Joey Cee Celebrates 50 Years in the Music Biz

Joey Cee Cashbox Cover January 18.jpg

Submitted by Sandy Graham

Photo Credits: Tracey Savein – South Paw Productions

Industry icon Joey Cee has had many incarnations in his long career in the Canadian music scene. Singer/songwriter, producer, publisher, writer, editor, event producer. Cee is the epitome of the word Entrepreneur with a capitol ‘E’.

Recently music friends gathered to celebrate with ‘the man’ at The Orbit Room in downtown Toronto, with standing room only and smiles all around.

‘I began my career about a block away from here. It was an after school dance that started at 4 p.m. and it cost 35 cents to get in. That is why I thought it would be great to do the same here at the Orbit Room fifty years later. Still at 4 pm, still 35 cents to get in. It was great to have David Alexander in the room whom I hadn’t seen for close to 30 years. He and I did the after school dance together as Joey and The Professor) It is also fitting the Orbit Room is owned by both Alex Lifeson (Rush) and Tim Notter, also an alumni employee of Record Week.”

Always a stickler for details, Joey made sure his friends were well fed, with 50’s themed offerings that included brown paper bags filled with French fries and mini hot dogs in buns, topping things off with cookies adorned with musical notes. And of course, the champagne was flowing along with a list a mile long of industry veterans there to honour Joey Cee.

Helen Bolat Joey and Lido ChilelliHelen Bolat Joey and Lido ChilelliThe list of people who worked at Record Week reads like a Who’s Who in the business; David Farrell, Kirk Lapointe, Cathie Faint, Nancy Oldman and Marty  Melhuish, another writer who sent along best wishes. “They say you should always surround yourself with people who are optimistic, enthusiastic and enjoy a good laugh even when funny is not on the menu. Joey Cee is a poster boy for all of those qualities. They were to the benefit of those who worked with him over the years and I proudly count myself in that select group.  In a broader sense, that gung-ho spirit of his has greatly benefited the Canadian music industry of which he has been a tireless promoter over the past 50 years.  I recall the days of Record Week, Record Month and Music Canada Quarterly and the time spent at the office over there in Cabbagetown with great fondness. That was but a chapter in your long career and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. To my mind, far too little has been made of your contributions to the cause of Canadian music and entertainment over the years. It’s nice to see the spotlight directed Joey’s way for a while on this milestone occasion.”

Jamyz Bee and JoeyJamyz Bee and JoeyAnother music icon, Bobby Curtola could not attend so sent along his wishes. “ To a true champion in the Canadian Entertainment industry. Joey you have done it all seen it all and are still contributing in a major way with all your knowledge and experience. From the bottom of my heart a huge big congratulations for your many achievements – you have truly left your mark. We were there!”

Andy Kim, another treasure from our Canadian rock n roll history books also sent along best wishes, “When you are one of a kind, 50 years living your passion seems almost an easy task... But Joey was never meant to take the easy road nor will 50 years be enough...Here’s to the next 50 years.”

Many Facebook messages rolled in for Joey as well, “Congratulations Joey after 50 years you’re still going strong!” – Gene Lew. ‘It was a pleasure to grow and enjoy those vinyl days with a pro!” – Nick Panasiko. “I am sorry I wasn’t there to shake your hand and give you a kiss on the cheek. Wishing you HUGE congratulations on all you have done.” David Marsden. “Congrats on all your achievements over the years, you look great ! We still have many of your magazines, articles and clippings covering the Canadian music scene – Good work!” – Frank Troiano.

Joanne Smale and Patti JanettaJoanne Smale and Patti JannettaArnold Gosewich also sent along his best wishes, “I always enjoyed our relationship professionally and just in casual conversation. I have wonderful memories of my years in the music biz and still count a number of people from it as my friends to this day, I am sure you have many of them as well.I hope the years have been good to you and wish you only the very, very best for those ahead.”

Mel Shaw, Founding President of CARAS, had this to say, “When we arrived in Toronto in 1966 one of the influential music industry personalities we met the first week was Joey Cee. He was presenting Toronto rock groups in a show for his publication called "Keeping Track" at the CNE.The following year he was the Music Director of CKFH. Throughout his career Joey as always been a major force for music in Canada.  Through the years he had many ideas..that worked to the benefit of all. Joey went on to  publish a weekly tradepaper, RECORD WEEK, a full colour magazine,MUSIC CANADA QUARTERLY  and and later he published the HOT TORONTO MAGAZINE, still running to this day. He is a record producer, entrepreneur and someone who has touched a great many careers through his  five  decades in the Canadian music industry and best of all for 47 years Joey Cee has been a great friend to Fran and me and  we cherish that friendship.”

Joey and PattiJoey and PattiAs an owner here at Cashbox Canada, I too must give Joey Cee credit for introducing me to the world of publishing. In 1977, Joey came to Montreal, where I had worked in radio and records both at CJFM, CFCF and RCA Records (now BMG)  and convinced me that I was capable of being the Editor of Record Week in Toronto. Within weeks, he had moved me from Montreal to Toronto, and the day I started was the day Elvis died. Please remember convincing a Montrealer to move to TO was a feat on it’s own, but taking a very young, untrained person and putting me in the driver’s seat, with obviously other more experienced folks than myself was unheard of; but Joey is one of those people that has the uncanny knack of knowing what someone’s talent and potential and giving those people a shot. I probably would not be doing what I do now without that training from the Joey Cee.

Joey, Congratulations on 50 years in the music industry ! Like the movie, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, I don’t think you realize how many lives you have touched and changed. Thank you for a wonderful night of celebration and thank you for all you have done for the music industry.  We are all the better for it.

More Photos at http://www.cashboxcanada.ca/image-galleries/photo-gallery-joey-cee-party-photo-credits-tracey-savein

Joey Cee and Barry RodenJoey Cee and Barry Roden

Tim Notter and JoeyTim Notter and Joey