Category Archives: Music

Neil and Randy: The Winnipeggers

A few months ago I was given Shakey, a biography of Neil Young, surprisingly it took a false start and a few months to read it.  But after finishing Jimmy McDonnough’s work I knew the next book I had to read; Randy Bachman’s Tales from Beyond the Tap. The reason for this is amount of ink that Neil Young gives Randy, was it reciprical by Randy?  They are Winnipeggers, the early pioneers of rock and roll in Winnipeg (and Canada).  They made it and got away from Portage and Main.

The two books are not that different; McDonough asked Neil Young a TON of questions while also getting more about the music and life of Young by talking to many people that have been part of his life and and his music.  There are the tales of being on the road; accounts of being in the recording studio and the politics of the music industry. In Tales from Beyond the Tap, Bachman answers questions from listeners of his CBC Radio Show “Vinyl Tap”. The questions range from his life influences, tales of being on the road and his adventures in the recording studio.

What emerges from the two books are parallels in experiences in Rock and Roll.  Freindships and rvialries and many stories about the music.  The two books also reference the other Winnipegger.  In the index of Shakey, Randy Bachman is mentioned in 18 pages through Bachman directly and indirectly via The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive and Chad Allen. Unfortunately, In Tales from Beyond the Tap, there is no index to count the number of times Bachman refers to Young, whether its about recording, guitars and gizmos, touring and songwriting Bachman has great respect for Neil Young and he mentions his fellow Winnipeg rock pioneer on numerous occasions. Cleary though when reading the two books, there is a mutual respect for each other.

As songwriters, the two came about it differently; Young seems to have been writing from the moment the guitar was in his hands.  For Bachman the reality of being a serious songwriter came as a a result of a business deal offered to him and Burton Cummings by producer Jack Richardson.  Both have been prolific writers in their prime churning out great songs, while their output may have slowed,  they have not stopped challenging themselves.

Both Randy and Neil love life in the studio, they thrive on achieving a sound and for both it’s a sound that they’ve thought about before recording.  This brings with it disagreements and causes division.  In Bachman’s case 1977’s Freeways was the end of his time in BTO as he sought to bring in a different texture to the classic BTO on their 6thLp. It seems that Young has constantly been in conflict with everyone when it came to beng in the studio. He rebelled after Harvest was released as everyone wanted a Harvest 2, but more accurately no one knew what the result of Neil in the studio would be until he delivered the final master tapes.

Neil and Randy have always looked for something new, what would their next project be? For Young that often meant a new kick at the can at CSN&Y, or touring with Pearl Jam and embracing the era of grunge and the return to playing with Crazy Horse. Bachman, like Young, often went back to what was familiar; there was the Guess Who reunion tour, the Bachman-Cummings songbook and 2010’s Bachman-Turner that brought him back to the straight ahead rock of BTO with Fred Turner.

I think the best insight into these two Canadian music icons comes from an interview that Randy did with Guitar Player magazine in 2015 after the release of his Heavy Blues CD.

Geoff Kulawick, who is a friend of mine from Canada, had taken over True North Records, and was interested in signing me to a record deal if I would do something “new and exciting.” At the same time, I was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in January of 2014, and Neil Young was there, because his pedal-steel player, Ben Keith, was inducted as well. Ben had passed away, so Neil was there to accept for him. I told Neil I had a new record deal, and he said, “Great opportunity. Do yourself a favor: Don’t do the same old stuff. Get a new band, get different guitars, get a different producer. Do something scary that you’ve never done before or haven’t done in a while. Go into a strange room, challenge yourself, and see what happens.” (Full interview is available here: https://www.guitarplayer.com/players/randy-bachman-delivers-heavy-blues-with-a-power-trio)

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker &  @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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No. 3 Saville Row, London

50 years ago on January 30, 1969, the Beatles performed live for the last time.  It wasn’t a big show, but it was a big deal.  The Fab Four performed on the rooftop of No. 3 Saville Row, home of Apple Corps.  According to Tripadvisor, No. 3 Saville Row is 679th on a list of 1914 attractions in London. The Beatles performed 9 songs including 3 takes of ‘Get Back’.  On the 50th anniversary of the fab four finale it’s announced that award winning director Peter Jackson will be piecing together unseen footage of the Let it Be sessions giving generations of Beatles fans a new look at the sessions that would result in the final Lp that the Beatles would release.  There have been many articles written about the rooftop concert, the movie shows four musicians  who still had something to prove.  For there to be a new film about that time, that music, that LP and that concert its like a new Star Wars movie moment for me.

Forty one years ago, was the release of another generational last concert .  On the American Thanksgiving in 1976,  The Band hosted “The Last Waltz” a dinner and a concert for and with many of their friends at the Winterland Ballroom in San Fransisco. Conceived by Robbie Robertson the Last Waltz was not planned to be the end of the The Band, but rather like the Beatles, the end of touring.  It ended up being the end of the Band led by Robbie Robertson though.   The Band invited many of their friends to join them on stage for the farewell.  The film directed by Martin Scorsese, stands as one of the finest concert documentaries.  Five different versions of the concert, five different song line-ups.  If you’re counting, there’s the  concert song line up which differs from the film which differs from the original 1978 soundtrack version which differs from the 2002 four disc CD to finally,  the 40th anniversary edition released in 2018. which is different from all the others.  Amazingly and for whatever reason each has a different song sequence.  Perhaps Robbie Robertson can answer the question with the follow up to his book Testimony which ended after the final song of the concert.

In 1976, Neil Young performed two songs in The Last Waltz, though only those who were in the Winterland Ballroom would see Young perform ‘Four Strong Winds’, it hasn’t appeared (that I know of) on any released version of the Last Waltz.  In ’76 Young was an established artist but it was only 10 years earlier that he started making a name for himself  since arriving in California from Toronto.

Young compared his music, especially the sessions for the ‘Everybody Knows this is nowhere’ album to that of the Beatles, short and traditionally structured.  Its not the only comparison he makes to the Beatles. In the biography “Shakey” his says his time with CSN&Y is like the Beatles while performing with Crazy Horse is like the Rolling Stones.

In 2006 Young started releasing his archive series, live recordings going back to 1968.  The second archives release is his concert in Massey Hall in 1971, it went to #1 in Canada and #6 in the US.   It was a time when he was extremely creative he would release music with Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y, Crazy Horse and also released solo recordings.  The Live at Massey Hall recording is momental for a few reasons, first its recorded in Massey Hall and it captures Young just before he would have his first #1 hit, Heart of Gold. It’s this tour in 1971 that had Neil at his best.  When I first listened to the recording in 2007 I got chills.  Here was Young playing music that was new in ’71.  No one knew what would happen to it.  But as I listened I was envious that I was not there (I was only 11 at the time) to hear these incredible songs that would end up on “Harvest”.  The people that filled Massey Hall that evening had no idea that they were a part of a generational shift in music.

I can only imagine what those  people that jammed Massey Hall in 1971 thought of the music they were listening to – and then to have the chance to hear it all again 36 years later.  It gives me chills just thinking now how they would react to hear that show all over again kowing that his music that night would be as great today as it was when he played those songs befiore they were released on that in 1971.  There is a part in that show where I stand (or sit) still and just listen.  It happens as Neil has walked off the stage and the crowd starts clapping, banging seats and making noise with just about anything to bring him out for an encore.  It goes on for at least 4 minutes before Young reappears and starts into ‘I am a child’. I listen in amazement to the reaction of those at the concert when he comes back.  It gives me shivers every time.

Imagine being one of the 2,765 people that would have had the opportunity to be making that noise in Massey Hall that night to bring him back, but to hear it all again a generation later.  That’s what makes this recording worthy of being connected to The Beatles on the roof on No. 3 Saville Row and The Band in The Last Waltz in a trifecta of concerts we should not be without watching or listening to.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker&  @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

10 (New) Christmas Classics Part 1

Christmas time is back and all the great music is back with it!  Here (in two parts) I present 10 songs that should be called Christmas Classics.

Run with the Fox – Chris Squire and Alan White

Born out of the failed launch of a new band XYZ with Jimmy Page, the Yes bassist and drummer, Run with the Fox was written and recorded in 1981and released under Chris Squire/ Alan White partnership. The Boys Choir and musical arrangements including the classic Yes bass guitar sound, just ooze Christmas.  I feel lucky that I have a promo copy of the 45 from 1981 scooped up (with permission) from a radio station I was interning in that year.  Take a listen https://youtu.be/TZqRDCif7Ig

Christmas Must Be Tonight – The Band

Jimmy Nelson in Something Else called Christmas Must Be Tonight an unjustly overlooked Christmas classic, here’s the link ofthe review http://somethingelsereviews.com/2016/12/25/the-band-christmas-must-be-tonight-robbie-robertson/.  Nelson gives more history into the tune, so I’ll let his review tell the story of the sone.

Since reading Robbie Robertson’s Testimony a couple years back and diving head first into to The Band, it’s become of one my Yule faves.   The song was recently covered by another Canadian band Blue Rodeo for their Christmas offering A Merrie Christmas to You

2000 Miles – The Pretenders

For a recently written Christmas song, 2000 Miles has been covered quite a few times.  Originally written for the Pretenders late guitarist James Honeyman-Scott in 1983, 2000 Miles charted at #14 in the UK that year.  In North America it was a B-Side to the single, Middle of the Road. This year I heard for the first time the 2003 Coldplay version, which is quite stunning.  The contract between the beautifully played guitar-focused Pretenders recording the piano based Coldplay version was great for my ear to behold. From 1995, here’s a performance video of the song with a nice string arrangement by Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, https://youtu.be/OxCSo_cJ9mY

All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

What else can you say about a song that makes a Top 100 return every year since its release, but to say it is a new Christmas classic.  The song topped out at number 9 in 1994, but has made an appearance on the Billboard chart almost annually since then.  Many artists have recorded the song and a duet of the song appeared on Justin Beiber’s Christmas alum in 2011. “All I want for Christmas is You is the 11th best selling song in music history.  Love itor not, this song is here to stay, https://youtu.be/yXQViqx6GMY.

Step into Christmas – Elton John

1973 saw Elton John score another number one hit with Step into Christmas.  It was the top Billboard Christmas song of the year.  Teamed up with the B-Side Ho Ho Ho (Who’d be a Turkey for Christmas) Elton finished a successful musical year with a real Yule winner.  In ’73 it reached spot 24 on the charts and in 2017 when it was re-released it almost hit the top 10, stalling at #11.  The song was written and recorded as a tribute the Phil Spector recordings of the 60’s.  in 2009, Step into Christmas as the ninth most played Christmas song in the UK and has received a  UK silver disc for sales. In the video https://youtu.be/QWMqfKjJoKc you see Bernie Taupin make a rare appearance with the band ‘playing’ the chimes and shaking bells.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My Best of 2017: Music

The end is coming, the end of 2017.   With it comes the best of what I have come across in 2017; the best of book; the best of my blog posts and today the best of music I have listened to.  What follows are some of the best discs of the year, according to my ears.

Michelle Branch – Hopeless Romantic

Hopeless RomanticThis is my album of the year!

From the opening refrain of ‘Best You Ever’ Hopeless Romantic signals the return of Michelle Branch. Her song writing has matured, the stronger songs are a result of years of collaborations while trying to come up with material her record company would stand behind.

Her sound has filled out and her vocals reflect the sensitivity of the material filled with the fragile emotion of a break up, ‘Fault Line’ is a great example of this. However when she breaks out the acoustic it is solid.

It was so good when it came out in April; Hopeless Romantic has not diminished at all in the past year. What was a summer album; Hopeless Romantic is a permanent go to for a good listen.

You can read my post on the return of Michelle Branch here: The Return of Michelle Branch

Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

IMG_20170601_1205497Okay, so it’s not new but it is still relevant. The 50th Anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper was like the return of an old friend. We all know the music, but the re-issue brought back the lore and history and my love of not only this Lp, but the entire Beatles catalogue (something that still baffles Liz).

George Martin oversaw the original and the 25th Anniversary remixes, for #SgtPepper50, Martin’s son Giles was in charge of the mixes, which produced a new stereo mix from the original mono masters. I still have yet to take the shrink-wrap off the double vinyl package, though I have heard that as good as the new mixes sound on CD, the vinyl is even better. It may only be a matter of time before the wrap comes off and I get see all the extras that first appeared in June 1967.

My post on #SgtPepper50 is here: Sgt Pepper at 50

Ryan Adams – Prisoner

Ryan Adams PrisonerPrisoner follows the release of a complete remake song by song of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Creatively, Prisoner is Adams’ most complete work of music on one disc since his work with The Cardinals. For whatever reason, Adams’ creativity and energy towards his music has been incredible. Prisoner captures that energy as has the tour he embarked on through 2017.

Prisoner swings from rock, to country folk and back, his voice lends to being able to commit to any style wants.  His musicianship shines throughout this disc; he loves his guitars and different sounds he gets from the many he owns. It brings diversity not on many discs.

It’s not too late to catch on to Prisoner and a masterpiece from Ryan Adams.

Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie – Buckingham/McVie

BuckinghamWhat drove the musical dynasty that propelled Fleetwood Mac in the ‘70’s, still has a presence 40 years later. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie put together a good collection of songs, contributing their own and collaborating on other songs.

Fleetwood Mac fans; this is a something for you. It can be called, though it wasn’t, a reunion album for the band with everyone from “the Mac” performing with the exception of Stevie Nicks. Listening to this album took me back to 1975’s Fleetwood Mac Lp, the beginning of a good run of discs.

Ruth B – Safe Haven

Safe HavenIt took me forever to learn that it was Ruth B behind the song ‘Lost Boy’, only after seeing her perform the song at the Juno Awards did it click just how good the song was. On that performance I went and purchased the EP “the Intro”, then “Safe Haven came out. Ruth B has an amazing voice and just might be the soul/r&b singer that Canada has been waiting for. In fact the comparisons to Alicia Keys are very much warranted.

Through Safe Haven, Ruth B surprises and presents a sound that may have been in the works for years. It is a maturity that could be equal to, yes – Alicia Keys. With key tracks like ‘Dandelions’, ‘World war 3’, ‘First Love’ and ‘Superficial Love’ make Safe Haven a Summer Album for me.

Ed Sheeran – Divide

DivideAlong with Michelle Branch, Divide has been playing all year for me. It is refreshing to hear this modern troubadour consistently bring great music. Divide is a gift that keeps on giving hit singles. Divide started with ‘Shape of you’, ‘Castle on the Hill’, ‘Galway Girl’ and now a Christmas Number 1 on Billboard this week with the wonderful ‘Perfect’. Haven’t caught on to Divide? It’s not too late.

 

Up Next: My Best of 2017 Blog Posts

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

Book Review: Lightfoot by Nicholas Jennings

 

LightfootI think I have spoiled myself. I have set a high bar for biographies after reading books on the lives of Keith Richards, Paul McCartney and the Beatles, Robbie Robertson among others. I have written on this blog before the effect reading a great biography has on me. I end up spending days and weeks listening to the music of the book’s subject buying the music I am reading about. This has happened after reading about Led Zeppelin (When Giants Walked the Earth) and Joni Mitchell (The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell even though the book was just okay) where I added CD’s from each of these artists and more. I would say that reading about the music maker is my greatest motive for adding to my music library.

Written on the Inside front flap of the cover of the book is “…Jennings (the author) had unlimited access to the reticent musician. Lightfoot takes us deep inside the artist’s world…” Note that Lightfoot is italicized; my perception was that Gordon Lightfoot himself was going to bring readers and his fans into his world, something that Lightfoot has protected tightly.

Make no mistake, Lightfoot is the most comprehensive book written about Canada’s original folk singer-songwriter troubadour. Jennings provides a view into the life of Lightfoot. There is just enough of Lightfoot in the book to know that Jennings had spent significant time with him. The early years in Orillia are very well documented and give us a look into the musical talent that Lightfoot’s mother stimulated and encouraged from kitchen table concerts to Church services to public performances and winning talent shows.

There are multiple voices heard throughout the book, wives, girlfriends, business partners and artists that Lightfoot has played and written with, including Bob Dylan. The most interesting chapters of the book involved the early years finding his voice in a sea of other performers, touring and recording. Sadly a lot of what is written in this period comes from those around him. There is just enough from Gordon himself to add credibility of the “unlimited access” talked about on the inside flap.

What is lacking is more of Gordon Lightfoot. The early years could have used more of his take on the music and performing and collaborations and his take on his success, or why it was taking so long. Lightfoot’s music is his legacy; we are familiar with it and long to know more about it. Lightfoot could have used some focus; perhaps leading to ending the book in the lead up to 1976 and the success of that years surprise hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. Without that focus, Lightfoot seems needlessly stretched to include GL’s sporadic recording since after the 2002 hospitalization and the near death experience following a collapse before a hometown concert in Orillia.

If Jennings had been able to extract more from Lightfoot, there might a reason to write about Lightfoot’s music past 1980, without it the book struggles to keep its audience.

The true test of course to the success of Lightfoot is whether or not I spent a significant amount of time listening to Gordon Lightfoot’s music. I didn’t. There was nothing to spur me on to listen back and hear in the music what Lightfoot was thinking or feeling at any particular time during his best creative years.

Lightfoot’s fans will enjoy the book, but it is best to limit expectations. Lightfoot himself doesn’t have the voice that was promised; if he had, there would’ve been a depth I’ve found other books of the same genre.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

What I learned from the Hip

Hip 1I am just an average Tragically Hip fan, I have never experienced the band live.  I am probably more of an admirer than what people would call a true fan, I bought the CD’s created the iPod playlist and chose to learn to play Ahead by a Century on my new guitarI can’t say that I remember how to play it today if I took the guitar out of its case. I consider the Hip to be the new Guess Who, who I grew up listening to with songs of Canadiana. You can’t forget about Running back to Saskatoon; Share the Land, Albert Flasher and of course American Woman. So back we go to about 15 years after the Guess Who and here come the Tragically Hip, 5 kids from Kingston who before we knew it started telling us more about Canada and taught us and reminded us about a nation we weren’t aware of.

The Hip opened up the stories of Canada through their songs. There is the cottage anthem of Bobcageon, the Maple Leaf anthem of Stanley Cup angst 50 Mission Cap and the vastness of the west that include the Paris of Prairies. Like the Guess Who and Gordon Lightfoot their music the Hip created a pride in Canada through their music.

As the word of the Hip spread so did their celebration of not only Canada, but also of whom they were – they were us – you and I. We were and are students of the Hip. The first lesson is that we are all equal. They were equals among themselves and because of that they survived. The Tragically Hip was able to stay together for 30 plus years because they didn’t break up.  The Hip battled through the difficult times.  Simple to say, but harder to do. Image five brothers that stay together for 30 years. In a typical family there is always an oldest brother, a youngest brother and a middle brother. Could the five brothers stay together with those dynamics in place?

Equality created the staying power of the Hip and only when it was clear that the limits of time were ending did Gord Downie seek to create equality for those that had it taken from them. Their music brought Canadians together, around a campfire, the small concert halls and during the #ManMachinePoem Farewell Tour where thousands gathered in public squares, parks, bars and living rooms to watch the Farewell show from Kingston.

From the Hip we learn again, learn to seek our purpose, large or small while there is
time and we work on our purpose until there is no more time. Their music will live on like other bands, dare I say it, as The Beatles, the universal presence of their music will grow and their appeal will continue to expand.   Because there isn’t going to be new music their musical legacy will outlast many others because of the popularity and the connections the Tragically Hip made with Canadians in every bar and on every concert stage they played on. We loved and embraced their music “Fully Completely”.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

Cancon: The making of MAPL music

RHBS184The recent death of Lighthouse founder Skip Prokop highlighted not only his musical prowess with the success he had with hits “Pretty Lady”, “Hats off to the Stranger” and “One Fine Morning”, but he also politically provided key testimony during the initial phases of Canadian content in Canadian radio.*

In his obituary posted in the Globe and Mail (September 8, 2017) Prokop appeared at CRTC hearings in 1970 stating “…in part the kids who are recording will start getting hit records. Then Canadian kids will start paying a certain amount of money to go and see them in concert. This creates the beginning of an industry – you start creating stars within your own country. This is something that Canada has never really had.”

Did his words strike true? Has the introduction of cancon developed the Canadian music industry? Would we have fewer Canadian musical artists cracking the US Charts if cancon had not come into being? If the government had not instituted the Canadian content rules would we have April Wine, Streetheart, Prism and others that may have had a small ripple in the United States but mainly have had successful Canadian careers? Concentrating on the first two decades of cancon, who would not have been here? Who should we thank cancon for, for having some artists in our record collections, mixed tapes and digital music play lists?

Knowingly I have not included names like Bryan Adams, Rush, The Guess Who/BTO, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot. These successful careers were based on influences that were are entirely due to the introduction of cancon rules. The longevity of their careers has guaranteed their music stays out of the “Canadian” bins due to international sales and tours.

RHBS184 1The MAPL system of identifying Canadian content was established by the CRTC in 1971. The MAPL designation identified the Music, Artist, Performance and Lyrics as being solely Canadian. To be a cancon selection two of the MAPL categories had to be of Canadian origin.

The initial success of Lighthouse was borne before cancon rules were in place, though the rules certainly may have extended their radio success. What about other bands, that as Canadians we love, but won’t be more than a passing interest to Americans?

Without prejudice I wonder what the fate would’ve been for the following Canadian musicians/bands if cancon had not been mandated. These bands all had fabulous success in Canada (I have most of these discs in vinyl). Below are just a few cancon era bands I personally love to hear in my playlist.

The 5 Man Electrical Band made more money when Signs was covered by Tesla in 1990 than they did in 1971 under their own name. An Ottawa based band they had other memorable songs including Werewolf and Absolutely Right.  With three big hits they have every right to play the reunion fall fair concert circuit.

The Stampeders had 16 singles charting in Canada from 1971 to 1976, they had but four songs crack the US.   Cancon has been good to The Stampeders. How else do you explain never cracking the top 10 in 7 years and maintaining a solid fans base today while continuing to hear Carry Me, Sweet City Woman and Hit the Road Jack in rotation at Canadian oldies radio stations?

I have nothing but smiles for the music of Michel Pagliaro. He was HUGE in Quebec starting in 1968 but for the rest of Canada it’s songs like Rainshowers and What the Hell I Got, which scored big for Pagliaro in English Canada and cancon gold.

It was the 80’s classic My Girl (Gone Gone Gone) from Chilliwack that made it big in the US but in the early cancon days Chilliwack sustained their career with songs like Lonesome Mary, California Girl , Fly at Night (not to be confused with Rush’s hit Fly by Night) that sustained the band via cancon.

Born from a cancon homegrown music contest, there is no better band than Honeymoon Suite to represents the success of Toronto’s Q107 radio contest. Honeymoon Suite won that contest with the hit New Girl Now. The band scored 6 Top 40 songs in Canada and 2 Top 40 hits in the US.   Without cancon rules and Canadian radio looking for new talent to play it is hard to know just where Honeymoon Suite would be.

With 19 singles released in Canada between the years 1977-1981, Prism is a cancon success. I’m surprised to see their lead single Spaceship Superstar only charted as high as 63 in Canada in 1977. I thought it was a fabulous song! In four years Prism charted 10 times in Canada and 5 times in the US. Prism’s success is cancon-centric, something to be proud of with 5 well received albums by Canadian rock and pop music lovers.

In an odd cancon twist of success, Saga scored big with 5 LP’s from 1980 to 87, but is a European twist; Saga has charted albums in Germany since 1981’s Worlds Apart. Saga soared with a top 3 hit in Canada and Top 30 in the US with On the Loose in 1981. With initial success in Canada the band has succeeded to continue to see success and to tour consistently. As a nod to their German fans Saga has released three CD/DVD concerts sets recorded in Bonn and Munich since 2004.

Canada has shown a real love for its homegrown bands. Whether it was cancon that created the environment for the love, Skip Prokop was prophetic when he appeared at the CRTC hearing back in 1970, “(cancon) creates the beginning of an industry – you start creating stars within your own country.”

*The CRTC mandated that 35% of music played on Canadian music must be considered Canadian content.  2 of the 4 categories of the MAPL pie must be either composed, written or performed by a Canadian to meet content.  Classical radio stations and Windsor ON stations had reduced content regulations.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net