Brian Chater The Best Friend a Song Ever Had

Brian Chater Cover Sept. 20.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Canadian music industry has lost one of the pillars of the business, a true champion of the artists and songwriters of his adopted country, Canada. Brian Chater will be missed and never replaced.

Brian Chater arrived from his native England in the late sixties just when the Canadian music scene was getting ready to explode into the global market. With the introduction of CanCon in 1970 the stage was set from the Canadian industry rose to bloom. And bloom it did!

Brian worked in Montreal at what was known as  Montreal’s ‘Brill Building’, referring to the building at 49th & Broadway in New York City that was the home of record companies and publishers. The Montreal building was located 1396 Ste Catherine Street West and housed Bob Hahn’s offices and Brian’s newly formed (with Alan Waters of CHUM) Much Productions. Bob Hahn was a legendary musician, producer, jingle writer ( Hygrade, Dominion Stores, DuMaurier etc.) and had his Champlain Productions offices in the building. Art Morrow another extraordinary musician, arranger and copy writer shared that office as well. And then there was Brian Chater and his gang. Bill Hill, Montreal’s go to producer at the time was on staff as was Carol Reisch, a musical maven working her magic.

Brian Chater and Michel PagliaroBrian Chater and Michel PagliaroFrom this office Brian signed Michel Pagliaro as the first Much Records act and had huge hits with ‘Lovin You Ain’t So Easy’, ‘Rainshowers’,’Some Sing Some Dance’ amongst other hits. Bill Hill found a band that he wanted to record and got the budget from Brian to do it. That band was April Wine.  Years later Bill Hill opened a recording studio, Son Montreal Sound and Mr. Chater soon had an office there and a desk directly across from Billy.  Free education for Billy  with Brian working his magic on the phones every day. Brian administered a few foreign publishers from this office including Dick James Music, the Beatles publishers.

Toronto was where Brian Chater headed next, running A&M Records publishing company Almo-Irving Music of Canada. He signed Bryan Adams to a writing deal and rescued Adams’ demo for a record deal and insisted they give it another listen, eventually signing  the future superstar to a recording deal. He signed Eddie Schwartz,  and Don Graham to songwriting contracts that year as well. Brian Chater Carole Reisch Sam (The Record Man) Sniderman Bill Hill Harry MarksBrian Chater Carole Reisch Sam (The Record Man) Sniderman Bill Hill Harry MarksHe continued to operate his own music publishing company Avenue Road Music Group, and acted as an industry consultant operating as BC Music and Consulting.

He was active for many years in the ‘business’ of music, having served on the board and committees of the Canadian Music Publishers Association and as President from 1983-1986. He also served as a long-time director of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency and acted as Chair for both the Governance and Finance Committees of the Agency.

Brian was President of the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (since renamed the Canadian Independent Music Association) for nearly 20 years from 1987 until March 2006, where he represented the interests of the Canadian owned independent recording sector at all levels and worked to ensure not just the survival, but the prosperity of the sector, through policy, regulatory and financing initiatives.

He was a Director of FACTOR for many years (the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records which has been renamed the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), a founding Director of the NRCC (Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada, since renamed Starmaker Fund and was a consultant to the CPCC (Canadian Private Copying Collective) since its inception in 1999. Brian Chater at MIDEM with Terry Flood and Donald K DonaldBrian Chater at MIDEM with Terry Flood and Donald K DonaldHe was Co-chair of the Federal Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Music Industry that reported to the Heritage Minister in 1996. He also acted as a consultant to industry collectives and wrote countless reports on the music industry for various clients. As well, he served on several policy groups advising the government on policy and music related issues. From 2004 to 2007  Brian was a Director of the Radio Starmaker Fund.

Robert Charlebois, Tom Cochrane, Brian Chater and GowanRobert Charlebois, Tom Cochrane, Brian Chater and GowanBrian Chater was one of a kind and a once in a lifetime presence in the Canadian Music business. He will be missed and never replaced but his legacy will be there for all to see.

Above all else Brian Chater loved “the song” and he was the best friend a song ever had!

Editor’s Note: A celebration of Brian Chater’s life is scheduled for Monday October 7th at the Rose and Crown, 2335 Yonge St  Toronto beginning at 7:00 p.m.