Saturday, 24 September 2011

Making your move you come down as fast as lightnin' Crossing the stage and now you can feel the excitement

Double Hit – Canadian Rock

“Your Daddy Don’t Know” by Toronto (1982)
“Don’t it Make You Feel” by the Headpins (1982)

I saw Holly Woods, former leader singer of the Canadian Band ‘Toronto’ perform in this rural bar a few years ago. It is sometimes sad to see an act once they are past their prime. Although Holly was pretty good still and had most of the range of her voice, she expressed bitterness that Ann Wilson of Heart recorded “What About Love”, saying it was her song. I looked into this and the song was actually dropped from ‘Toronto’s third album “Get it on Credit” when it came out in the fall of ’82. Too bad Holly. Who knew Ann would make it a hit.

I have kept most of the concert ticket stubs that I have gotten in my life. Going through them though, I discover that I do not have the stub for a concert I attended in ‘1983 that was a ‘double header’ with The Head Pins followed by Toronto, both Canadian rock bands of the era. I thought I would put them back together again just for this blog.

The now bankrupt Solid Gold Records was once the home to several successful Canadian bands including The Headpins, Chilliwack, Toronto, Lee Aaron, Savoy Brown, the Raes, and the Good Brothers.

In  1979 the Durham, North Carolina native, Anne ”Holly” Woods was playing with her band “Sass” in a bar. The bar manager decided to introduce the band as “Toronto” and the name stuck. In the crowd was the management from Solid Gold who signed them up and they quickly produced their first album “Looking for Trouble”. Bill Henderson and Brian MacLeod of Chilliwack produced this harder-edged sound and FM radio soon put songs like “Looking for Trouble” and “Even the Score” on Canadian radio.

A little cross-country tour, and they were back recording their second album with producer Terry Brown (who worked with Rush and Klaatu). “Enough is Enough”, “Silver Screen”, “Still Talking About Love” made the album “Head on” a very solid second effort. They toured Canada again with the likes of the Headpins and Jensen Interceptor.

Toronto’s third album, their best in my opinion was “Get it on Credit”. Although the title track sounds so dated it is cute, the album included rockers “Your Daddy Don’t Know”, “Break Down the Barricade” and “Start Tellin’ the Truth”. I once left a copy of “Get it on Credit” in my car on a sunny afternoon. It melted and warped to teach me a very important lesson about vinyl care and maintenance. (As a side note, I am happy to hear they actually have albums for DJs to ‘scratch’ now – it used to get my back up a bit I must admit when DJs ruined perfectly good records.)

Toronto released “Girls Night Out” in 1983 with some success but that was pretty much the last we heard of Toronto. Vancouver band “The New Pornographers” did a decent cover of “Your Daddy Don’t Know” in 2002.

The Headpins was a side project originally for Brian MacLeod and Ab Bryant of the band Chilliwack.They added drummer Bernie Aubin and singer Darby Mills and ‘boom” they had another band. 

After winning a local radio contest the band joined Solid Gold Records in 1982) and quickly put out the album “Turn it Loud” with the blazing guitar of Brian “Too Loud” MacLeod offsetting the shattering voice of Darby Mills. Soon we heard the growling voice of Mills everywhere with songs like “Don’t It Make Ya Feel”, “Breakin’ Down”, “People” and “Winnin’”.

The Headpins toured North America and Europe and came back in ’83 to follow up with “Line of Fire” with the singles “Just One More Time” and “Don’t Stand in the Line of Fire”. Two years later “Head Over Heels” would sell over 100, 000 albums in Canada but the band took a hiatus for a while. In 1992 Brian MacLeod passed away from this world after his bout with cancer.

I bet when Holly Woods sees the new ‘swiffer’  mop commercial which uses the song “What About Love”, she curses it every time!.

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