In 2011, Yvan Dufresne was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame with a Legacy Award. Pictured here, with Quebec actress and singer Chantal Renaud, at that event in Montreal.
In 2011, Yvan Dufresne was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame with a Legacy Award. Pictured here, with Quebec actress and singer Chantal Renaud, at that event in Montreal.

RIP: Yvan Dufresne 1930--2016

One of the founding fathers of Québec's pop music industry, Yvan Dufresne passed away Sunday, November 13 at age 86.

Impresario, producer, and in hindsight a man possessed with a golden ear, Dufresne helped forge an identity and an audience for a succession of Québec-based pop acts from the 1950s through to the1970s.

His first influence was as Artistic Director at Canada's first record company, Apex Records--a division of the Compo Company of Lachine, Québec that was founded by Herbert Berliner -- the oldest son of recording disc inventor Irving Berliner.

From 1958 through to 1962, he discovered a succession of young singers who were to become homegrown stars, among them Michel Louvain, Donald Lautrec, and Pierre Lalonde.

With a talented ear for spotting and producing records for young francophone artists, he was quick to see the enormous power of television as a platform to promote his artists on. He also saw a benefit in having nascent Québec acts adapt current hits popular on the US and the UK record charts for local consumption. The result was a francophone hit parade that generously adapted hallmark licks and melodies from chart hits originating in the US and the UK . Among these interpreters were Les Classels, Les Coronets, Les Chancelliers, Les Sinners, and Les Miserables.

He went on to team up with pop star and entrepreneur Tony Roman at Jupiter Records from 1963 to 1970, leaving to become President and GM of London Records through until 1979.

Dufresne was also behind the formation of the Québec music industry association l'ADISQ and on October 27 of this year his career was celebrated at the annual ADISQ gala with an off-camera presentation of a Felix Award. Ironically, the decision to honour him off-camera outside of the televised gala was in order to accommodate a similar award presented to widow Céline Dion in recognition of her husband René Angélil's contributions. Dufresne had been a mentor to Angélil before they had success on a global scale.


 

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