Proudly Canadian

Proudly Canadian: Shirley Matthews

Shirley Matthews.jpg

Shirley Matthews was a Canadian pop singer born in Harrow, Ontario.

Matthews sang in a church choir and at high school dances prior to embarking on a career in music. She worked in a Bell Telephone office while singing nights at the age of 19 at the Club Bluenote in Toronto, Ontario.

Discovered by an associate of Bob Crewe (who managed the Four Seasons) Matthews went to New York to sign her record deal in New York.

Her debut single, "Big Town Boy", was a major hit in Canada in 1964, selling over a million copies. She won the RPM Gold Leaf Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1964.Later singles failed to duplicate the success of "Big Town Boy”.

“Big Town Boy” debuted on 1050 Chum in Toronto on December 2/1963 on the same day as “She Loves You” by the Beatles.

In 1967, she married, taking the name Shirley Vedder, and quit the music industry, eventually becoming the CEO of a chain of racquetball and sports fitness clubs.  

On January 8, 2013 Shirley died in Toronto, Ontario.

Big Town Boy    1964
Private Property 1964
He Makes Me Feel So Pretty 1964
Stop the Clock 1965

Big Town Boy Shirley Matthews

Proudly Canadian: Finger Eleven

Finger Eleven Photo Credit Dustin Rabin.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia

Finger Eleven is a Canadian rock band from Burlington, Ontario, formed in 1990. They have released seven total studio albums (six as Finger Eleven and one as Rainbow Butt Monkeys), with their album The Greyest of Blue Skies bringing them into the mainstream. The 2003 self-titled album achieved Gold status in the United States and Platinum in Canada, largely from the success of the single "One Thing", which marked the band's first placing on the US Hot 100 Chart at number 16. Their 2007 album, Them vs. You vs. Me, launched the single "Paralyzer", which went on to top numerous charts including the Canadian Hot 100 and both US rock charts, as well as reaching No. 6 on the US Hot 100 and No. 12 on the Australian Singles Chart. They won the Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year in 2008. It was later certified gold status in the US and multi platinum in Canada. They released their sixth studio album, Life Turns Electric, on October 5, 2010; it was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Rock Album of the Year. They released their first single, "Living in a Dream", adding a little bit of more of funk rock and dance rock, just like their hit song "Paralyzer". Five Crooked Lines, their 7th studio album, was released July 31, 2015, with "Wolves and Doors" as the lead single.

Proudly Canadian: David Wiffen

David Wiffen 1970's UA Promo Shot.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Rock Pop & Folk Music Rick James
Photo: David Wiffen 1970's UA Promo Shot

Born in England in 1942, singer/songwriter David Wiffen came to Canada when he was a teenager. He began his singing career at the folk club The Village Corner on Pears Avenue in Toronto, Canada. He later hitchhiked across Canada and ended up in Calgary where he briefly managed The Depression Coffeehouse.

In 1965, he was invited to play with other artists at the Bunkhouse folk house in Vancouver, for a session that was also going to be recorded for an album. David was the only one who showed up. The recording session ended up being a solo album called ‘David Wiffen Live at the Bunkhouse’. He then played with The Pacers from Northern British Columbia and when they were offered a record deal in Montreal, Quebec, David Wiffen followed them east. The record deal, however, fell through and he then went to Ottawa, where he joined one of the first Canadian folk/rock bands, The Children, composed of Bill Hawkins, Bruce Cockburn, ‘Sneezy’ Waters, Neville Wells, Sandy Crawley and Richard Patterson. (formerly of The Esquires)

Proudly Canadian: Lisa Dal Bello

Lisa Dal Bello.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Credit: Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock & Folk Music Rick Jackson

Growing up in Woodbridge, Ontario, an eleven year old Lisa was fascinated by her neighbour’s acoustic guitar. At thirteen she began singing professionally, at fifteen she sang her first advertising jingle, a beer commercial. By her late teens, Lisa had become a regular performer on CBC’s Music Machine. The exposure led to a record contract with MCA and the release of her self-titled debut album in 1977. It was to be her only label.

Lisa credits her success to her friend and mentor, Roy Kenner, of the TV show Music Machine, He wrote the R&B influenced song Stand in Your Way on her debut album.

In 1981 Dal Bello, stopped her musical career to concentrate on her reading and poetry. She also took courses on Women and Law at Toronto’s York University. But three years later former guitarist and producer Mick Ronson from Mott the Hoople saw Lisa in a CBC Documentary and convinced her to return to the recording studio. She resigned with Capitol Records and in 1984 WOMANWHOSAYS (the title was a play on ‘human forces’) was released. This album marked a change in her image and attitude from main stream dance music to more diverse stylings. She also shortened her stage name to Dal Bello.

Five years later, in 1989, Dal Bello released the album SHE, featuring the single Tango. In between albums she wrote the lyrics for 99 Red Balloons for Nena, and composed songs for the soundtrack of director Adrian Lyne’s film 9 ½ weeks. (1989)

Proudly Canadian The Mercey Brothers

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Mercey family grew up to music in their household at an early age. Brothers Larry and Ray, formed a country musical group in 1957. Their brother Lloyd joined the group in 1966. Natives of Hanover (which is south of Owen Sound), Ontario, they eventually went on to become (7) seven-time Juno Award winners for "The Top Country Group" and were inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.

Larry Mercey, the eldest of three, was born on December 12, 1939. Larry became the lead singer and guitarist for the band. Ray Mercey was born on November 21, 1940 and he became a singer and bass guitarist for the band. Lloyd Mercey, the youngest Mercey brother, was born on December 12, 1945 to be a backup singer and drummer for the band.

Larry Mercey sang on the radio station CKNX Barn Dance in 1956, in the neighborhood town of Wingham, Ontario. In 1957, Larry and Ray began to seriously pursue a possible career in music, calling themselves The Mercey Brothers. Inspired by the Everly Brothers, a harmony duo popular in the United States at the time, they patterned their music and their image to resemble them.

Larry and Ray placed second in CBC Television’s Talent Caravan in 1960, and later went on to sign with Chateau Records in 1961. They made their first chart appearance with "Just the Snap of Your Fingers" that same year.

Proudly Canadian: Big Sugar

Big Sugar Photo Credit Michael Maxxis.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia
Big Sugar Photo Credit Michael Maxxis

Big Sugar officially formed in 1988 in Toronto, Ontario, consisting of vocalist and guitarist Gordie Johnson, bassist Terry Wilkins, and drummer Al Cross, though the three musicians had already played together for several years as a supporting band for Molly Johnson's jazz performances and as an informal jam band with members of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. After Molly Johnson returned to rock music with Infidels, she helped her former bandmates to secure a record deal; their eponymous debut album was released in 1991 on Hypnotic Records.

Proudly Canadian: Dave Bidini

Dave Bidini.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia

Dave Bidini (born September 11, 1963) is a Canadian musician and writer. Originally from Etobicoke, Ontario, he was a founding member of the rockband Rheostatics, and currently performs with Bidiniband. In addition, he has published several books about music, travel and sports, and has written feature journalism pieces and columns for numerous Canadian magazines and newspapers.
With bass player / singer Tim Vesely, keyboardist Dave Crosby, and drummer Rod Westlake, Bidini formed the Rheostatics in 1979. After their first studio session and early shows (the band debuted in February 1980 at The Edge), Westlake left the band, and Bidini recruited drummer Dave Clark, which cemented the band's formative lineup.

They released their first independent single, "Satellite Dancing/My Generation," and played their first few Toronto shows in 1980, notably opening for Popular Spies at Toronto's legendary Edge Club. When Crosby left the band after 1981, they enlisted a horn section ("Trans Canada Soul Patrol"), released a few independent cassettes, and in 1985, began playing with guitarist / singer / songwriter Martin Tielli.

Two of the band's eleven albums, 1990's Melville and 1992's Whale Music have been listed among top Canadian records of all time, both in Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Albums and in three reader polls conducted by the music magazine Chart.

Proudly Canadian Suzanne Stevens

Suzanne Stevens.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Suzanne Stevens (born 1950) is a Canadian singer, based in Montreal and active during the 1970s and 1980s. She won the Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year in 1975. Her best-known song is a disco-styled remake of the 1965 Barbara Lewis hit "Make Me Your Baby."

She was a receptionist until her successful performance on a Montreal talent show launched her recording career. Stevens performed in both English and French.

She was also host of the Global Television musical variety series For Lovers Only which began in September 1978 and featured lounge pianist Lou Snider.

1973 Le soleil (Capitol)
1974 En Route (Capitol)
1975 Je ne vivais pas avant toi (Capitol)
1976 Make Me Your Baby (Capitol)
1976 Doesn't It Seem Like A Miracle (Capitol)
1976 L'as-tu vu le soleil (Capitol)
1976 Knowing How Knowing When (Capitol)
1979 Let It Burn (Capitol) 

1974 En Route (Capitol)
1975 Moi de La Tete Aux Pieds (Capitol)
1976 The Tower (Capitol)
1977 Love's The Only Game In Town (Capitol)
1977 Crystal Carriage 1977 Les nuits sont trop longues
1978 Stardust Lady

Make Me Your Baby Suzanne Stevens

Proudly Canadian: Prism

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Prism (or PRiSM) are a Canadian rock band originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada that formed in 1977. They were originally active from 1977 to 1984 and have been active again from 1988 to present. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Ron Tabak, guitarist Lindsay Mitchell, keyboardist John Hall, bassist Al Harlow, and drummer Rocket Norton.

The band's sound is a mix of Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) and pop rock, and they have released a total of thirteen studio albums, three compilation albums, and one live album.

Prism's success has been primarily in Canada where they won the Canadian music industry Juno Award for Group of the Year in 1981, although they also reached the US top 40 charts with 1981's "Don't Let Him Know". Prism is also noteworthy for launching the careers of several former group members, including international record producer Bruce Fairbairn, songwriter Jim Vallance, Powder Blues Band frontman Tom Lavin, and Headpins and Chilliwack musician Ab Bryant. A pre-fame Bryan Adams also contributed as a songwriter to several early Prism releases.

On Sunday, March 6, 2011, Prism's "Spaceship Superstar" was chosen as the wakeup song for the Space Shuttle Discovery crew members. This was a significant point in history as it was the last day that the crews of Discovery and the International Space Station were together beforeDiscovery returned to earth in the last mission of Discovery.

Proudly Canadian: Motherlode


Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Motherlode was a Canadian pop rock group formed in 1969 in London, Ontario.

The group scored some notable success in the US with their single, "When I Die", which hit #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1969 and an established hit on the Canadian charts.
William Smith and Steve Kennedy had been playing together with Eric Mercury and Dianne Brooks in a Toronto band called the Soul Searchers that Mercury and Brooks fronted as lead vocalists. After the Soul Searchers broke up, first Kennedy and then Smith joined a group called Grant Smith and the Power which also featured David Clayton Thomas.

Smith and Kennedy formed Motherlode in1969 and relocated to London, Ontario, where they struggled and stayed with friends. They finally got a break following their debut at the Image Club when Mort Ross signed them to Revolver Records that same year.

Their first single, "When I Die" that was produced by Doug Riley and Terry Brown did not make any headway on the radio. A reciprocal deal in the US with Buddah Records made the song a hit reaching Number 18 on the charts. The song sold more than 500,000 copies and it eventually climbed to Number 5 in the Canadian charts.[3] Brooks contributed a song "Memories of A Broken Promise" as well as some background vocals to Motherlode's When I Die album. Motherlode also contributed a song and instrumental backing on Brooks album, Another Kind Of Soul that was released on Revolver Records.

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