Toronto, ON (October 22, 2019) — The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) today announced the induction of six influential songs from the Toronto music scenes of the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, that will be celebrated at a special concert taking place on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre. Songs included are “Let Your Backbone Slide” (Maestro Fresh Wes), “Rise Up” (Parachute Club), “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” (A Foot in Coldwater), “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” (Klaatu), “Opportunity” (Mandala), and “I Would Be the One” (Kensington Market). The newest song inductions will be celebrated at an industry and public event, DECADES: The Toronto Sound of the ‘60s, ‘70s & ‘80s, with tickets available on sale now via Ticket Web.
“We’re very excited to honour some of the amazing songs that were inspired by, and reflect, the unique city of Toronto – from a group of talented songwriters, who bring different perspectives from three distinct decades,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. “It will be a night filled with nostalgia, fantastic music, and heart. Many thanks to Crowe Soberman and Gowling WLG for their support of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame to produce this inaugural, not-to-be-missed celebration.”
The evening will feature performances by Maestro Fresh Wes, Lorraine Segato (Parachute Club), Alex Machin (A Foot in Coldwater), George Olliver (Mandala), Keith McKie (Kensington Market), and by other surprise guests. The showcase underscores the songwriting prowess of each artist across multiple genres to reflect the diverse communities and sounds of Toronto, from hip hop to psychedelic pop, new wave and soul.
The six songs being inducted into the 2019 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame are:
Written by: Domenic Troiano – 1967
A fine example of the late-1960s Canadian soul music nicknamed “The Toronto Sound,” Mandala’s high-octane 1967 single “Opportunity” was penned by, and featured, the celebrated late Italian-Canadian guitarist Domenic Troiano. “Opportunity” was the debut single for Mandala, the five-piece house band at Club Bluenote in Toronto, where they backed U.S. soul and R&B performers. Mandala also performed at Ronnie Hawkins’ talent-rich club The Hawk’s Nest, before landing gigs to capacity crowds in late 1966 at wildly popular Hollywood clubs such as The Whiskey-A-Go-Go and The Hullabaloo. The 45-RPM single of “Opportunity,” with “Lost Love” on the B-side, was released in late January of 1967. It immediately entered Toronto’s CHUM chart at No. 40, and rose quickly to No. 3 by February 20th.
“I Would Be the One”
Written by: Keith McKie – 1968
Kensington Market’s intriguing 1968 single “I Would Be The One” was a national hit at a time when it was often near-impossible for Canadian artists to get their recordings played on Canadian radio. Although Canadian Content regulations were still a few years away, the single charted for several weeks against stiff competition. Nationally, the single resided at No. 1 on RPM magazine’s Canadian Content chart for two weeks in September, topping the Irish Rovers, Andy Kim and The Stampeders. The single’s success led to Kensington Market playing to capacity crowds in the U.S. in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and Boston. They backed up Jefferson Airplane at its Hamilton University gig.
“Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft”
Written by: John Woloschuk, Terry Draper – 1976
The sci-fi inspired recording “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft,” written by Terry Draper and John Woloschuk of the rock trio Klaatu, became a hit, fuelled in part by rumours that Klaatu were the reunited Beatles. Those rumours, combined with the undeniable high quality of their debut recording, led to “Calling Occupants” peaking at No. 45 in Canada, and reaching Billboard’s No. 62, and drove album sales to 50,000 copies at home, and another half-million in the U.S. Grammy-winning brother-and-sister duo The Carpenters caught the wave, recording a “Calling Occupants” cover in 1977 that earned a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. It was also a Top 10 single hit in many countries around the world including the UK and Japan.
“(Make Me Do) Anything You Want”
Written by: Paul Naumann, Danny Gordon Taylor – 1972
The passionate classic rock ballad “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” was written by A Foot in Coldwater’s Paul Naumann and Danny Taylor. “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want,” with “Alone Together” on the B-side, entered RPM’s top singles chart in June 1972 and became a Top 40 hit not once, not twice, but three times. Radio stations CJOE (London, Ontario) and CKOC (Hamilton) told Billboard Magazine it was the best Canadian single they had played that year. Anything You Want turned A Foot in Coldwater into a hot group right across Canada, and helped secure a worldwide deal for the band with Jac Holzman at Elektra Records in New York. By 1993, the song had earned a SOCAN Classic Award for more than 100,000 airplays. The song was also a hit for Canadian platinum-selling band Helix who recorded it in 1985.
Written by: Billy Bryans, Lauri Conger, Lorraine Segato, Steve Webster, Lynne Fernie – 1983
The SOCAN classic “Rise Up” was one of the first Canadian hit pop recordings to incorporate the mesmerizing rhythms of Caribbean reggae and soca. Under pressure to complete their first album, the seven-member Toronto band Parachute Club approached filmmaker Lynne Fernie, who provided the lyrics for “Rise Up.” Parachute Club performed the anthemic song at a 1983 Toronto Pride event at the University of Toronto, to several hundred fans. Although Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms had recently come into being, gay rights were still in their infancy. Explained Segato, “The impetus for the success of ‘Rise Up’ first came from our grassroots gay, lesbian, and feminist community, who were the first to hear and awaken to our call for equality.” With such a positive response under their belt, Parachute Club recorded “Rise Up” for their self-titled debut album, produced by the now-legendary Daniel Lanois. The song became a hit, with the album going gold by December of 1983, and winning Single of the Year at the 1984 JUNO Awards.
“Let Your Backbone Slide”
Written by: Wesley Williams, Anthony Davis, Peter Davis – 1989
Wesley Williams, the hip-hop MC known as Maestro Fresh Wes, made an independent demo of a danceable rap that he called “Let Your Backbone Slide” in 1989. His act caught the attention of the New York label LMR (Lefrak-Moelis Records); recognizing its potential, they signed Williams to an album deal, which led to the ground-breaking Symphony in Effect album. Co-written and produced by Anthony Davis and Peter Davis at Don Valley Sounds in Markham, Ontario, the album and its lead single “Let Your Backbone Slide” both became history-making hits: the gold single being the first Canadian hip-hop Top 40 hit, and the album going platinum – the first time an album by a Black Canadian had reached that level. As Maestro Fresh-Wes told an interviewer, “As it turned out, we didn’t just make a record, we made history; and that was a beautiful thing. I was just that guy at that particular time.”
About Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and those who’vededicated their lives to the legacy of music, and works to educate the public about these achievements. National and non-profit, the CSHF is guided by its own Board of Directors, who comprise both Anglophone and Francophone music creators and publishers, as well as representation from the record industry. In December of 2011, SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) acquired the CSHF. The Hall of Fame’s mandate aligns with SOCAN’s objectives as a songwriter and publisher membership-based organization. The CSHF continues to be run as a separate organization. www.cshf.ca