Proudly Canadian Terry Bush

Terry Bush.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

Terry Bush started his career as a professional musician back in 1964. “I was part of a group called Robbie Lane and the Disciples,” says Bush, who’s now in his 70s and divides his time between teaching guitar to children in Ajax, Ont., and managing the estate of his father, famed Canadian painter Jack Bush.

“While I was attending Ryerson, I joined up with other musicians and we used to hang out at the original ‘Blue Note’ on Yonge Street. We used to go and listen to the bands that played there. The house band was called ‘The Silhouettes’ with Doug Riley on organ. I loved the band and asked if I could try out. I did, I was hired and that’s how I met my friend, Doug Riley. Later, Robbie Lane approached me about joining his band, which at the time was backing Ronnie Hawkins. (after the Band left) I jumped at the chance because I always wanted to play with “THE HAWK”. We played with “THE HAWK” until June of 1965. By 1966 we were hired as the house band for a CTV-TV Show, called “It’s Happening”.

In 1968, mostly by chance, Bush started exploring the world of advertising, writing a jingle for Baby Ruth chocolate bars with his friend Doug Riley. Riley would go on to form Doctor Music and work with the likes of Ray Charles and  Placido Domingo.

“He and I had never done it before, we didn’t really know what we were doing, but it was a big hit,” says Bush. “It ended up that I left the band and started my own jingle company, Terry Bush Productions. And I did jingles for things like the Eaton Centre opening, Ontario Place, the Commodore 64.”

Bush was approached by producer Simon Christopher Dew who was looking to do a remake of early '60s show The Littlest Hobo for CTV.“He said ‘I’m redoing The Littlest Hobo, that show that was on in black and white for a couple of years. We’re doing it in Canada and we need a theme song,’” says Bush. “So then I wrote the song, and everybody hated it.”

” To this day, Bush still doesn’t know what the network executives didn’t like about the song but I assumed his career in theme songs was over. CTV went to New York to hire a jingle writer there, who wrote what Bush calls “a jazz-type theme” instead.

“I thought our song was bang on,” he says. “You had the whole feeling of the Hobo running down the road, the lyrics were fabulous. They were written by a friend of mine who worked in advertising, named John Crossen; we worked on a lot of things together. I thought he absolutely nailed it.”

As it turned out, the show’s creators were equally unsatisfied with the new theme song, and came back to Bush, asking him if they could re-work his theme. “We re-recorded a couple of times and it got closer and closer, and eventually they said ‘Well, can we do something different?’” he says. “And they went with a more orchestral arrangement. It was quite country the way I had it. And it turned into the version you know.”

Bush wisely fought to keep the songwriting royalties for the song, just in case.

Unbeknownst to Bush, “Maybe Tomorrow” had taken on a life of its own in the U.K. Britain had been one of the show’s biggest export markets, and the theme song had become an institution of sorts. It was covered by bubblegum pop group Scooch. Drinkers sang it in pubs at closing time. There was even a karaoke version. Bush realized that his old TV theme could be worth something.

“I quickly re-recorded the song as a three-minute version and put together a CD and put it online,” he says. “So I made my CD and made a website, and then I started getting these letters, and I’ll tell you, they were just the most touching things.”

Amazingly, the song’s renewed popularity didn’t stop there. In 2011, it was used in another successful British commercial, this time for Dulux Paints. The ad caused a renewed interest in the song, which shot to number one on the country charts for both iTunes and Amazon in the U.K.

“I am humbled and amazed,” he says. “People would say, ‘I love your song’ and ‘every time I hear it, I cry.’ ‘Oh, I remember it from when I was a kid, and every time I heard it, it gave me hope because it’s just so positive.’

In 2009, I was asked if I would donate all my tapes to the Canadian Broadcast Museum. They are in the process of transferring all the jingles onto CD’s for me and tapes will become part of their library. Among many of my award winning jingles were, ‘I Adore my 64, my Commodore 64‘ and ‘I wanna go to the zoo, zoo, zoo’ for the Metro Toronto Zoo and ‘Life in the City’ for the opening of the Eaton Centre in Toronto.

In the words of Terry Bush, “I’m happily living in Ajax, Canada, with my beautiful wife and step-daughter, Tiffany. I have three wonderful grown children, 3 beautiful granddaughters and one adorable great granddaughter. I don’t write jingles anymore. I will sit and noodle at the piano and I teach guitar ~ life is good.”