Proudly Canadian: The Kings

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Kings are a Canadian rock band formed in 1977 in Vancouver. They are best known for their 1980 North American hit "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide".

The Kings were formed in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Oakville, Ontario in the late 1970s. The original lineup included David Diamond, (David Broadbent, bass, lead vocals), Mister Zero (John Picard, guitar), Sonny Keyes (Nicholas Peter, keyboards, vocals), and Max Styles (drums), with Zero and Diamond serving as the main songwriters with contributions from Keyes. The Kings were originally known as WhistleKing and rehearsed, performed club gigs, and wrote a considerable number of songs for more than three years.

In early 1980, the band went into Nimbus 9 Studio in Toronto to record their first album. While recording, renowned producer Bob Ezrin visited the studio, listened to the band, and liked what he heard. Together they created the album The Kings Are Here featuring the North American hit "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide." Two other singles followed and the band began touring extensively with Bob Seger, Jeff Beck, The Beach Boys and Eric Clapton. During 1980, their rising commercial fortunes culminated in an appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, and the closing spot at the major Heatwave festival in August.

Amazon Beach, the 1981 follow-up to The Kings Are Here, produced little in the way of sales, and the band was soon dropped from their label, Elektra Records. The Kings soldiered on and released the EP R.S.V.P and the live album Party Live '85 on their own Dizzy label, while continuing to tour Canada and the US throughout the remainder of the 1980s. Max Styles left the band in approximately 1982.

The Kings ThenThe Kings ThenThe late 1980s were a difficult period for The Kings as they lost their drummer and their record label. As it were, the group was on the verge of a major revival as the single "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide" became a huge radio hit in Chicago getting major play on all of the main rock stations: Classic rock WCKG, Alternative rock WXRT, and Mainstream Rock WLUP, as well as Top 40 powerhouse WLS-AM. The unavailability of the Kings records led Chicago DJ Bob Stroud of WLUP to record his own version of the single with his band Rockestra. Elektra Records unfortunately remained unaware of the burgeoning hit and never reissued the single or album.

The single "Parting Of The Ways" appeared on Bullseye Records compilation Unsigned, Sealed and Delivered in 1991. This comeback prompted The Kings to return to the studio to record Unstoppable produced by John Punter, David Diamond and Mister Zero in 1993. Unstoppable produced several hits in Canada including "Lesson To Learn", "Shoulda Been Me", "Tonight I Got You", "Parting Of The Ways", and the title track "Unstoppable". A phone call in 1999 from Mister Zero to Alan Fletcher at Warner Canada led to the green light needed for Warner to re-issue The Kings Are Here..and More which allowed fans to get their hit "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide" on CD, which was fully re-mastered from the original 2 track tapes by Zero . ...and More also contained a few re-mixed tracks from Unstoppable and two previously unreleased tracks -"If The Stars Come Out Tonight" and "Right To The Top". A remixed and more mature version of "If The Stars Come Out Tonight" appeared on Because Of You released in 2003 on Bullseye Records. Combined original sales and cd sales have passed the platinum mark in Canada but no certification is allowed because of the bonus tracks on the CD, which are the only way the band makes money from that project.

Throughout the remainder of the 1990s, The Kings continued to tour and play live shows around Toronto, but Sonny Keyes' role with The Kings diminished and only Mister Zero and David Diamond remain as permanent members from the original lineup. However, Sonny Keyes did continue to contribute when called upon by Zero and Diamond.

Drummer Atilla Turi and keyboard players Peter Nunn and Rich Roxborough joined Mister Zero and David Diamond on the abovementioned Because of You album (Josh Broadbent - Diamond's son - was also recruited into The Kings to contribute his vocals). Because Of You would be The Kings' strongest effort to date, with Harry Hess recording alongside producers Zero and Diamond. A video was made for the title track, "It's Up To You" and "The Fools Are In Love," the last of which was remixed from the original version that appeared on the Amazon Beach release. Sonny Keyes co-wrote "A Way You'll Never Be" with Mister Zero.

A reunion of the original lineup of The Kings occurred in the winter of 2001 with Max Styles and Sonny Keyes joining their old mates for Alan Frew's (Glass Tiger) children's benefit concert for Camp Trillium in Toronto. They played the benefit concert again in 2002.

In late 2005, The Kings had a full length reunion concert in Toronto which was filmed for inclusion in the DVD documentary being assembled by Mister Zero. The first part of this film to be seen is the video for "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide," released in October 2006, which gets thousands of plays on YouTube.

Currently you can purchase the CD ‘This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide’ and DVD Video by logging on the band’s website at

Watch The Kings live on the Dick Clark American Bandstand Show:
This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide