Richard Patterson of The Esquires Passes Away
Photo: Richard Patterson (far right) Bruce Cockburn (second from right) with the band 3's a Crowd
A bit of Ottawa music history was lost on April 3, 2011 with the passing of Richard Patterson, the drummer for the 60’s pop band, The Esquires.
During the 1960s, Patterson was the drummer for the well-known Ottawa band (The Esquires) and later Canada Goose. He also played in at least two bands with Bruce Cockburn, The Children and 3’s a Crowd.
Ottawa music maven Harvey Glatt said Patterson was at the centre of the action during that period.
“Richard was a very important part of the Ottawa and the Canadian music scene in the 1960s, ’70s and even into the ’80s,” said Glatt, who at one time managed The Esquires. “He had a great sense of music, a really great ear and musical taste.”
The Esquires had hit songs including “So Many Other Boys” and instrumental number “Atlantis.” The band won an RPM Award in 1964, a precursor to the Juno Awards.
During the 1960s, the band toured with such acts as the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and the Dave Clark Five. Fellow musician Gary Comeau, one of the founders of the Esquires, was friends with Patterson for almost 50 years. Comeau recalls one occasion in 1970 when he and Patterson, in Canada Goose, played for U.S. president Richard Nixon, who later enthused to reporters about how much he enjoyed the performance.
Comeau said Patterson was a very good drummer, who was “always a bit of a comedian” and very easy to work with. Glatt also remembers that Patterson, although not a light fellow, was light on his feet, gaining some renown in Ottawa as a tap dancer when he was a child.
Patterson was an Ottawa boy. Born in 1944, he was an only child and his father had a barber shop on Gladstone Avenue, Comeau said.
Patterson attended Fisher High School and then managed, one way or another, to work in music throughout his life, including some years working as a music programmer with the CBC.
In 1967, The Esquires disbanded. They reunited in 1987 for the 25th anniversary of the group. In 1993, two music videos made by The Esquires were discovered. According to Richard Patterson at the time, ‘The Man From Adano’ is the first music video made in Canada.
Patterson had been suffering from a neurological illness for several years before passing away on Sunday, April 3, 2011. Patterson was 67 years old.