Proudly Canadian: Chilliwack

Chilliwack.jpg

Submitted by Sandy Graham

Chilliwack were a Canadian rock band that had their heyday during the 1970s and 1980s. They are perhaps best remembered for their five biggest songs "My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)", "I Believe", "Whatcha Gonna Do", "Fly At Night" and "Lonesome Mary". The band's lineup has changed numerous times, though Bill Henderson has constantly remained a fixture, and Chilliwack continue to tour across Canada.

The band initially formed as the Classics (1964) in Vancouver, British Columbia, but later changed the name to The Collectors (1966). Their psychedelic self-titled debut album yielded the minor hit "Lydia Purple".[3] Their second album was based on the musical score written by the band for a stage play by Canadian playwright George Ryga, Grass and Wild Strawberries.

Chilliwack effectively began with the departure of vocalist Howie Vickers from the Collectors in 1969; however, the band didn't change their name until 1970, to Chilliwack, a Salish term meaning "going back up" and the name of a city east of Vancouver in the Fraser River valley. With lead guitarist Bill Henderson now providing most of the vocals and doing most of the composing, the band released several records that were moderately successful in Canada. Hit singles in Canada included "Lonesome Mary", "Crazy Talk" and "Fly at Night". The album track "Rain-o", a blues-based composition that appeared in different versions on the Chilliwack debut album and the later Dreams, Dreams, Dreams, was a well-known concert favourite.

Their album 'Riding High' on Goldfish Records (Terry Jacks' Label) contained one of their biggest hits, Crazy Talk which was produced by Terry Jacks.

However, Chilliwack had a difficult time sustaining any success because of their constant label changes. The two Collectors albums were on Warner Brothers, and Chilliwack's first five albums were on four different labels in Canada: Parrot, A&M, Goldfish, and Casino Records. When the band finally found relative stability and success with Vancouver's Mushroom Records, with distribution throughout North America, the label went bankrupt so abruptly in 1979 that Chilliwack's third album for the label, Breakdown in Paradise, was barely released. The demise of Mushroom Records was sadly connected to the death of whiz kid, Shelly Siegel, who co-founded the label and brought the band Heart to the table with their first hit album, Dreamboat Annie.

Dreams Dreams Dreams ChilliwackDreams Dreams Dreams ChilliwackIn 1978, Brian MacLeod (guitar, drums, keyboards) joined the band for the Lights from the Valley album, and Ab Bryant (bass) joined the band for Breakdown in Paradise, with the other members except for Henderson departing. Chilliwack then signed with Solid Gold Records in Canada and Millennium Records in the U.S. as a trio and enjoyed its greatest success with this new lineup, releasing the albums Wanna Be a Star and Opus X. The singles "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)" (1981), "I Believe" (1982), and "Whatcha Gonna Do (When I'm Gone)" (1982) were popular both in Canada and in the United States.

Henderson and MacLeod received a Best Producer Juno Award in 1982 for Opus X. However, echoing the Mushroom problems, Millennium Records then collapsed. MacLeod and Bryant left the band soon after, and Chilliwack's last new studio recording was released in 1984 with Henderson as the only continuing member. Henderson continued to tour as Chilliwack with other players until December 1988. In 1989 Henderson went on to form the folk-rock supergroup UHF. Henderson also continued touring with Chilliwack, releasing a new live album in 2003.

Brian Macleod, who was responsible for writing some of the hits, such as My Girl (Gone Gone Gone) died on April 25, 1992 in Vancouver after a year-long flight with cancer. Macleod had produced such acts as The Good Brothers, Billy Newton-Davis, Chrissy Steele, and The Headpins and wrote songs for Loverboy, Chicago, among others.

2005 saw Chilliwack play Voyageur Days Festival in Mattawa, Ontario, Canada (near North Bay) with other Canadian bands Moxy, Toronto, Trooper, Goddo, Killer Dwarfs and Ray Lyell for the thirtieth anniversary for release of the debut album by Moxy.

My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)
http://youtu.be/yahBtp_1jWE