Proudly Canadian

Proudly Canadian: Corey Hart

Corey Hart.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Corey Hart is recognized as one of Canada’s most successful singer-songwriters selling over 15 million records worldwide and amassing 9 consecutive US Billboard Top 40 Hits. He also scored an impressive 29 top 40 Hits in his native Canada including 11 Top 10′s during his career. He is also a Grammy Nominated and multiple Juno Award Winner.

Hart was born in Montreal, Quebec on May 31,1962. He is the youngest of 5 siblings growing up in Montreal, Spain, Mexico and Key Biscayne, Florida, making fluently trilingual in English, French and Spanish. Shy as a young child, Corey found his refuge in music.

At age 11, Corey auditioned for singing star Tom Jones in Miami at the illustrious Fountain Bleu Hotel. He sang Michael Jackson’s ‘Ben’. “I was so nervous that I needed to kneel on one knee while singing to keep my legs from shaking”But despite the jitters, Jones was so impressed with the young singer he quickly introduced him to Canadian legend Paul Anka. In 1974, Corey flew to Las Vegas, Nevada recording several songs submitted to him by Anka.

Proudly Canadian: The Spoons

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Spoons are a Canadian New Wave synthpop band, formed in 1979 in Burlington. They recorded several Canadian chart hits between 1982 and 1989, and in 1983, they won Group of the Year at the U-Know awards. Their most popular songs include "Romantic Traffic", "Nova Heart", "Old Emotions" and "Tell No Lies".

Spoons was formed in Burlington, Ontario in 1979. The band initially consisted of Gordon Deppe (lead vocals and guitar), Sandy Horne (vocals and bass), Brett Wickens (keyboards, synths) and Peter Shepherd (drums). Deppe, Horne and Wickens attended Aldershot High School, Deppe and Horne (the only constant members of the band) dated in high school.

In late 1979, Shepherd left the band and was replaced by Derrick Ross on drums. Spoons then released an independent single, "After the Institution", in 1980 on Mannequin Records.

Shortly thereafter, Wickens left the band to release an electronica album under the pseudonym Ceramic Hello, also on Mannequin Records, and later became a graphic designer designing album covers for such artists as Peter Gabriel. He was replaced by keyboardist Rob Preuss, who was only fifteen when he joined Spoons.

The band's first album, Stick Figure Neighbourhood, was released in 1981, and is notable for being one of the earliest New Wave albums engineered by Daniel Lanois.

Proudly Canadian: Jesse Winchester


Jesse Winchester, whose real name is James Ridout Winchester is an American musician and songwriter who was born and raised in the southern United States. To avoid the Vietnam War draft he moved to Canada in 1967, which is where and when he began his career as a solo artist. His highest charting recordings were of his own tunes, "Yankee Lady" in 1970 and "Say What" in 1981. He became a Canadian citizen in 1973, gained amnesty in the U.S. in 1977 and resettled there in 2002. Canada still feels like we can lay claim to Jesse, and especially Montrealers as Canadian radio supported him with airplay,  breaking his singles in that market.

Winchester is probably best known as a songwriter, with his works being recorded by many notable artists, including Patti Page, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Anne Murray, Reba McEntire, The Everly Brothers and Emmylou Harris. A number of these recordings have had success on various charts.

Born in Bossier City, Louisiana, Winchester was raised in northern Mississippi and the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Jesse, Jimmy in high school, received several honors while attending Christian Brothers High School. Graduating in 1962, he was a Merit Finalist, National Honor Society member and the Salutatorian of the graduating class. He attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, graduating in 1966. Upon receiving his draft notice the following year, Winchester moved to Montreal, Quebec to avoid military service.

Proudly Canadian: Dr. Music


Submitted Sandy Graham

In the 1970’s radio was playing great talent on the air as part of the CanCon requirements, and one such group was Toronto’s Dr. Music. An eclectic freeform jazzy R&B group, they fluctuated between 7 and 15 members. Dr. Music was truly the creation and dream of noted arranger/keyboardist Doug Riley.

Riley’s music experience had started years before, when he was recruited to get musicians for CTV’S ‘The Ray Stevens Show’ for season 1969-1970. That was the birth of Dr. Music. When the show was cancelled, Dr. Music decided to stay together, release recordings and tour to support their music.
The first release under the Dr. Music moniker was "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" on RCA Records, a split single with The Laurie Bower Singers for a Canadian version of the international Coca-Cola jingle.

Proudly Canadian: Robbie Lane (and the Disciples)

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Formed in the 1960’s in Toronto, Ontario, Robbie Lane and the Disciples started out as a back-up group for Ronnie Hawkins and later became the host band on CBC’s teen show, ‘It’s Happening’.

In 1964, they released ‘Fannie Mae’ and achieved their first airplay on radio followed by ‘Ain’t Love a Funny Thing’ in 1965. Also in 1965 The Disciples recorded ‘Baby Ruth’ under a different name, The Butterfingers. Their popularity grew and the played the circuit, developing a faithful following of fans in the Canadian market.

At the end of the decade, Robbie Lane went on to solo career while Terry Bush continued to write and record with one of his career highlights being the theme song for CTV’s ‘The Littlest Hobo’.

Robbie LaneRobbie LaneIn the 1980’s Robbie Lane and the Disciples re-united and are once again active in the live circuit, playing all the faves of their own hits as well as great R&B oldies tunes.

Robbie Lane branched out into a natural career on the radio, and had his own show on the legendary 1050 chum, just before they changed format to all talk.

Proudly Canadian: Skylark


Submitted by Sandy Graham

Originally from Vancouver, B.C. Skylark was yet another incarnation of one of Ronnie Hawkins’ backup groups, who were signed to Capitol Records and releases their self-titled album in 1972. The album had three single releases from it, with the biggest hit being ‘Wildflower’, a # 1 hit in Canada, and peaking at # 9 on the US Charts and sold over a million copies. It is still a standard on retro radio and  was written by guitarist Doug Edwards and Dave Richardson, who was a Victoria police officer at the time. ‘Wildflower’ is an early example of the power ballad, featuring a strong, emotional lead vocal, a blend of electric guitar, strings and harp, distinctive "slow dance" percussion, and almost-gospel background vocals. It has since been covered by Johnny Mathis, The New Birth, The O'Jays, Kenny Rogers, Aaron Neville, Gary Morris, Color Me Badd, Phil Perry, Lisa Fischer, Hong Kong superstar Sandy Lam, Lana Wolf and sampled by Tupac Shakur and Jamie Foxx. This song was also covered by Jodeci.

Skylark also included renowned composer/arranger David Foster. Unfortunately they disbanded after the lukewarm reception of their second album, 2, but its members achieved mixed success in other projects.

Proudly Canadian: SNOW

Snow Photo Credit Tanya Ernandez-Dennis.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Tanya Ernandez-Dennis

Darrin Kenneth O'Brien better known by his stage name Snow, is a Juno Award winning Canadian reggae musician. He is best known for his 1992 single "Informer", which reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Snow was born and raised in the North York district of Toronto, Ontario. For much of his childhood, he lived in the Allenbury Gardens public housing, and at the age of 16 moved to Ajax, Ontario. Growing up in a diverse neighbourhood, O'Brien blended dancehall and reggae with rock and popular music to create his own unique style of music. In 1988, Jamaican-born DJ Marvin Prince witnessed O'Brien deejaying at a party and the two quickly became friends. For the next few years, they practiced in Prince's basement with Snow providing vocals and Prince scratching the turntables. While on a trip to New York City, Prince mentioned Snow to rap star M.C. Shan. Shan then invited Snow to New York and introduced him to music producers, David Eng and Steve Salem. Snow eventually signed a contract to record on their Motorjam/Elektra record label and in 1993 released his debut album 12 Inches of Snow.

Proudly Canadian: Harmonium


Submitted by Sandy Graham

The origins of Montreal’s Harmonium date back to when lead vocalist and guitarist Serge Fiori met Michel Normandeau (vocals and guitar) in a theatre music meeting on November 1972. In 1973 they met bassist Louis Valois and became Harmonium. The legendary radio station on Montreal, CHOM FM, was instrumental in breaking the band, playing three tracks;"Pour un Instant", "Un Musicien Parmi Tant D'autres", and "Un Refrain Parmi Tant D'autres". The first 2 songs were demos and were later recorded in the studio and  put on their first album, Harmonium. The last song was a sequel to "Un Musicien Parmi Tant D'autres", but never made the album cut, staying unreleased. The single ‘Pour Un Instant’ stayed in steadfast rotation for many years on FM Radio, both in the English market as well as French.

Proudly Canadian: Crowbar

Submitted by Sandy Graham

Crowbar is not to be confused with an American grunge band during the 90s of the same name. While in a local Toronto band called The Ascots, Roly Greenway and Rheal Lanthier decided a change was in order, so they packed up their bags and headed to Nevada, and for the next couple of years on a nightly basis they played various Vegas clubs, opening for the likes of Zsa Zsa Gabor and even Liberace.

By '69 he'd looked up Lanthier and they decided to reform the band, now calling themselves The Royal Ascot Review. Also in the group was Kelly Jay, whose real name is Blake Fordham, and ex-Ronnie Hawkins' harmonica player, King Biscuit Boy (Richard Newell). But when Hawkins approached Newell to put together his new back-up band, The New Ascots became Ronnie Hawkins and Many Others, which also included guitarist John Gibbard, Richard Bell on keyboards, and Larry Atamaniuk on drums.

Proudly Canadian: Zappacosta

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Submitted By Sandy Graham

Alfredo Peter ‘Alfie’ Zappacosta was born in Sora, Italy and is a Canadian singer/songwriter who has one of those great legacies that turned his career name into one word – Zappacosta. His first experience into the professional scene was in 1979 when he as a front man for the band called Surrender, which he left in 1983. His self-titled debut album had his first single release ‘Passion’ and the second release ‘We Should Be Lovers’ made in to # 35 on the Charts in 1985.

Also a talented actor, that same year he portrayed Che Guevara in Richard Ouzounian’s production of Evita at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1985 also brought about his joining with other Canadians to aide in the African famine relief efforts in the recording of ‘Tears Are Not Enough’.

His second solo album, A-Z, was released in 1986 and in 1987, Walt Disney's Danger Bay producer approached Zappacosta with a script written specifically for him. The episode "Rock Star" catapulted Zappacosta to a new kind of fame in acting.In the same year, he penned "Overload", which was written and performed exclusively for the multi-platinum soundtrack "Dirty Dancing" and Loverboy recorded Zappacosta's "That's Where The Money Goes" for their Wildside album. In 1988, he was awarded two JUNO’s for "Album of The Year “and “Most Promising Artist”, an American Music Award for "Most Popular Album of The Year" and a Canadian Publishers Music Association's "Best Rock Star".

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