Cover Story

Buddy Holly The Levee Isn’t Dry and the Music Didn’t Die

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Submitted by Don Graham

It’s over half a century since that fateful winter night in Iowa when Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens fell from the cold sky and into rock ‘n’ roll pop culture mythology.  It’s hard to believe that 54 years have passed since Buddy contacted Dwyer Flying Services and rented the plane for $36 a person. This event is still shrouded in lies, rumours and Hollywood drama.
We will likely never know all the facts. Was Maria Elena really pregnant? People on the tour say Buddy never mentioned it and there are no doctors reports to verify it. Did Buddy need cash because Norman Petty was withholding money? Not likely, He had received over $20,000 in royalties not long before his death. And that’s $ 20,000 in 1959 dollars, when a bottle of coke was a nickel and the admission to the Surf Ballroom that night was $1.25.

The Big Bopper was found some 40 feet from the plane causing speculation that perhaps he had survived the crash and went looking for help? In March 2007 his body was being moved and his son requested an autopsy to see the cause of death. It was determined that every bone in his body was broken and he died instantly. His weight likely propelled him from the plane. 

In Celebration of Robbie Burns and All Things Scottish !

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Submitted by Don Graham

Born on January 25th, 1759, in Alloway, Scotland, Burns would have been a tragic rock star in today’s world. Poems and songs of everlasting love such as “My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose”, and marrying his sweetheart Jean Armour the same year that his first book of poetry was published. They moved to a rented farm in Dumfrie and when things went sour with the farm he sunk into a deep depression. The depression inspired him to write his poetry. Sounds like the angst ridden singer/songwriters of today, doesn’t it. And to complete the image, he died tragically at the young age of just 37 from rheumatic heart disease. Of course if he was active in today’s music scene I’m sure Simon Cowell would have told him to “stick to farming, there’s no future for you in the music business. Thank you for coming out. Bye bye!”

But thankfully Burns didn’t encounter a Cowell or anyone like him. He was hugely successful and remains one of Scotland best loved and well known bards.
Even if you’re not Scottish and don’t know Robbie Burns you’ve heard of him and even if you haven’t heard of him it’s a safe bet you know at least one of his songs. Burns wrote the New Year’s Eve perennial song “Auld Lange Syne”.

The legacy he left has inspired Scots around the world to celebrate his life every January 25th with a Robbie Burns Day dinner including bagpipe, kilts and the reading of a Burns classic ”Ode To a Haggis”. And no Burns feast would be complete without the dish of choice, haggis.

Joey Cee Celebrates 50 Years in the Music Biz

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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.

Jon Patterson Pays It Forward

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Submitted by Don Graham


Ontario singer/songwriter Jon Patterson is carving out a  niche for himself by attaching his talent to another great cause. Perhaps best known for his moving tribute to the armed forces with the song “Hero”, Patterson is reaching out to help troubled kids with his latest offering, “Hear the Children Cry.”


Jon explains his latest project with great enthusiasm and a sense of purpose.“It’s always great when a song can bring attention to a subject or a cause and bring about a positive change in someone’s life. The reaction I get from the people in the forces, wives, mothers, brothers, daughters and such is so inspiring to me. When you hear someone say your song touched them deeply, it’s an amazing feeling.  It’s why we as writers do what we do!”

Happy New Year from Cashbox Canada !

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What a year we have had in the music world – we have lost so many of our legacy artists; new ones have arrived on the horizon to carry the torch. Cashbox Canada has kept the doors open and the stories flowing – all with the great devotion of our Cashbox staff and our wonderful supporters and artists who have made it all possible. We are looking forward to 2013 and to providing the best coverage of Canadian talent as well as industry stories that make up the music industry. Happy Hogmanay to you all and “Lang May Your Lum Reek !” - Sandy Graham

As we close off 2012 in true Canadian fashion with a blizzard.…I want to thank everyone who read my articles in Cashbox Canada.  A special thanks to those I interviewed for their time and contributions to the industry, to Jill Ash for last minute editing, and to Sandy Graham for always being there with kind words and a real good heart.  In 2013, as I continue to write about the music, I will interview more musicians, producers, songwriters and historic music industry figures. It’s all about the music – the people who play it, the people who make it, the people behind it. – Michael Williams

Cashbox Canada’s Christmas Stars 2012

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Cashbox Canada has a mandate to cover the legacy artists who have made this industry a success and to give press to the ones who will make it continue to shine brightly with their talent and tunes. This Christmas issue we would like to feature our Cashbox Canada’s Christmas Stars of 2012. We have asked them to share their personal stories with you about their favourite memories of the holiday season.

Cashbox Canada’s Twelve Days of Christmas Rock Videos

Cover Dec 13, 2012

So This is Christmas ! 

We have all heard all the classic Christmas songs that have stayed popular for decades, and radio stations play them every year. Those classic holiday songs will always be firm favourites, but the last few years have brought about a whole new era of rock artists who have released Christmas songs that are sure to be the next generations classics. This list has some remakes but mostly original songs by our rock artists of today. Enjoy Cashbox Canada’s List of Christmas tunes and videos ! 

1) Happy Christmas (War is Over) 
John Lennon

2) Do They Know It’s Christmas?
Band Aid

3) Santa Baby
Madonna

4) Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Bruce Springsteen

5) All I Want For Christmas is You
Mariah Carey

The Real John McDermott - A Canadian Treasure

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Submitted by Sandy Graham


John McDermott is such an established name, there is no need to describe the talent of this amazing Canadian tenor. But there is so much more to this man, both in song and spirit. The thing that strikes you the most when you speak to him is his passion for life, music, family and tradition.


John Charles McDermott was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but immigrated to Canada with his family in 1965, becoming part of the major diaspora that came from across ‘the pond’ to settle here for a better life. Like most Scottish/Irish families, he learned his love of music with the Saturday night sing-a-longs at home, where neighbours and friends all gathered to sing Harry Lauder, Andy Stewart and all the other songs 'from back home' that kept their heritage alive in this new country.

Ross Petty and His Toronto Tradition of Fractured Fairy Tale Musicals

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

So how does a serious actor/dancer/singer come from Winnipeg, end up in Europe, perform on Broadway and create his own role on the #1 ‘soap’ All My Children?

‘I actually went to Victoria to study acting, and when I decided it was time to take my craft to the next level, England was far more advanced at that point so I headed to London to apply to the BBC. My family, although not musical in anyway, supported me in my quest, and my mother always was there for me.  It all really started in England.”

Ross Petty was born in Winnipeg, Canada and at the tender age of 23 traveled abroad, and although the BBC did not pan out, what did happen was a role with Betty Grable in the London West End musical, Belle Star. Not bad for a kid on his own in Europe. This led him to France, where he actually sang at Le Lido in Paris. “I just lucked out, it was all very easy back then. I was young and fearless and living the life of a performer. We had 1 show at 11 pm – the second at 1 am. It was an upside down schedule – sleeping during the day and working until dawn. It was all very glamourous, with gorgeous chorus line girls in skimpy outfits. I did a full year of it before the hours took their toll. I decided to go to New York at that point and give it a shot. I was young and fearless back then, with nothing to lose.”

The Lamb Lies Down in Toronto!

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Story: Lenny Stoute

This one is from the pages of the best kind of rock 'n' roll story. That’s the one where a group of friends get together and start a band for fun, then hang on tight as unexpected success on a grand scale changes their lives.

When a group of Montreal prog-rockin’ musos cooked up a Genesis tribute band called The Musical Box in 1993, it wasn’t meant to last. It came together primarily to celebrate the 20th anniversary of seminal Genesis album 'Selling England By The Pound', with two shows at The Spectrum.

Instead, it morphed into the longest one-of in rock history, becoming their ticket on a ride that has seen The Musical Box play to hundreds of thousands of  people around the world.

The original lineup was a seven-piece with a strong theatrical outlook, and it plunged into using visual effects and costumes that were in the original Genesis shows of the 1970s. This kind of intimate meta connection to the original is a large part of what has placed The Musical Box apart from pretenders in the genre ever since.

Named for a 1971 Genesis song about an old man reclaiming his youth, the Montreal outfit has since become one of rock music’s least likely success stories: a French-Canadian cover band playing progressive-rock epics to raving crowds across the globe.

Says (frontman/band leader) Sebastian, “ In the beginning it was just a group of musician friends who were very into the music of Genesis. At that time we never imagined it wold lead to anything long term.”

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