Rock & Roll Heaven

DAVID REA (1946-2011) On His Last Pilgrimage to Paradise

David Rea.jpg

Guitarist, singer, songwriter David Rea has passed away at the age of 65. The Akron Ohio born Rea, although not a household name, was responsible for some of the great sounds in early Canadian folk music. Playing lead guitar on Gordon Lightfoot’s debut album LIGHTFOOT and the great guitar work on folk icons IAN & SYLVIA recordings, cemented David’s place in Canadian music history.  Their recording of his song, ‘Pilgrimage to Paradise’ was a highlight for David Rea.

I got to spend some time with David in Montreal in the early days and was so impressed with his guitar work and his incredible entertaining skills.

David Rea passed away in Portland Oregon and is survived by his longtime partner Kathleen and three children.

Sylvia Tyson of IAN &SYLVIA so simply said "So many of the people who played with us are gone now. All that music silenced - so sad."
David Rea is at last on his’ Pilgrimage To Paradise!’  RIP DAVID!

Don Graham

The Music Industry loses a Canadian icon - Steve Propas 1948-2011

Steve Propas

By Sandy Graham

It is said that the music industry in Canada has become a huge market, mixed with the ‘old school’ that started it all and many, many more professionals who have come on the scene to turn it into a growing, vibrant market of music people. It does show how small the business still is when we lose ‘one of our own’  - and Steve Propas was one of those people.

When word got out yesterday that Propas had passed away suddenly on August 2, 2011, blackberries, emails, facebooks and twitters got the word out to his ‘music family’ to tell each other the sad news that we have lost a one-of-a-kind music man.

I last saw Steve doing what he does best – wheeling and dealing. He was actively holding court at the Canada Stand in Cannes, France at the yearly MIDEM. He looked healthy, happy and very, very busy, which is what he loved to do – make deals.

We all have known Steve in this business through different incarnations of his career – as a band manager, the trailblazer duo of Dixon and Propas, which led to birth of Solid Gold Records, which boasted the best of the best, The Good Brothers, The Mightly Pope, Toronto were just a few of the acts they had at that time. It was the 70’s in Toronto and Neill and Steve were ‘it’ when it came to bookings.


Gene McDaniels


Gene McDaniels, who was most famous for the 1961 hit "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay" and for writing the 1974 #1 hit "Feel Like Makin' Love" for Roberta Flack,  died today (July 29, 2011). He was 76.

Details are sketchy surrounding the circumstances of McDaniels' passing at presstime. Word of McDaniels' passing came to this writer courtesy of his good radio friend, Dick Bartley, who in turn passed along information posted on the web site of Ann Ruckert, The Music Business Guru. According to Wikipedia, McDaniels had been residing in Maine. It's believed he died in his sleep. On her website, Ruckert said, "His wife, Karen, told me he was working until the very end. They went to bed last night, he was full of ideas and new projects, and this morning, she turned in bed to wake him and he was gone."

The son of the Reverend B.T. McDaniels, Eugene Booker McDaniels was born February 12, 1935, in Kansas City and grew up in Omaha. According to Joel Whitburn's Record Research, he sang in church choirs and attended the Omaha Conservatory Of Music. According to writer Norm N. Nite, he  joined a professional gospel group at the age of 13, played saxophone in his high school band and would eventually form his own vocal quartet. McDaniels had at least one minor single release in 1960 with "In Times Like These" before hitting the jackpot with a song about God building the world.

America’s Dan Peek, From 0 to 60

Dan Peek

By Don Graham

From 1970 to 1977 the folk/pop band America was one of the hottest commodities on the music scene. With hits like ‘Ventura Highway’, ‘Tin Man’, ‘Sister Golden Hair’ and ‘Horse with No Name’ the music of America was heard everywhere. The trio consisted of  Dewey Bunnel, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek.

Peek contributed lead and  background vocals as well as playing guitars, bass, keyboards and harmonica on the band’s recording and penned  four Top 100 singles: ‘Don’t Cross The River’(#35), his most successful single ‘Lonely People’ hit (#5), ‘Woman Tonight’ (#44), and ‘Today’s The Day’ (#23). ‘Lonely People’ and ‘Today's the Day’ also hit number 1 on the A/C charts.

Peek left the band and renewed his Christian faith and became a pioneer in the booming Contemporary Christian market. He went on to sign with Pat Boone’s Lamb and Lion Records.

Peek's first album and single (in 1979) ‘All Things Are Possible’ became big hits on Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) radio stations and charts. The single ‘All Things Are Possible’ not only hit number 1 on the CCM singles chart, it also crossed over to the single and adult contemporary charts, becoming one of the earliest  CCM's crossover hits. The album was nominated for a Grammy but lost out to The Imperials ‘Heed the Call’.
On July 24th, 2011 Dan Peek got the call and went to meet the Lord, to whom he had given his heart.

Rest in peace Dan!


Terry's stool, one of his guitars and a bottle of Gatorade

by Randy Owen
Country 107 3

His tour bus was parked outside the venue, this time at Purple Hill Country Hall in Thorndale, Ont. His lights and Bose sound system were set up on stage. His stool, guitar and a bottle of Gatorade (with a few swigs already taken from it) seemed to huddle together waiting for the star of the show. His band was waiting in the wings. A sell-out crowd of about 400 fans sat in their seats eagerly ready to be entertained. But the only thing missing was the star.

Canadian country music icon Terry Sumsion had passed away almost four months earlier from esophegeal cancer. But this show, "A Celebration of His Legacy in Country Music," was planned to go on without him and, at the same time, for him, his family, friends and fans. As one of the MC's, I opened the show by announcing we would start by remembering one of the inspirational songs Terry had recorded for his last album, "Encore." To the amazement of the concert organizers, the family, the other entertainers and myself, the fans rose for a standing ovation as only the song was played from a CD! And the ovation continued for the entire song! It was overwhelming. Country 107 3 morning man, Craig Fox, another close, personal friend of Terry's, and I shared the MC duties for the afternoon, with a few personal stories about the man.

Pete King, bassist for Rik Reese & Neon Highway Tragically killed in Collision in New Brunswick

Pete King

By Sandy Graham

Rik Reese & Neon Highway is deeply saddened to inform the public and their fans of the loss of their bassist and good friend, Pete King in a motorcycle collision.

Labeling themselves as ‘Canada’s Untamed Country Rock Show’, Rik Reese & Neon Highway have been labeled the ‘KISS’ of Country Music. With  two nominations for the critically acclaimed album, Mama Raised a Good Boy 2010 Music New Brunswick Nominee: Group Recording of the Year 2010 Music New Brunswick Nominee: Country Recording of the Year (Awards to be announced Oct 9, 2010) Rik Reese & Neon Highway won for top Canadian video in response to a North American wide contest sponsored by Sennheiser. The contest called for entries to demonstrate their appreciation of quality sound and products and how they would allocate the winnings. After much deliberation, video submission by Rik Reese & NH was chosen as the top Canadian submission and second overall for North America. Rik Reese & Neon Highway continue to receive rave reviews from audience, media, and industry alike.

When Rik Reese & Neon Highway took the main stage Sunday afternoon at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, bass player Pete King turned and faced his bandmates as they performed for the crowd. "He was fist-pumping," says lead singer Rik Reese. "It was a very, very cool show and it was a good feeling."

Ed Glinert Casablanca Media Publishing Passes On

Ed Glinert

By Sandy Graham

Cashbox Canada is saddened and extremely shocked to announce the passing of Edmund (Ed) Glinert, founder of Canada’s largest independent music publishing house, Casablanca Media Publishing. Ed suffered a stroke on May 21, 2011 and unfortunately the extent of the damage was too severe to recover.

Ed was known as an entertainment lawyer, but after a long career in that field he grew bored with that part of the business and in 2001, with his own monetary investment and some other financial backing, he set up a new company, Casablanca Media Publishing, and in the past few years, this has now evolved to be Canada’s largest indie publisher.

With a 40-year span in the music industry, he was an active member of the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA), a board member of SOCAN, the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers, Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA now known as CIMA) the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Science (CARAS)as well as serving as a director of the CMRRA. He was also a regular attendee and lecturer at MIDEM in Cannes France and CMW (Canadian Music Week) in Toronto, Ontario.

Industry Icon Jack Richardson Leaves Behind a Legacy of Music

Jack Richardson

By Sandy Graham

Legendary Canadian music producer Jack Richardson died on May 13 after a lengthy illness. He was 81.

Richardson, known to his friends as “The Bear,” became famous recording the Guess Who and through his breakthrough work with Alice Cooper and Bob Seeger in the late ’60s and early ’70s, which made him one of most successful music producers in Canadian history.


John Walker Image

John Walker, the American-born musician who was the frontman for the Walker Brothers, one of the most successful bands of Britain's Golden Age of rock 'n' roll, has died at age 67.

Walker died Saturday of liver cancer, his personal assistant, Polly Klemmer, told The Associated Press. He had continued to work until just a few weeks ago, making his last concert appearance in Los Angeles in March, Klemmer said Sunday.

He had his greatest success as the guitarist and vocalist for the Walker Brothers, which produced such 1960s hits as "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," "Love Her," ''Make it Easy on Yourself" and "My Ship Is Comin' In."

While the Beatles and other British groups were remaking the face of rock 'n' roll during the so-called British invasion of America in the mid-1960s, Walker moved from the United States to England instead.

There, he and two other Americans, bassist Scott Engel and drummer Gary Leeds, called themselves the Walker Brothers and each adopted Walker as his surname, although they were not related. They had instant success with their first British recording, 1964's "Love Her," and a string of hits quickly followed.

Walker, who was born John Maus, had begun using the name Walker professionally when he was 17, adopting it, according to some accounts, so he could obtain a fake I.D. that allowed him to play at nightclubs he was too young to legally enter.

Music Star Joey Knight Mourned

Joey Knight Image

Minto country and gospel music star Joey Knight died suddenly Saturday, May 7, 2011. He was 56 years old.

"It's a profound loss to all," said his daughter Stacey Killam in an interview Saturday. "He's touched many lives and everybody will be affected by his passing. I don't know how we're going to cope with this because we're a really, really close family and my dad was so kind and always looking out for others."

Knight had been in hospital for surgery recently, related to a problem with discs in his neck that caused numbness. "He was preparing to come home this weekend," said Killam. "Mom was going to visit him today and he was going to be released over the next couple days." Killam said her father's cause of death isn't known at this time and an autopsy is pending. She said his doctors are shocked by his death.

She said the Knight family has been overwhelmed by the number of people calling to give their condolences."It just shows you how many lives he's touched," said Killam. "He really was a really, really special person."She said her father performed in Fredericton last Friday, just before he went into hospital, even though he couldn't hold a guitar."He wouldn't cancel that show because everybody had bought tickets," said Killam. "He sat on a stool and people had to help him up on stage and his performance was unreal."They said it was the best he's ever sounded."

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