A new series of posts based on classic Canadian artists. In the early years of rock and roll, we in Canada had government regulated rules for Canadian content on the airwaves. This created a cottage industry for Canadian bands to create and record as radio stations had to put something on the air, and even though American Woman by the Guess Who is a great song (and fairly long), you couldn’t play it 15 times a day. The upside is that the rules did kick-start an entire stable of artists, which inspired more and more artists until it was no longer necessary to regulate the content. Think current artists such as Arcade Fire, Feist, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne and even Justin Bieber. There is a possibility that none of these people would have made it without this intervention. We also have a catalogue of great songs that the rest of the world has not heard, which is kind of cool.
The artists that I have chosen to kick off this series with is “April Wine“. A band out of Montreal, formed in 1969 and still touring and still recording. In their heyday they were legendary for their live shows. Frontman Myles Goodwin has been the force behind the band from the beginning and has been the constant since day 1. He handled most of the vocals and played guitars in every incarnation of the band. Other long time members were Jim Clench on bass, Brian Greenway on guitars and vocals and Jerry Mercer on drums. In their career they recorded 16 studio albums (Electric Jewels is my favourite), had 15 compilations and 9 live albums. The most famous live one is Live at the El Mocambo. They opened for a band on that night called the Cockroaches, who in fact were the Rolling Stones.
Despite have 21 top 40 hits in Canada, they had limited success elsewhere. In the USA they had 3 top 40’s and 7 total that charted. In the UK only 2 songs reached the charts with none breaking into the top 40. Truly a Canadian phenomenon. The video is I Like To Rock, which charted in all 3 countries, hitting 86 in the USA, 41 in the UK and only hit 75 in Canada. This is the official video of the song, released in 1980.
- Listening to Canadians – Ash Koley (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
- Listening to Canadians – Royal Wood (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
- Classic rock bands: Out of the bargain bin and onto the stage (theglobeandmail.com)