Proudly Canadian

Proudly Canadian: Tom Middleton

Tom Middleton Photo Credit John Rowlands.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Tom Middleton was a West Coast Canadian artist from Victoria, BC who first got a taste of the rock life while with The Marquis in 1967, which featured Jerry Adophe (later of Chilliwack and Jim Byrnes), Len Knoke, Norm Piercy, and Gary Garraway. They toured BC while playing the popular covers of the day and graduated to the 'B' circuit across western Canada until they broke up in '69.

Middleton struck out on his own, becoming a mainstay on the Vancouver circuit while writing material. He continued on the road across BC and the prairies when he hooked up with manager Howard Leese in '72. After signing a deal with Columbia Records, they went into the studio with producer Mike Flicker, who later went on to be founder of Mushroom Records with the late Shelley Siegel. The first single was a Todd Rundgren song “It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference” released in 1973.

None of his singles were ever released Stateside, but the title track, backed with "Lovelight Suite," made a decent impression on the charts at home, cracking the top 40 for a month. Like the title track, "Just One Victory," was written by Todd Rundgren, but didn't make it past # 65 . A third single was cut, "One More Chance," backed with "Name of the Game," which also reached just short of the top 40.

Proudly Canadian: Thor

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Thor started out as a concept band from Vancouver, British Columbia in 1973. They were first called "Centaur" and then "Mikl Body Rock". These entities were the brainchild of Jon Mikl, a vocalist, musician and body building champion who won titles such as Mr. USA and Mr. Canada. He decided to combine Muscle with Music.

Proudly Canadian: Freedom North

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada Source: The Canadian Pop Encylopedia

In 1969, Donald K. Donald introduced Franki Hart (The Sirocco Singers, Riverson) to Bill Hill (J.B. and the Playboys) and suggested they join forces with members of Montreal band The Munks (Rick St. Jean, Rene Boileau, Del Desrosiers and Eddie Kaye) to form a new group called Freedom.

In 1970, Freedom went into the studio to record an album for Aquarius Records. The line up was Bill Hill (lead guitar), Franki Hart (vocals/piano), Rick St. Jean (vocals/guitar), Les Leroux (bass) and Eddie Kaye (drums). Ron Dann added pedal steel guitar, and Rayburn Blake (Mashmakhan) guested on the song "Doctor Tom" on acoustic guitar. The album was released on Aquarius under the name Freedom North and was produced by Bill Hill. 

From Montreal, Quebec, Freedom's "Doctor Tom" was released on Aquarius in May 1970 and peaked at #17 on the RPM Top Singles chart in August of that year. The song was released in the US on the Wand label under the name Freedom of Choice.

Freedom North toured extensively in Eastern Canada, often with other Montreal bands such as Mashmakhan and April Wine and, as well, performed in concert in Montreal, Toronto and New England. This line-up would include Graham Lear on drums.

Proudly Canadian: Glass Tiger

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Discovered in the summer of 1984 when a band from Newmarket, Ontario called Tokyo spent two evenings performing before capacity crowds at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens opening for Boy George and Culture Club. Their dynamic original sound captured the moment, and the race to sign them was on. Tokyo, which had become a major force in suburban high schools and the Ontario club circuit, officially became Glass Tiger early the following year when a record deal was finally signed with Capitol Records.

With Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams; Aerosmith; Ozzy Osbourne) behind the boards Glass Tiger was immediately introduced to the recording studio to work on their first album. The Thin Red Line set a record for being the fastest selling debut recording in Canadian history, going gold within weeks of its release. To date, this album has received four Platinum records in Canada and went Gold in the United States. One of Glass Tiger’s many hit singles “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” yielded a #2 spot on Billboard that was followed by “Someday” which reached #5. Both songs also made Canadian history when Glass Tiger won successive Juno’s a year apart for Single of the Year from the same album.

Proudly Canadian: The Poppy Family

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia

The Poppy Family were a successful Canadian pop music group, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. They were popular worldwide in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Eighteen year old Susan Pesklevits met Terry Jacks in the mid-1960s while she was a regular performer on the national teen TV show Music Hop as well as many other national TV shows. She later called Jacks to accompany her on rhythm guitar for one of her live performances and eventually, with the addition of Craig McCaw on lead guitar, although she continued to make solo television appearances, Susan decided to dedicate all her live performances to the newly formed trio. Craig McCaw later introduced Satwant Singh on tablas and they became The Poppy Family. The name was chosen when Susan, Terry and Craig were searching for a new name and came across it in the dictionary. Susan and Terry were married in 1967 and Susan Pesklevits became Susan Jacks.

Proudly Canadian: Shooter


Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Credit: The Canadian Pop Encyclopedia

Following a successful run as the rowdy and raucous 1950's styled Greaseball Boogie Band - who were known as a cover band - they were nominated 'Most Promising Band' at the 1974 Juno Awards for their self-titled double album debut for GRT. As a follow-up, label owner Ross Reynolds wanted to get the band some legitimate hits of their own by incorporating music by contemporary songwriters. Reynolds offered up a song by Allan Nichols while producer Ralph Murphy suggested Leo Sayer's tried, but ultimately unsuccessful five minute acoustic opus, "Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)".

Recording commenced with Doug Riley and Terry Brown's Dr. Music production company at Eastern Sound which was produced by Ralph Murphy and featured the help of engineer Steve Vaughan (The Hunt, Klaatu) and Terry Brown (Klaatu, Rush, Max Webster). During early sessions in 1974 Harrison brought in his old Crowbar bandmate Bernardi to replace Breckels while Hodgeson was replaced by Wellbanks.

Proudly Canadian: Jackson Hawke

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia

Jackson Hawke was a Canadian pop rock band, principally active during 1976-1978 and most notable for its song "You Can't Dance", which became an international hit for England Dan and John Ford Coley.

Jackson Hawke was co-founded in 1974 by Tim Ryan and Bob Yeomans. The two had originally begun working together as professional musicians in 1963 and had earlier been managed by noted Canadian manager, promoter and record producer Bernie Finkelstein.  Ryan and Yeomans, originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, had been in an early Canadian garage band, The Amen.

In addition to Ryan on lead vocals and guitar and Yeomans on guitar, the original lineup of Jackson Hawke was completed by Gene Falbo on bass and Chris Castle on drums. Later guitarists were Garry Holt & JP Hawkins. Later drummers were Bob Clarke (previously with Ryan and Yeomans in The Amen) and Bucky Berger. Jackson Hawke was particularly prominent in Canada during the 1976-1978 period, releasing three singles and two albums on CBS Records. They were at one time associated with Canadian publicist and entertainment manager Gino Empry.

Proudly Canadian: The Diodes

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia

The Diodes were a Canadian punk rock band formed in 1976 in Toronto. They released five albums: Diodes (1977), Released (1979), Action-Reaction (1980), Survivors (1982), and Time/Damage Live 1978 (2010). One of the first Toronto bands playing that style of music, The Diodes helped foster the scene in the city.

Proudly Canadian: The Mynah Birds

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia
Photo: The Summer of 1965

 The Mynah Birds were a Canadian R&B band formed in Toronto, Ontario, that was active from 1964 to 1967.  Although the band never released analbum, it is notable as featuring a number of musicians who went on to have successful careers in rock, folk rock and funk.

Over its short lifespan, the group featured a large number of artists in its many different configurations. Its most memorable lineup included Rick James (who later had a solo career in funk music), Rickman Mason, John Taylor and Neil Young and Bruce Palmer, both founding members of Buffalo Springfield.   Goldy McJohn and Nick St. Nicholas would later become members of the rock band Steppenwolf. Also, a late-running 1967 version of The Mynah Birds featured heavy rocker Neil Merryweather.

The Mynah Birds grew out of a 1964 group called the Sailorboys, fronted by Jimmy Livingston and also including guitarist Ian Goble, drummer Rick Cameron, organist  Goldy McJohn and bass player Nick St. Nicholas.

Proudly Canadian: Martha and the Muffins

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia

Martha and the Muffins are a Canadian new wave band, active from 1977 to the present. Although they only had one major international hit single (1980's "Echo Beach") under their original band name, they had a number of hits in their native Canada, and the core members of the band also charted in Canada and internationally as M + M.

The group's initial line-up came together in Toronto in 1977, when David Millar asked his fellow Ontario College of Artstudent Mark Gane to help him start a band. Millar recruited Martha Johnson to play keyboards; Johnson brought in a friend from high school, Carl Finkle, to play bass; and Gane's brother Tim signed on as the drummer. With Millar and Mark Gane as guitarists, and Johnson as lead vocalist, this is the line-up that debuted at an Ontario College of Art Hallowe'en party in October 1977.

They chose the name "Martha and the Muffins" to distance themselves from the aggressive names adopted by many punk bands of the era. According to Mark Gane: "We decided to use it as a temporary name until we could all agree on something better." The name ended up sticking for the next seven years.

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