers can enjoy new album Sale sud by Saye.

Cristóbal Cortes, operating under the name Das Mörtal, fires off his third 2014 EP, Never Forgotten. He does instrumental electronica on the darker side fit for horror movie soundtracks (which he has done). Molitor is a progressive pop/rock male soloist from Niagara Falls and #lonelypeople_Music is his second EP.

As we get into the busiest retail season of the year, greatest hit packages, holiday albums, and reissues hit the shops. We have previously featured Bryan Adams’ Reckless deluxe reissue and Garou‘s Xmas Blues. Kingston’s Headstones release a fan-selected greatest hits performed on acoustic instruments. EDM wizard deadmau5 celebrates five years with a greatest hits double album which contains remixes and extended versions of his most popular tracks. Finally comes a greatest hits from Jacksoul, a successful Toronto R&B band whose lead singer passed away from cancer in 2009.

Mid November 2014 News

Bryan Elise Chantal

Bryan Adams To Be Honoured

Canadian Music Week has announced that Bryan Adams OC will be the 2015 recipient of the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award. Alongside a successful music career which saw sales of 65 million records worldwide, Bryan has been involved in a number of humanitarian pursuits. He helped write and organize Canadian charity single “Tears Are Not Enough” and participated in many fund-raising concerts like Live Aid, A Conspiracy of Hope, and Rock for Amnesty, dedicated to human rights causes that tackled issues of poverty and famine. Bryan has also supported Greenpeace in its efforts to protect and conserve the environment and rainforests. Adams has helped raise funds for disadvantaged youth in the UK, assisted American farmers, supported victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and raised funds to rebuild schools in Pakistan damaged by the 2005 earthquake.

Elise Estrada Pens Tune For Sarah Geronimo

Canadian pop star Elise Estrada co-wrote the title track on Sarah Geronimo’s latest album, Perfectly Imperfect. Geronimo is a diamond-selling music superstar in The Philippines. The team at Elise’s record label XOXO Entertainment in Vancouver had a big hand in the writing and production on the album which recently hit #1 in SE Asia.

Chantal Kreviazuk Featured on SNL

Multiplatinum Winnipegger Chantal Kreviazuk recently performed on U.S. variety show Saturday Night Live which was created by Torontonian Lorne Michaels. A while back, Chantal wrote song “Pay For It” which she shelved. It was later dusted off by American rappers Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar who liked it and recorded a finalized version keeping Chantal’s vocal bits and crediting her as a featured artist. The three performed the song on SNL. It was Kreviazuk’s first time on the show, and having grown up as a fan of Gilda Radner, she was honoured to take its stage.

Reckless Turns 30

Reckless Bryan Adams 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

This month, November 2014, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Bryan Adams’ Reckless, the first album by a homegrown artist to sell a million copies in Canada (diamond certification). It was the North Vancouver singer’s 4th studio album and won the JUNO for Album of the Year. The album was a huge international success peaking at #1 in the United States and #7 in the United Kingdom. Reckless spawned six Top 40 hits in 1985: “Run to You” (#4), “Summer of ’69” (#11), “Heaven” (#11), “Somebody” (#13), “It’s Only Love” (#14), and “One Night Love Affair” (#19). “It’s Only Love” featured American singer Tina Turner. Adams co-produced the album with Bob Clearmountain, and it was recorded at Vancouver’s Little Mountain Sound Studios. All 10 album tracks were composed by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.

Something that cannot be quantified was the impact Reckless had on the Canadian public. It bolstered pride in Canadian music and support for homegrown artists as a whole. Reckless and Corey Hart’s Boy in the Box were the twin Canadian diamond sellers of the mid-80s. Hart had the #1 song of 1985 – “Never Surrender” – and Adams was one of the key figures who arranged the charity single for African famine relief “Tears Are Not Enough” with supergroup Northern Lights. It was also the year that saw Canadian actor Michael J. Fox star in Hollywood blockbuster Back to the Future. As far as entertainment goes, 1985 was one of the coolest years ever to be Canadian.

In celebration of Reckless’ 30th anniversary, a special multiple disc edition of the album will be released on November 24: a deluxe version and a super deluxe version. The set will feature previously unreleased songs associated with the original album, re-mastering of the original tracks, live versions, and high definition music videos.

Canadians Who Topped the British Singles Chart

Canada-UKTopping the UK Singles Chart has proven to be one of the most challenging feats for a Canadian recording artist over the years. Less Canadians than you would think have crowned the chart and many you would assume have done so have not. From the 1950s until the present, only eight Canadians have scored a #1 hit in Britain: four women and four men. No bands have made the grade. There were a few who were able to hit the top as a featured artist (Drake), a group with a Canadian member (The Archies), or a collaboration (DVBBS with Borgeous and Tinie Tempah) but for the purposes of this list, we will count these simply as honourable mentions.

Paul AnkaThe first Canadian recording artist to score a number one hit in Britain was Ottawa’s rock and roll pioneer Paul Anka. He charted a total of 15 songs in the UK from 1957 until 1974 but it was only his first that hit the top: “Diana”. The song spent a total of 25 weeks on the chart including nine weeks at #1. It sold over a million copies in the land of Buckingham.

Terry JacksWinnipeg’s Terry Jacks scored two hits in the UK. “Seasons in the Sun” reached number one there in 1974 as it did just about everywhere else. It had been 17 years since a Canuck was on top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANorth Vancouver’s Bryan Adams has landed 36 songs on the UK charts. Only one of them hit the top, and that was “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” in 1991. The blockbuster smash which remained on top for 16 weeks also propelled his album Waking Up the Neighbours to the top of the British Albums chart, something that hadn’t happened since Neil Young’s Harvest in 1972.

Celine DionCéline Dion (Charlemagne, QC) is the only Canadian to score more than one chart-topper in Britain. “Think Twice” was her first in 1994. The second was of course “My Heart Will Go On” in 1998. Surprisingly, though, the former was a bigger hit than the latter. “Think Twice” remained on the charts for 31 weeks and spent seven of them on top. Celine has enjoyed 30 charting singles in the UK.

Nelly FurtadoWith 18 hits in Britain, Victoria’s Nelly Furtado was fortunate to have one of them crown the chart, and that one was 2006’s “Maneater”. Nelly was the only Canadian artist to receive a BRIT award during the noughties decade.

Carly Rae Jepsen1Six years after Nelly topped the British charts, her BC sister, Mission’s Carly Rae Jepsen did the same with “Call Me Maybe,” the best-selling international single of the year. The song remained on the UK charts for 48 weeks, four of them at #1. Carly has seen four charting singles in Britain so far.

Robin Thicke2Though he’s from California, Robin Thicke is a Canadian citizen (he has dual citizenship). His “Blurred Lines” reached #1 in 2013 and is still on the UK charts having spent 51 weeks thus far.

KieszaThe most recent Canadian to hit #1 in the United Kingdom is Calgary’s Kiesza. “Hideaway” is her 2014 debut single, and she became a household name in Britain before most Canucks had heard of her. With the seven names above, Kiesza is in pretty blessed company.

Bryan Adams in Concert

The king of heartland rock is in the middle of his cross-Canada tour which began in St. John’s on April 11; tonight he is in Toronto.  After Thunder Bay, May 9th, he is off to Portugal and will return to do western Canada in June.  Bryan Adams released his first hit single in 1979, “Let Me Take You Dancing” which received extensive airplay on Vancouver’s “LG73”.  After two albums that saw modest sales, he unleashed his triple platinum Cuts Like a Knife in 1983 which spawned 3 Top 40 hits. This album was basically the setup for his hydrogen bomb, Reckless, the first Canadian album in history to go diamond at home with a million copies sold and 6 Top 20 hits, including “Run to You” which made the Top 5.

In 1991, Adams released his second diamond album, Waking up the Neighbours, which saw one of the biggest hit singles in history top the charts around the globe and was featured in the Hollywood blockbuster motion picture Robin Hood:  Prince of Thieves.  The song was “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”.  Waking Up the Neighbours became the first Canadian album since Neil Young’s Harvest in 1972 to top the album charts in the United Kingdom.  Although the 90s saw Adam’s greatest success on the singles charts (9 number ones), most think of him as an 80s sensation. His achievements brought unsurpassed Canadian pride to those who spent their youth in that decade.

Check out the tour dates on Bryan Adams’ website.

What is Bryan Adams up to, “Tonight in Babylon”?

Bryan Adams was the very first Canadian recording artist to score a diamond album when he released Reckless in 1984. In 1991, he scored his second diamond album, Waking Up the Neighbours. It became the first Canadian album to top the British charts since Neil Young’s Harvest way back in 1972. Waking Up the Neighbours included Adams’ biggest international hit, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You“. The song, featured in the Hollywood movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, not only topped the singles charts in a number of countries around the world, it became the biggest song of the year in many of them. Adams has scored some 37 Top 40 singles and won 17 JUNO awards. Simply put, he is perhaps the most successful Canadian male solo artist of all-time.

Bryan will be touring Canada in a few months. Today he put up a good quality music video for “Tonight in Babylon”, a collaboration with DJ trance group Loverush UK. For your convenience, we’ve embedded the video below.  And, my gosh it’s good!

Cool News Items

1.  Ottawa’s emerging CRMA-nominated country star Kira Isabella sang the national anthem to open the Sens vs. Leafs game last night.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a better performance.  Given the cheers of the crowd, I think most would agree that it was absolutely sensational.  You can watch Kira’s performance HERE.

2.  Vancouver’s emerging rock ‘n roll star Stef Lang has released a new single, “Paper Doll” and has generously offered it as a FREE download HERE.  She has announced  a nation-wide tour that will commence at the end of March.  You can view a tentative list of dates HERE.

3.  Avril Lavigne has completed two nights of performances at Tokyo’s Saitama Super Arena as she launches the final leg of her Black Star Tour.  Japan is the second largest music market in the world and the Japanese are among her most avid fans.  Three of Avril’s albums have been certified DIAMOND in Japan.  She has released a snippet video of her concert, a tour-de-force a capella performance.  You can watch it HERE. While in Tokyo, the pop punk princess tried her hand at taiko drumming:  video HERE.

4.  Bryan Adams will be on tour in Japan soon. He’ll tour Europe in March and Canada starting in April.  We’ll post more info on his Canadian concert tour later on.

5.  Mia Martina, the sultry voice behind “Stereo Love”, “Latin Moon”, and “Burning” will be touring the major cities in western Canada very soon:

Feb 14:  Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver
Feb 15:  Back Alley, Calgary
Feb 16:  Treasury Vodka Bar & Eatery, Edmonton
Feb 17:  Fame Night Club, Winnipeg

ATF Tunes: And when you find me there you’ll search no more

Early February 1993, I had been in Guyana for nearly a year helping out with a literacy project and became extremely ill with typhoid fever. I travelled from New Amsterdam to Georgetown to see a doctor. While waiting to cross the coastal highway, a truck stopped, pulling over slightly towards the curb. I began to cross. Delirious with the illness, the sound of a horn did not seem to be real. The truck had pulled over: why would it be honking at me? But the volume of the horn increased. As it turned out, the large truck had stopped to allow a smaller, faster truck to pass it, and this smaller vehicle was now but several metres away from me refusing to put on the brakes. I had seconds to dart out of the way and was so weak with the typhoid that I didn’t know if I could. It was like a moment when you are given a choice: let it end now or carry on with life. Obviously I chose the second option and managed to leap forward out of the way.

After picking up some chloramphenicol, in a miserable state, and very homesick, I hopped onto a so-called mini-bus (15-seater van used like a taxi). These vans are notorious for having the latest car stereo system. The drivers usually crank up the volume ignoring complaints from the passengers and play the raunchiest reggae music imaginable. But this time something magical happened. As the mini-bus pulled out of the car park, a song came over the speakers that was sung by someone from my hometown of North Vancouver, BC. I had to fight back the tears. That song was Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You“. I think it was a more effective cure than the chloramphenicol.

Adams co-wrote the song with Michael Kamen and Robert John “Mutt” Lange and it was featured on the soundtrack of the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. “I Do It for You” was a #1 single all over the world, selling 10 million copies, making it one of the best-selling singles of all-time. In Canada it was the biggest song of the year. A Canadian artist scoring the #1 song of the year had not happened since Corey Hart’s “Never Surrender” in 1985. It’s one of the Canadian Music Blog’s favourite songs of all-time by a Canadian artist.

By the way, thank you Bryan for saving me.


Look into my eyes – you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart – search your soul
And when you find me there you’ll search no more

Don’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for
You can’t tell me it’s not worth dyin’ for
You know it’s true
Everything I do – I do it for you

Look into your heart – you will find
There’s nothin’ there to hide
Take me as I am – take my life
I would give it all – I would sacrifice

Don’t tell me it’s not worth fightin’ for
I can’t help it – there’s nothin’ I want more
Ya know it’s true
Everything I do – I do it for you

There’s no love – like your love
And no other – could give more love
There’s nowhere – unless you’re there
All the time – all the way

Oh – you can’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for
I can’t help it – there’s nothin’ I want more
I would fight for you – I’d lie for you
Walk the wire for you – ya I’d die for you

Ya know it’s true
Everything I do – I do it for you


Song: “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”
Album: Waking Up the Neighbours
Year: 1991
Artist: Bryan Adams
Origin: North Vancouver

More songs…

“Tears Are Not Enough” by Northern Lights

Notable Canadian band manager Bruce Allen organized a project to record a charity single for African famine relief in response to Britain’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Jim Vallance in an interview told the story of how things came together in writing and recording the song “Tears Are Not Enough” sung by a supergroup of Canadian artists called Northern Lights.

…in 1985, David [Foster] returned to Vancouver for a year. He and his wife Rebecca bought a house in the same neighbourhood where Bryan Adams and I lived, but we didn’t see much of them. One day I ran into David in the lobby of Little Mountain Sound Studio, where he was producing an album for Paul Hyde and Bob Rock’s group, The Payolas. He approached me in a panic and said, “You have a home studio, right?” I replied that I did.

Visibly excited, David told me he’d just got off the phone with Quincy Jones, who’d just finished recording a Michael Jackson / Lionel Ritchie song for African famine relief called “We Are The World”. Quincy played the song for David over the phone, and said he wanted David to record a Canadian song for Africa — and it had to be finished in the next week or two so it could be included on the U.S. album release!

“We Are The World” was written in response to Bob Geldoff’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, recorded and released the year before (1984). Geldoff’s song raised millions of dollars for Africa, and had already made a significant difference to those suffering from drought and famine. Quincy hoped that a Canadian song might help make a difference too.

David already had a melody, borrowed from a song he’d been working on, and he had a title, “Tears Are Not Enough”, which had been provided by Paul Hyde and Bob Rock. It was nearly twenty years later (2004) when I finally heard the story behind the “title”:

Paul and Bob had been in the studio with Foster on the day that Quincy Jones called. Several weeks earlier they’d written a song called “Tears Are Not Enough”, and after the call from Quincy they played their song for David, thinking it might be suitable for the Famine Relief recording. “So, what do you think?” they asked, when they’d finished presenting the song. “Nice title”, David replied.

The next morning (Friday, February 1, 1985) David arrived at my home studio. He played me his melody on the piano. It was a pretty ballad with an interesting, circular chord progression. He also mentioned Paul and Bob’s title, “Tears Are Not Enough”, which I thought was excellent.

With the melody and the title we had enough to get started, so began recording the track right away. Using his Emulator synthesizer David laid down a piano, followed by a Moog bass, then a bell sound. I added drums and percussion. An hour or two later we had a “basic track” (it was only intended to be a quick “demo” recording, but it worked so well we ended up using it for the final recording).

Then we started working on the lyrics:
We can close the distance
Only we can make the difference
Don’t you know that tears are not enough

It was a good start, but David had to rush away for a session with The Payolas, promising to return the following day. I continued work on the lyrics while my wife Rachel [Paiement] wrote a few lines in French — after all, it was a Canadian song for Africa!

The next day Bryan Adams arrived from Los Angeles and hurried over to help. He looked at the lyrics I’d written so far and immediately suggested an improvement. “How about ‘we can BRIDGE the distance’?”, he said. It was perfect, and with that we were off and running.

We finished the lyric later that evening, then Bryan and Rachel recorded the vocals. The demo was completed at 4:00 a.m. the next morning.

Meanwhile, David enlisted Bryan’s manager Bruce Allen to help assemble a roster of performers. Bruce was well-connected in the music industry, and in quick succession Joni Mitchell and Neil Young agreed to participate. Then Kim Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. Burton Cummings came on board, and so did Geddy Lee and Corey Hart.

Comedians John Candy and Catherine O’Hara offered their services, along with legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson and David Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer. Dan Hill, Jane Sibbery, Sylvia Tyson, Robert Charlebois … the list of participants grew by the hour.

I suggested we record the vocals at Manta Studios [in Toronto], where I’d recorded Bryan Adams’ first album (and also Barney Bentall, Lisa Dal Bello and Cano). The room was big enough to accommodate a large group, and I also knew that veteran engineer Hayward Parrott could handle the complex task of recording 30 soloists … plus a chorus of 50!

Michael Godin (A&M Records) contacted Manta owner Andy Hermant, who generously donated the studio. On Saturday (February 9, 1985) we flew to Toronto to prepare for the mammoth recording session planned for the following day.

During the flight we reviewed the lyric sheet and the list of artists and determined who would sing which line. We decided the song should begin with Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot (“As everyday goes by …”), then move to Burton Cummings (“How can we close our eyes …”), then to Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, and so on.

The session took place on Sunday, February 10, 1985. It was a bitter cold day, but hundreds of fans gathered outside Manta to watch the “stars” arrive. Gordon Lightfoot drove himself to the studio in a pick-up truck. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell arrived by taxi. Platinum Blonde arrived in a white stretch limo.

Just as Quincy Jones had done in Los Angeles, Foster taped a poster in the studio lobby that said, “Leave your egos at the door”. Everyone gave 200 percent, and at the end of the day we had the makings of a magical record.

One of the funniest moments happened during Neil Young’s performance. He’d sung his line once or twice already, but Foster still wasn’t happy and asked Neil to try again. When Neil asked why, David told him he was out of tune. “That’s my style, man”, Neil shot back.

For me, one of the highlights was sitting on the studio floor a few feet from Joni Mitchell while she carved graceful lines in the air with her hands as she sang. Another special moment was meeting Richard Manuel, singer and pianist for “The Band”. In fact, Joni Mitchell and “The Band” are two of my biggest musical influences. I was in “fan heaven”, meeting them and hearing them sing lyrics I’d written!

After completing the vocal session in Toronto, David and I returned to Vancouver and booked time at Pinewood Studios and Little Mountain Sound where more instruments were added to the track, including Loverboy’s Doug Johnson and Paul Dean, who contributed keyboards and guitar. Steven Denroche, a member of the Vancouver Symphony, was called in to play French Horn…

One important Canadian artist unable to attend the Toronto recording session was Bruce Cockburn, who was performing in Germany at the time. Cockburn ‘s manager, Bernie Finkelstein, wondered if there wasn’t a way Bruce could record his vocal at a studio in Germany and have it edited into the finished product at a later date. It was a nice idea, but to meet our deadline Bruce’s contribution would have to be filmed and recorded sometime in the next 48 hours. In a moment of weakness I volunteered to fly to Germany!

The good news is, Air Canada provided a free ticket. The bad news is, there were no direct fights — so I had to fly from Vancouver to Toronto, Toronto to London, London to Frankfurt, and Frankfurt to Hamburg … a 44-hour round-trip. I arrived in Hamburg just in time to catch Bruce’s performance at a club on Tuesday evening. I met him backstage, for the first time, after the show.

I’d brought a cassette tape of the song, which Bruce hadn’t heard yet. But before I could even play the tape, Bruce dropped a bomb. He said he hadn’t yet decided if he wanted to participate in the project!

Bernie had neglected to tell me that Bruce hadn’t made up his mind yet — and I’d just spent 22 hours on a #$&@ airplane! In my sleep-deprived, jet-lagged stupor my first reaction was to reach across the table and grab Bruce by the throat with both hands. Instead, I used every ounce of diplomacy I could muster. I told Bruce how magical the session in Toronto had been … how it was truly a special project, and that everyone was looking forward to his involvement, which was true!

Bruce eventually came around, and he agreed to meet me at a Hamburg recording studio the following morning. It took less than an hour to complete Bruce’s audio and video recording, then it was back to the airport for the 22-hour return flight to Vancouver (via Frankfurt, London and Toronto).

I met one of the film people at the airport in Toronto during my two-hour lay-over, and I handed him the Cockburn footage to edit into the video. After spending a much-needed night in my own bed in Vancouver, I flew to Los Angeles the next morning to deliver Bruce’s audio track. Foster and his assistant Chris Earthy met me at the airport, and we rushed over to Kenny Roger’s “Lion’s Share” studio where Cockburn’s vocal was edited into the audio mix that engineer Humberto Gatica had nearly completed.

“Tears Are Not Enough” reached #1 on the Canadian charts and helped raise more than $3-million for African Famine Relief.

Lyrics and Vocalists

As every day goes by, how can we close our eyes (Gordon Lightfoot)
Until we open up our hearts (Burton Cummings)

We can learn to share and show how much we care (Anne Murray)
Right from the moment that we start (Joni Mitchell)

Seems like overnight, we see the world in a different light (Dan Hill)
Somehow our innocence is lost (Neil Young)

How can we look away, ’cause every single day (Bryan Adams)
We’ve got to help at any cost (Liberty Silver and Loverboy’s Mike Reno)

Chorus (sung by the nine singers above):

We can bridge the distance
Only we can make the difference
Don’t ya know that tears are not enough

If we can pull together
We could change the world forever
Heaven knows that tears are not enough

It’s up to me and you to make the dream come true (Carroll Baker, Ronnie Hawkins, and Murray McLauchlan)
It’s time to take our message everywhere (Corey Hart)

C’est l’amour qui nous rassemble
d’ici a l’autre bout du monde (Véronique Béliveau, Robert Charlebois, and Claude Dubois)

Let’s show them Canada still cares (Bruce Cockburn)
You know that we’ll be there (Rush’s Geddy Lee)

(Chorus – all 18 singers above)

And if we could try (Bryan Adams and Don Gerrard)
Together you and I (All 44 Singers)
Maybe we could understand the reasons why (Zappacosta and Dalbello)
If we take a stand (Rough Trade’s Carole Pope and The Payola$ Paul Hyde)
Every woman, child and man (Salome Bey, Platinum Blonde’s Mark Holmes, and The Parachute Club’s Lorraine Segato)
We can make it work for God’s sake lend a hand (Loverboy’s Mike Reno)

(Chorus – all the above singers plus Paul Anka, Liona Boyd, actor John Candy, Tom Cochrane, Tommy Hunter, Martha Johnson (M+M), actor Eugene Levy, pop pianist Frank Mills, Kim Mitchell, jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, David Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer, Jane Siberry, Sylvia Tyson (Ian & Sylvia), dj Barry Harris, actress Catherine O’Hara, and Wayne St. John)

The “Tears Are Not Enough” project was one of the finest moments in Canadian music history.

Les Yeux de la Faim

It didn’t receive much attention outside of Quebec but Francophone artists banded together to record an additional charity single for African famine relief. Celine Dion, Rene & Nathalie Simard and others lent their voices to the beautiful “Les Yeux de la Faim“.

Canadian Pride (1985-86)

In the two years following 1984’s dry spell, a total of 50 songs from Canadian artists made the weekly Top 30 National RPM Singles Chart. 1985 was the year that changed everything. Fifteen Canadian artists had Top 30 hits through the year. There were 14 Canadian songs in the year-end Top 100, and the biggest song of the year was Canadian. The year saw three Canadian songs top the charts. And it was the year that witnessed the very first Canadian album certified Diamond. Perhaps the highlight was the coming together of all major Canadian artists to record a charity single for African famine relief. Although the whirlwind that created a swelling of Canadian pride eased up a bit in 1986, it was still a strong year for Canadian music. The RPM Top 100 Year-End Album Charts saw 11 from Canadian artists in 1985 and a dozen in 1986.


At the end of October, 1984, Bryan Adams released his album Reckless and its first single “Run to You”. For some reason, it took some time for the song to climb up the charts, finally cracking the Top 10 on January 12th, 1985. From there, everything snowballed. The album which spawned several additional hits became certified Diamond (1 million copies sold in a country of nearly 26 million at the time) on December 17th. But that wasn’t the only big album that year. Corey Hart released Boy in the Box in mid-June. “Never Surrender” topped the charts and became the biggest song of the year. “Everything in My Heart” was a #1 hit as well (in 1986). And the album became the second in history to attain Diamond sales. Canadian pride soared and the Junos the following year drew a huge audience to see “Never Surrender” win Song of the Year and Reckless win Best Album. Adams and Hart had become national treasures and were the musical heroes that captivated the hearts of the nation.

Canadian artists responded to Bob Geldof’s work with uniting British artists to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to help relieve drought-ridden famine in Ethiopia. They came together as Northern Lights and recorded “Tears Are Not Enough”, another number one single in Canada. We’ll do a special feature on the song in a bit.

Bryan Adams and Corey Hart were not the only names in male singers that year. Scottish-born Torontonian (Lawrence) Gowan scored a #5 hit with “Criminal Mind” from his Strange Animal album (which matched the peak chart position on the album charts). Claude Dubois had a big hit with “Un Chanteur Chant“. Gino Vannelli’s “Black Cars” landed in the Top 5 and his “Huts to Be in Love” the Top 20. Composer and producer David Foster worked heavily on the St. Elmo’s Fire film and his instrumental Love Theme was a Top 10 hit. Paul Janz had his first hit, “Go to Pieces” (#29).

Outside of La Belle Province, the women were nowhere to be heard in ’85, aside from more alternative artists like the creative Jane Siberry (“One More Colour”). Luba made some headways but became a bigger name the following year. The most successful female was Martine St. Clair with her mega-hit “Ce soir l’amour est dans tes yeux”, song of the year winner at the Felix Awards and so irresistible that it was even nominated for a Juno, despite their reputation for snubbing French language music. Nicole Martin’s “Il est en nous l’amour” was nominated for a Felix.

1985 saw the emergence of some huge rock bands, the most notable of which was Platinum Blonde. “Crying over You” was a #1 hit as was their album Alien Shores. Their “Situation Critical” made the Top 10. Vancouver new wave outfit “Strange Advance” scored a minor hit as did Paul Hyde and the Payola$ and newcomers Honeymoon Suite. The latter did better with album sales than hit singles, but nevertheless, scored a Top 10 hit in 1988 with “Love Changes Everything”. Loverboy had a Top 20 hit with “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” and one-hit wonders Idle Eyes with “Tokyo Rose”, but the Parachute Club’s “At the Feet of the Moon” was the most successful, coming just shy of the Top 10. Offenbach and Madame had hits in Québec.


Corey Hart was quick to follow up his Diamond album with Fields of Fire in 1986. The first single “I Am by Your Side” peaked at #12 on the RPM charts, while his cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” topped the charts in early ’87. The year, however, belonged to Glass Tiger. Their “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” was a number one hit, the 4th biggest of the year and nabbed the Juno Award for Song of the Year. Their 4x Platinum album The Thin Red Line churned out three more hits, all of which broke into the Top 20. A third release came off of Platinum Blonde’s Alien Shores album which was a good thing because it became their only hit south of the border. The song was “Somebody Somewhere”. Honeymoon Suite released a new album—The Big Prize—which spawned two hits that did equally well. The Parachute Club and M+M scored minor hits with “Love Is Fire” and “Song in my Head” respectively. Loverboy’s song “Heaven in your Eyes”, from the Top Gun soundtrack, did moderately well.

There were some newcomers in 1986. Ottawa duo One to One scored a pair of hits from their Forward Your Emotions album. Springing from Talent Quest, Cats Can Fly’s synth-pop “Flippin’ to the ‘A’ Side” peaked at #16. Another synth ensemble—Chalk Circle—came out with “April Fool” that just squeaked into the Top 100 songs of the year. PEI’s Haywire scored with “Bad Bad Boy” and The Partland Brothers (Chris and G.P.) with “Soul City”. Nuance’s “Vivre dans la nuit” sold 70,000 copies and was nominated for Song of the Year at the Junos. Perhaps the most significant addition to 80s bands was Men Without Hats’ new wave spinoff band The Box (“L’affaire Dumoutier”).

Anne Murray crossed over into pop/rock with a comeback hit – “Now and Forever (You and Me)” and Luba became a household name with “How Many (Rivers to Cross)”. Jano Bergeron’s “Recherche” was nominated for a Felix Award. Having departed the band Corbeau, lead singer Marjo embarked on a very successful solo career and won the Félix Song of the Year with “Chats sauvages”. David Foster teamed up with English-Australian diva Olivia Newton-John in “The Best of Me”.

Je voudrais voir New York” was a hit for Daniel Lavoie. Patrick Norman had a stellar year thanks to “Quand on est en amour”. Max Webster’s lead singer Kim Mitchell scored a hit as a soloist called “Patio Lanterns”. And Red Rider’s front man began veering away from the group to lead an even more successful solo career; Tom Cochrane scored a minor hit with “Boy Inside the Man”.

Forthcoming will be a list of Canadian hit singles and albums on the RPM charts in 1985-86; an entry with mini-profiles on semi-major acts The Box, Paul Janz, Haywire, Honeymoon Suite, Luba, Kim Mitchell, Patrick Norman, and Platinum Blonde; a special feature on the making of the “Tears Are Not Enough” charity single; and separate feature profiles on major artists David Foster, Glass Tiger, Gowan, and Marjo.