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The Essential Series - 2017 Canadian Classics (Volume 1), by Gdazegod
» Posted by Avatar

gdazegod
on May 16 2017, In Blogs , 15 Comments , 272 Reads , Print


ARTICLE: The Essential Series - Canadian Classics (Volume 1), by Gdazegod
YEAR: 2017

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Background
Call it what you will. Mapleleaf Mayhem, Prairie Rock, North of the Border Metal.. one thing is for certain, the Canadians sure have released a ton of good rock music over the decades, and here's our first volume. There's so much to cover, and so many albums to include on future volumes, but we gotta start somewhere right. The two hotspots for Canadian activity has always been Toronto in the east and Vancouver in the west. Ottawa and Montreal to a lesser extent, so too Winnipeg, though there is no doubting that some superb acts have originated from all those places. Back in the late 60's and early 70's, Canadian rock music seemed to be aimed at folk/country influences, and it wasn't until the Bachman Turner Overdrive and their swandri-checked clothing gear arrived, that things tended to heavy up. Other bands like The Guess Who, Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush, Heart and the Led Zep fuelled power-trio Rush also propelled things along, making the late 70's and 80's a fantastic era for the Canadians. Here's my first cut, more to follow in future volumes.


The Albums


Wrabit - 1982 Tracks
I'm an unabashed fan of this album, and it still remains high on my list of 1980's favourite releases. Though the debut album from the year before 'Wrough And Wready' earned a gushing review from Sounds Magazine writer Paul Suter, for me it is 'Tracks' that lifts it up a gear. The songs are breathtaking and relentless. From 'Run For Cover' all the way through to 'There Was A Time', the album is a winner. If I was awarding an 11 out of 10, 'Tracks' would probably get it. Thrilling stuff.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Bryan Adams - 1984 Reckless
This guy tipped 1985 on it's head with his breakout album 'Reckless', released at the tail of 1984. Hit singles galore, songs all over radio, and a catchy delivery system ensured worldwide appreciation. I still listen to 'Reckless' often, and as far as longevity is concerned, this one still hangs around like the half-life of Uranium. Will we still be listening to it in 500 years time? Not if Donald Trump can help it.. Seems 'Reckless' is an appropriate term to be given to the Prezzi-Dent.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Aldo Nova - 1982 Aldo Nova
Whirling helicopters, guns, laser sound effects and tiger-skin jumpsuits. This album had it all. Much like the debut Night Ranger LP which was released about the same time, 'Aldo Nova' is a stunning debut album from the one-man does it all. 'Fantasy' the lead single was all over radio and rightly so, but the rest of the album is high on classy AOR. IMHO, there's not a sign of weakness here. Tracks 1 to 10 are the bee's knees. One for the ages, and yeah, 1982 was a fantastic year all round.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Lee Aaron - 1987 Lee Aaron
A noticeable change on this record for Canada's Metal Queen. Gone were the Viking furs and heavy metal overtones, for something a little more sophisticated and high class. This 1987 album reeks of major label AOR, and most of the tunes here are superb. The Wrabit pairing of John Albani and Chris Brockway go some way toward driving this down AOR Boulevard, and not Heavy Metal Alley. 'Powerline', 'Hands Are Tied', 'Empty Heart' and the awesome ballad 'Only Human' makes this an essential listen.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Streetheart - 1978 Meanwhile.. Back In Paris
One of the best bands from the Canadian Prairies, who earned a lot of love and respect during the 70's and 80's. With Winnipeg origins, the band juggled several albums and record labels during their run, but it's their debut which kinda does it for me. I've always enjoyed songs like 'Action' (a Canadian radio staple), 'Can You Feel It' and the superb 'Captain Rhythm'. The album takes several directions, through AOR, power-pop and the 70's Brit rock of 'Move On Over'. Their 80's discography is quite strong, and there's plenty to listen to, should you accept the challenge.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Sheriff - 1982 Sheriff
It was those high falsetto vocals from singer Freddy Curci that stole the show on this 1982 album. This Toronto band should have been huge back in the day, but their path to fortune and glory all came about years after the band had actually broken up. The hit single 'When I'm With You' actually became a number one in 1988, of all things. Two parts of this band, and three parts of Heart, became the band Alias, who took 1990 by storm. Two other parts of this band became Frozen Ghost. The world certainly works in mysterious ways.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Coney Hatch - 1982 Coney Hatch
Upon acquiring this in 1982, it took awhile for me to warm up to it, but in the end, I ultimately did. The band had connections to Pye Dubois, who in turn had connections to Kim Mitchell, Rush and the Anthem label. Sporting two singers in Carl Dixon and Andy Curran, Coney Hatch certainly had the songs and the attitude. 'Devils Deck' is a bonafide class, 'You Ain't Got Me', 'We Got The Night', 'Hey Operator' and 'Monkey Bars' are all kinda cool too. The band went out on the road with Judas Priest in 1982. No small feat for a fledgling band.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Eight Seconds - 1990 Big Houses
Here's another Ottawa band which makes the list. Eight Seconds had been around since the mid eighties, and specialised in AOR meets a new romantic style which was quite bombastic and keyboard heavy. Fine by me. 'Almacantar' was their first full length album back in 1986, but it's the second one called 'Big Houses' which came out four years later that gets bragging rights here. 'Tell Diane', 'Chopin's Heart' and the totally overblown 'Thorn In My Side' are all sensational tracks, and the keyboard work from Frank Levin is off the charts.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Reckless - 1980 Reckless
I didn't pick this LP up until 1981, but by then, Ottawa band Reckless were already out of the bag. They were given big coverage in Sounds Magazine, despite EMI Canada's poor PR campaign locally. Never the mind, as EMI affiliates picked up the album for release elsewhere. There are a string of excellent songs here. 'Searching For A Dream', 'Ready For Action', 'Victim Of Time', and the title track 'Reckless' are all killer tunes. It took close to four decades for this to get a CD release. Thank the lord for small mercies, and Rock Candy Records.

Refer GDM article: Click here..



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Surrender - 1979 Surrender
Somewhere along the way, we couldn't mention Canadian melodic rock without the name Alfred Zapapcosta popping up. And here he is: with arguably one of the late 70's great underrated records. That first Surrender album was a closet classic in my books, from the Gino Vannelli like ballad of 'Nicole' to the amazing dramatic bombast of 'Turn Down The Mission', still recognised as one of the greatest pomp tunes exported out of Canada. Years later, Escape Music would release a bumped up CD full of many extra tracks. Then of course there are all the Zappacosta solo albums as well. When it comes to Surrender, I feel I'm preaching to the converted here at GDM, but you know how it is..

Refer GDM article: Click here..




In Summary
As a first crack at putting together a Canadian list, you can imagine there are hundreds more to come. This is just the beginning. Some albums may overlap into other Essential Series articles written by other writers. We'll see how that goes over time.


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Facebook Comments
Comments
#1 | Eric on May 17 2017 01:08:43
What? No Harlequin?
#2 | tompa on May 17 2017 04:09:46
Didn't expect to see Frank Marino on that list although his What's Next (to pick One) deserved A place on there. But that Surrender...A perfect album. 8 songs, ranked by myself from great to even better. Absolutely stunning album. Same goes for Reckless.
#3 | Explorer on May 17 2017 05:31:33
A superb list, back then I didn't really differentiate between Canada and the USA, it was all 'North American' for me, and I just couldn't get enough of it.
#4 | melodiapositiva on May 17 2017 06:06:09
I dont know what canadian bands have that makes them different,but what i know is that a lot of them are among my favourite bands.
I miss Saga and triumph on this list ,but im sure next time they will be.

From this list my favourite is Eight seconds ,an spectacular album with an amazing keyboardist that i would like to know more about him .

I love Wrabit and their 3 albums,but i never was convinced on the vocals ,they could be even better.
The sheriff album is fine but without the vocals of Curci it wouldnt be so great .
Im still trying to like Surrender ,but for me it lacks something ,and i love Alfie vocals ...ill try againhelpless
#5 | Jez on May 17 2017 06:58:23
Some great picks on their especially Wrabit, Aldo, Reckless and Coney Hatch. Look forward to part 2 Wink
#6 | dangerzone on May 17 2017 07:29:50
Good list, 'Tracks' is one of the greatest melodic rock albums of all time. I would have found space for Loverboy mind you, probably 'Keep it Up' or 'Get Lucky.'
#7 | gdazegod on May 17 2017 10:56:56
Loverboy, Triumph, Frank Marino, Ian Thomas, maybe Harlequin, there might be a Chilliwack LP too. Saga are already in the Pomp List, and as I said in my Summary, some bands might end up being in a crossover situation, as in the cases of Saga.
#8 | bpdp3 on May 17 2017 13:03:25
Not fair to list the omissions, but looking forward to parts 2, 3 and so on...! I love the early 80's Canadian AOR bands....constantly searching for bands I jokingly call the "poor man's loverboy" like haywire or honeymoon suite. Great reading, George!
#9 | Nick C on May 17 2017 20:10:35
Great stuff on there.

Melodicapositiva...I think for me what makes the Canadian bands different is that they seem to have this slightly quirky feel about them, something a little off the wall. It seems to run through the veins of even the more successful bands.
#10 | melodiapositiva on May 18 2017 02:43:55
You're right Nick, that quirky feel it's what i like and what i look for. I'm thinking of Zon right now.
#11 | jefflynnefan on May 18 2017 10:47:29
Chrissy Steele's debut would be on my list. I still enjoy listening to her CD all these years later. I never cared for Lee Aaron.
#12 | gdazegod on May 18 2017 10:54:27
Chrissy Steele is very good, but it sounds too close to a Headpins record for mine.
#13 | reyno-roxx on May 19 2017 00:48:34
I think any female singer Brian McLOUD worked with after Darby ultimately sounded like the Headpins. Jackie Eynon's demo tracks recorded with Brian were the same.
#14 | jeffrey343 on May 23 2017 03:09:21
There were some other artists I expected to see, as others mentioned - Loverboy, Triumph, Rush, Saga, Honeymoon Suite, Headpins, Prism. But, I guess this shows me just how many artists came from Canada. I had never really given it that much thought before, but there was a lot of really good stuff that came from there.
#15 | gdazegod on May 23 2017 12:46:16
Jeff, it's only Volume 1.
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