Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ray Lyell

A Canadian musician and songwriter from Hamilton. Ray became popular in the late 1980's with his band The Storm. Ray Lyell and The Storm released their first album in 1989 and scored a Top Ten hit with the song Another Man's Gun. Their second single Carry Me, was a Top 40 hit. In 1990, Ray was nominated for a Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist. 1992 saw Ray Lyell in a legal conflict in the U.S. and he was forced to sell the rights to the name "The Storm". Ray's next album was called Desert Winds but was released under his own name even though he still performed with "The Storm". The first single from the album was Gypsy Wind. In 1996, Ray studied and became a vocal coach which he continues to do today, as well as teach, write and record from his studio, Rayne Records. He is a great singer and one of my favourite performers. I think he should of got a lot more recognition.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Geddy Lee!!

Today is Geddy Lee's birthday. The front man and bass player extraordinaire for Rush is 57. Holy crap I didn't realize he was that age. Anyway, Happy Birthday Geddy!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boys Brigade

Formed in 1981 in Toronto where they began as a pick-up act doing speak easies and underground clubs before debuting on Queen Street. Early exposure with their song "Mannequin" on Q107's annual Homegrown contest/album led to exposure on Toronto radio.

Toronto band Rush's light designer, Howard Ungerleider, took the band on as manager thereby putting them in direct contact with Rush's label, Anthem. Rush bassist, Geddy Lee, took an interest in the band and subsequently produced their debut album in 1983. The album spawned two hit singles "Melody" and "The Passion Of Love".

Critics predicted a long life, but the band's size (6 members), and personal conflicts led to the band's demise.Lead vocalist Malcolm Burn would go on to a critically acclaimed solo career and would become a world famous engineer and producer in his own right originally under the tutelage of Daniel Lanois.

Eye Eye

Andy Ryan and Bill Wood were originally in a Toronto band called "The Oh Nos" and after it split, Wood joined Billy Club while Ryan hooked up with Caporal as Eye Eye in 1983 as a duo. After record companies started showing interest in their tunes, Eye Eye added Bell on vocals and Ruston to form a legitimate band.

They won the annual Q107 Homegrown contest in 1984. Coincidently Bill Wood's band Billy Club were also finalists in the same contest. First prize was a record deal, but with the financial difficulties of the label in question suspect, the group steered clear of any long term commitments.

They were also finalists in the 1985 CBC 'Rock Wars' and a 3rd place finish (out of 632 bands) in the 1985 'National Rock Express/Much Music Talent Search'. All of this exposure gave the band some clout and so they were able to convince Terry Brown to record a 6 song demo at Scarborough's Certain Circles Studio. The demo attracted several major labels to their door. But when Bell quit the band the offers were withdrawn. The group then brought in Wood and were still able to salvage a record deal with Toronto indie label Duke Street Records who signed Eye Eye in late 1985.

The release of their debut album, 'Just In Time To Be Late', managed two hit singles "Out On A Limb" and "X-Ray Eyes" despite Duke Street's misplaced marketing strategy.

Skylark featuring David Foster

Skylark was a pop/rock band mainly active from 1971-1973 based in the Vancouver area. They were originally one Ronnie Hawkins' backup bands and they signed a contract with Capitol Records. Skylark released a self-titled album in 1972 which had 3 singles. The group, had among it's members, David Foster, who would later become a famous producer working with such famous acts as Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers, Earth Wind & Fire, Barbara Striesand, Bryan Adams, Madonna, Michael and Janet Jackson and many others. Skylark's biggest single, was the song "Wildflower", which was a number one hit in Canada, and reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. The group disbanded after it's second album because of lukewarm reception. The female singer is B.J. Cook who was David Foster's first wife. It seems like from their videos, they were a pretty talented band. They do a pretty good version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock".

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Trans X

I had no idea this was a Canadian artist. I remember this song from high school dances. I can't believe this song came out in 1981. Trans-X was started by Canadian musician Pascal Languirand, previously famous for his albums in the Ambient, Cosmic and Space music genres. He later recruited Montreal native Laurie Ann Gill as the second half of the Trans-X duo. Laurie can be seen in the early videos where she performed backing vocals for Synthpop group Nudimension. When their first song "Living on Video" was released it was an instant hit not only in Canada but also worldwide. The single sold 2 million copies and reached British and European Top ten charts.

Monday, July 5, 2010

William Shatner

Yes, he's an actor. Born in Montreal in 1931. Yep, he's Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker, and numerous other characters. My favourite is the terrified passenger from The Twilight Zone episode, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". Yes, these clips are weird, and makes you say, "WTF?" But, I thought I would post them here. Here are the "musical stylings" of Bill Shatner. Have a laugh and enjoy!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pukka Orchestra

A Canadian New Wave band formed in Toronto in 1979. They became fixtures in Toronto's Queen St. West music scene and their debut came out in 1984. They had chart hits with "Cherry Beach Express", which is the maybe fictional account of a codename the Metro Toronto Police used of where they used to take their detainees to a deserted waterfront site in Toronto. And allegedly beat them up. They also had hits with "Might as Well be on Mars" and "Listen to the Radio". The core of the band consisted of vocalist Graeme Williamson and guitarists Neil Chapman and Tony Duggan-Smith, although the band made frequent use of guest musicians. Following the album, Williamson developed kidney problems and moved to Scotland. The band recorded a four-song EP in 1987. However, in the midst of recording their second full-length album in 1988, the band broke up. In 1992, Pukka Orchestra released their final album Dear Harry, consisting of three tracks from the 1987 EP, and several other tracks from the abortive 1988 sessions. The first Pukka Orchestra album was reissued in CD format in 2000.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Domenic Troiano

Five years ago today we lost a great Canadian guitarist and musician Domenic Troiano. He was a member of the James Gang, the Guess Who and had his own solo career. His biggest hit was "We All Need Love".
From the 1980's on, he mainly concentrated on helping others with their music, as a musician and a producer, instead of his own career.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Leonard Cohen

Singer, songwriter, poet, novelist and musician. A wonderful storyteller and a very cool person. I wish I knew more about his work. Something to explore I guess. Enjoy the video.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Great Team-Ups Part 2... Jeff Healey and Colin James

Another fantastic performance from 2 of Canada's best guitarists

Great Team-Ups Part 1...Bruce Cockburn and Rik Emmett

Two fantastic Canadian Musicians, Rik Emmett from Triumph and Bruce Cockburn(pronounced CO-BURN)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas, born in Hamilton Ontario is a musician, songwriter and author. He is also the younger brother of SCTV's Dave Thomas. He is most known for his only US Top 40 hit, Painted Ladies. But he also wrote and performed such great songs as "The Runner" which was covered by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, "Hold On" which was also covered by Santanna, "Right Before Your Eyes" which was also performed by the group America. His songs have also been performed by Chicago and Bette Midler. Ian wrote lots of great songs that should have been hits such as "Pilot", "Liars", "Coming Home", "Time is the Keeper" and "Levity". He is a great songwriter and musician, and he was also blessed with the comedy gene. Watching some of his live clips, he is one of the funniest people ever. Enjoy the clip.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Joni Mitchell

Just going to let the music speak for itself. I couldn't begin to say enough wonderful things about her.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


A Canadian band from Vancouver, BC. They were mainly active from 1977 to 1984.

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot was born in 1938 in Orillia, Ontario. He is a Canadian singer and songwriter who has achieved international success in folk, country, and popular music.

Gordon Lightfoot's music career has spanned more than 40 years, producing more than 200 recordings. He helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s, influencing many major recording artists. He is a true international star, a Canadian treasure and believe it or not, one of my favorite singers. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2003 and is still touring and recording .

Sunday, January 17, 2010



I can't stand these guys, so I'm not going to write anything about them. Because they are Canadian, I have to acknowledge the fact. But that's as far as it goes. If I post this now, it saves me from doing it later. This is the only song I can tolerate.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Let's hear it for the girls...Amanda and Alanis

Amanda Marshall is a Toronto born singer. She studied music extensively during her childhood, including at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. While performing in Toronto she met Jeff Healey who was taken with her powerful voice, and he took her on tour with him. In 1991, Amanda was offered a record deal with Columbia Records, but chose to wait a few years to release her debut album. Then, in 1995 she signed with Epic Records and released her debut album "Amanda Marshall" which was a major success in Canada. It generated lots of airplay and had six singles. She has since released 2 more albums and 3 greatest hits compilations. As of 2009, she is back in the studio planning for a new album release in 2010 along with a tour. She is one of my favourite singers and she has such a huge powerhouse voice. She is one very talented lady, and I'm proud to say she is Canadian.

I have to admit, at the outset, I wasn't much of a fan of Alanis Morissette. I couldn't stand her screeching vocals, and the angst filled lyrics. But, over the course of time, I have begun to appreciate her music, and even like many of her songs now. Alanis was born in Ottawa, Ontario and released her debut album in 1991, featuring songs she co-written with the producer. The first single, "Too Hot" reached top 20 status and following singles reached the top 40. Morissette's popularity, style of music and appearance, particularly that of her hair, led her to become known as the Debbie Gibson of Canada, and comparisons to contemporary singer, Tiffany, were also made. In 1993, Alanis began making trips to Los Angeles, to find different producers and musicians to work with. She recorded "Jagged Little Pill" and the album was only expected to sell well enough to make a follow up album. But the situation quickly changed when "You Oughta Know" started getting massive airplay.
In a Rolling Stone interview she revealed that she was going to spend 2006 working on a memoir. She said of her book, "it will be all the wisdom I've accrued in the thirty-one years of my life . A lot about relationships, fame, travel, body-image issues, spirit — with a lot of self-deprecating humor peppered throughout, 'cause I just can't help it". As of May 2008, Morissette was halfway through writing this memoir that will focus on women's issues. It will have chapters on sexuality, beauty, relationships and work and was partially inspired by young women who regularly come up to her and tell her their stories of personal pain.
All of her successes since "Jagged Little Pill" are too numerous to go into here, but she is a unique singer and individual and I quite enjoy her music now that I have "matured". Here is a great video of her performing "Eight Easy Steps". She sure knows how to Rock!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jeff Healey

What can I say about Jeff Healey that hasn't been already written? A monstrous talent, Jeff was born in Toronto in 1966 and he lost his vision when he was an infant to retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer. The eyes had to be surgically removed, and he was given artificial replacements. Jeff began playing guitar when he was three, developing his unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap. When he was 17, he formed the band Blue Direction, a four-piece band which primarily played bar-band cover tunes. His first album, was called "See The Light", was spawned the single "Angel Eyes" and "Confidence Man". Jeff, and the Jeff Healey Band also had a major role in the Patrick Swayze movie "Roadhouse". By the year 2000, Jeff had grown weary of the rock world and decided to turn his talents toward his real love, jazz. He performed with his new band, The Jazz Wizards often playing the trumpet. He also hosted his own radio program on CBC radio called My Kind of Jazz, and often featured records from his over 30,000 piece record collection. Over the years, Jeff toured with and sat in with many legendary stars such as Eric Clapton, BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others.
In March 2008, Jeff died of cancer in Toronto. His death came a month before the release of his new album, Mess of Blues, his first rock/blues album in 6 years, and just weeks before his birthday on March 26. He was 41 years old. I miss his music very much, and his death was a huge loss for the music world. RIP Jeff. These videos are some of my favourites.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Foot in Coldwater

A Foot in Coldwater is a Canadian rock band initially composed of Alex Machin (vocals), Bob Horne (keyboard), Paul Naumann (guitar), Danny Taylor (drums), and Hughie Leggat (bass and vocals). It is best known for the song "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want" which was a Canadian hit single in 1972 and again in 1975. They were formed in Toronto in 1971.The band's first album, A Foot in Coldwater, was released in 1972 with their first single "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want" reaching top 25 in the Canadian charts. In 1973, they released their second album The Second Foot in Coldwater which included moderately successful singles "(Isn’t Love Unkind) In My Life" (#34) and "Love is Coming" (#27). In 1974, the band released a third album, All Around Us, which included a shorter version of "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want" which again made the Canadian singles chart.

The band released one more single, "Midnight Lady" before their record company filed for bankruptcy in 1975, leaving them without a label. Horne left the group and the remaining members recorded a single, "Breaking Through" for Anthem in 1977, but it was not a success and the group disbanded. They reformed in 1988 for a series of short tours, and the Canadian band "Helix" later covered "Make Me Do Anything You Want" also scoring with a hit.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Diamonds

The Diamonds were a Canadian quartet of the 1950s and early 1960s who rose to fame performing mostly cover versions of songs by black musicians. The original members were: Dave Somerville - Lead, Ted Kowalski - Tenor, Phil Levitt - Baritone, and Bill Reed - Bass. In 1953, Dave Somerville was working as a sound engineer at CBC studios in Toronto. One of the shows he produced was called "Pick the Stars" which was a local talent show. He noticed four men rehearsing for the show in the hallway, and being impressed with them, offered to be their manger. Their big break came with an audition in Cleveland, Ohio. The Diamonds were signed to a recording contract with Mercury Records, who at that time, along with other record companies, were signing white artists to cover recordings of black artists for the purpose of expanding their listening audience. At this time, black artists were not played on white radio stations. The Diamonds’ first recording for Mercury was "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," a cover of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers’s version, which reached #12 in the U.S.
The Diamonds' biggest hits were 1957's "Little Darlin'" and 1958's "The Stroll" which was written for them following an idea by Dick Clark to create a new dance. The group disbanded in 1961, and then reunited in various forms over the years with different members and lead singers. The original members reunited in 2000 for a PBS television special, and original member Bill Reed died in 2004.