In the Caribbean recently, photo by Kenny Thomson
In the Caribbean recently, photo by Kenny Thomson

Friends Remember Gerry Lacoursiere

We have collected memories and salutes to a giant of Canada's contemporary music business. A man brimming with compassion who listened and when needed provided sage advice to all and any and a businessman who was known to be a tiger when it came to chasing a record he believed. He was always fair in his dealings with artists, managers and others he negotiated deals with. A gentleman whose legacy touched many.

Doug Chappell

– Gerry was not just a boss he was such a pleasure to work with (for) I did it twice, he was a friend as well that could be relied upon in good or bad times.

I was fortunate to learn the record business and life in it from two of the best, the dynamic duo of Gerry & Joe.

Ann Chappell

– I first knew Gerry as Doug’s employer but soon learned that he was a friend and caring family man. There was an occasion that Gerry had the guys away during Valentine's Day ..... Gerry sent all the wives flowers.

Robert Gold

— We lose a legend and also a friend.

Ian Marchant

— I can't tell you when I first met Gerry, other than it was sometime in the early 80s in the A&M lounge for a listening party, but over my years in the music industry, Gerry did play a part in my success and in showing me how one should act in business.

I still remember like it was yesterday being welcomed by Gay and Gerry at their home to my first A&M Picnic after I become part of the extended A&M family when I joined Virgin. The stories of the A&M family are still true to this day.

Once when Doug was away, I got a call from Gerry telling me that we, Virgin Canada, needed to decide if we were going to go ahead with A&M and sign Rita MacNeil to a distribution deal.  I consulted with Laura, called Gerry back and said: "yes we're in".  The rest, as they say, is history.

Gerry was instrumental in my being chosen to work on the marketing of the digital compact cassette in Canada for those labels that were backing it in the early 90s.  Gerry set it up so that I had an office across the hall from him at PolyGram and his door was always open for a quick hello or a nugget of advice.

As I was coming to the end of the contract for the DCC group in June 94, Gerry approached me about joining PolyGram to work in the music licensing department.  I was just about to get married and embark on my honeymoon and asked him if I could give him an answer upon my return. He, of course, said yes. Upon my return, I called him up and said "I'd love to join PolyGram and work in music licensing" to which he said "Well the job has changed." It turns out that while I was away my old boss from Virgin, Doug Chappell, was appointed President of Mercury/Polydor and Doug was in need of an interim national sales person to fill in while Ken Graydon, the VP of Sales for Mercury/Polydor, was being treated for a brain tumour.  I readily accepted the opportunity to work with Doug again and stayed with PolyGram for 3 years.  Sadly Ken passed away a few months later.

The last time I saw Gerry was at the Joe Summers memorial event.  We had a lovely conversation and I was able to thank him for how he had helped me over the years.

Rest in peace Gerry and thank you.

Kathy Lovell

— I had the privilege of starting my career with A&M Records in 1977.  Gerry, along with Joe Summers, fostered a family atmosphere with the employees, many of whom remain close to this day.  Always a gentleman, Gerry's quiet demeanour, dignified style and strong leadership were key to the success of A&M Canada.  Thanks for all the wonderful memories Gerry- you made a difference in so many lives, including mine.

Frank Davies

— Gerry was such an important part of those early years of the record industry in Canada. The Gerry & Joe show, aka A&M Records Canada, was perhaps the earliest but certainly the most tasteful and successful U.S Indie to put down its roots in Canada - and what a roster they had and built.

My earliest association with Gerry was in connection with the very first Canadian artist signing and release he made soon after opening up the company here - Tundra's "Band Bandit" co-written by my writer John Rutter (misspelt on the label) which I published through my company Love-Lies-Bleeding Music. Then in 1974/5, I did a P&D deal with Gerry to move my Daffodil label to A&M for distribution. One of the earliest Daffodil releases distributed by them was George Martin's production of our artist The Huggett Family. Gerry invited the Huggett's to perform at their annual A&M Conference in Quebec that year.

Notwithstanding having an eclectic and wide range of superstar artists like Supertramp, Cat Stevens, Murray Head, the Carpenters, Joe Cocker, Herb Alpert and the Police, to name a couple (!), Gerry felt they'd never seen anything quite like this six member Canadian family who played only Renaissance music on original instruments and in period costume, and he said they deserved to be heard and promoted alongside A&M's best.

Though I moved Daffodil on to GRT and back to Capitol a while later I always valued our time with Gerry, Joe, Doug and A&M. Gerry's ilk will likely never grace our industry again.

RIP Dear Gerry. Frank Davies

Roy Hennessy

— The Canadian record industry will always remember Gerry who was so instrumental in its early development and the development of many legendary artists. And those of us who have known him from the broadcast industry throughout the years will also remember what he gave to us… the descriptions of what he meant to all of us could go on endlessly …but in the end… I believe that we would concur that he was “a class act”… in all ways a true gentleman and a true friend.

Merryl Lynn Alpert

— Dear Gay and family; David and I are so sad at the passing of a dear, yet not too close, friend. Our infrequent get-togethers were the most cherished and remembered times of our lives. It is with the fondest memories, we will long remember Gerry and of course, YOUI

Ed Preston

— Wow! Talk about a Canadian Achiever, Gerry was one of our Best.  He was certainly one of our Music Industry's most respected Record Men both as a unique Record Company Builder and a true believer in the Artists and their Music.

His passing has brought back great memories of a Convention in Amsterdam where Gerry, Joe and our wives shared our free time together Toasting the Tulips and Laughing till it Hurts.

A Good time with Gerry was always a Great Time.

My condolences to the family.

Michael Godin

— I am so very sad about Gerry’s passing. Gerry hired me in 1975 to run the A&R department. I was fresh out of radio as Music Director and DJ. I had no record label experience but he believed in my ears and my ability to hear the potential and future success for recording artists.

He taught me the ropes of the music business and was such a fantastic mentor. He was a great record man who believed in his staff and our artist roster, and he gave me the rope to stretch out with to work with and develop the artists.

I am forever proud of the artists I signed with his blessing, including Bryan Adams, the Payolas, Paul Janz, The Arrows, CANO, and many others.

My only regret is that I will not be able to attend the funeral next Tuesday, as I will be at the Memorial Service for my Mom in Gatineau, Quebec.

Gerry, I love you, respect you and will miss you very much.


JP & Lorna Guilbert

— Lorna and I feel very lucky that we had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Gerry only a few months ago while he was visiting St. Maarten with Gaetane.

We had lunch at the Galley and spent several hours reminiscing about the good old times and most of you reading this were a part of this conversation.

Gerry was a Great Record Man and a Friend... We are happy to have been part of his life and saddened by his loss.

Nevin Grant

— Gerry and his small but enthusiastic crew really knew how to work a record and promote an artist!  How well I recall “CAT WOMAN” by Abaco Dream and “SONG OF JOY” by Miguel Rios.

A&M Records was fortunate to have Gerry Lacoursiere working for their label.

God Bless You, Gerry.

Graham Henderson

— Gerry Lacoursiere was a giant of the Canadian music industry and he will be sorely missed.

Gerry was a long time, valued member of the Board of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada) from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, and Chairman of the Board for terms in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  He started A & M Records of Canada in 1969 with a skeleton crew and grew it into one of the most successful record companies in Canada with branch offices across the country.  He was one of the original engineers of the modern Canadian recording industry and his passion for the music, the artists and the industry was widely felt.

Our sincere condolences to Gerry’s family and friends for this terrible loss.

Jane & Ross Reynolds

— Gerry was a fierce competitor and a good friend. We were playing a “friendly” game of squash years ago and I was afraid that his head was going to explode. As competitive as he was, I respected Gerry and the company that he ran, A&M, more than any other company. They achieved enormous success but seemed to have a great time getting there. His departure is the end of an era.

Derek Sutton

— I just remember that he made it easy to do business -- even when we disagreed!

Bill Ott

— It is indeed a sad day.

Gerry was a mentor and friend. A great businessman, he always displayed a large measure of honesty, integrity and class in his dealings with artists, the trade and his employees. He loved the music and the artists who created it. His legacy will live on in the wonderful companies he shepherded and the artists they represented. It was a privilege to have been associated with him for more than forty years and to call him a friend.

Bernie Finkelstein

— Sad news about Gerry. Just saw him at the last R&R summer get together but so it goes.     

Here’s my story.

I like so many others was a great admirer of Gerry Lacoursiere.

I only got to work with Gerry once, as during the whole period that he was at A&M, my label True North was with CBS/Sony, but we became friendly at various industry functions and also at the ball park.

Gerry was a baseball fan as I was, and we’d bump into each other at the games and talk about, well you guessed it, the music business and baseball.

As it turns out I was involved with the Blue Jays theme “Okay Blue Jays” which was played and is still played in the seventh inning stretch at all the Blue Jays home games.

I told Gerry that I was thinking about putting out the theme as a single as the Jays were looking like they were playoff bound. The year was 1985.

Gerry told me that he would love to distribute that record. I, of course, had the option to put it out on True North but Gerry’s love of the game and our growing friendship convinced me to give it to A&M for distribution, and the rest is history, at least around my kitchen.

We quickly released the single to retail in September and the Jays continued their winning ways, and before you knew it, the single went gold (then 50,000 45’s) and was selling hundreds more each and every day and growing. Radio was playing the song, especially in Toronto, and as long as the Jays kept on winning everything was moving in the right direction.

Gerry and I would talk about it almost every day and we were having a ball. What could be better than both music and baseball wrapped up in one package.

And then the Jays lost the seventh game of their playoff series and bang, it was done. The day after the Jays lost, the record sold absolutely zero copies.

It was over, but better than sales or even further playoff games, my friendship with Gerry continued.

I admired him greatly. He was a terrific record man and a terrific person. I’m so grateful that the one thing we worked on together went gold.

I’m going to miss him.

Rest In Peace Gerry.

Nick Carbone

To you Gerry  & Family...

To a great president, a leader, a Fishing Buddy.

Gerry, you made me a Very Good Record man and I  thank you.

We were the Best because of your love for the music and the business.

My prayers are with you and your family.  By the way, say hello to Joe for us.

Warren Cosford

— Personally, I can't tell you that I knew Gerry very well.  What I can tell you is that, when Doug Thompson and I decided to create what became a 24 hour Documentary series called The Producers, aside from all the well-known names you might think of if you were working in Music or Radio from Phil Spector thru George Martin and Bob Ezrin, only two of our programs were created to honour particular Record Labels......Motown and A&M.

Both Dougie and I felt that there was something about The Culture of A&M that set them apart.  To me at least, unlike Motown, it wasn't  a "Sound" it was an "Attitude".  A&M somehow "fit" between The Majors and The Indies. Of course "Culture" always begins at The Top.  That was Gerry.  In a very understated and modest way.  When I first walked into A&M Canada, the first thing I saw was the Pool Table.  How "cool" was that?  I don't think I ever played on it, but it just sort of set a "tone" to the place that said.....'we're different'.

Condolences to all.

Alexander Mair

— Gerry called me shortly after his arrival in Canada. He had worked for United Artists, the label my client Gordon Lightfoot was signed to, and wanted to understand why Lightfoot sold so many records in Canada. I watched as he carefully hired a great team and broke many acts in Canada. When they were big enough to be self-distributed, I was impressed how successful they were. And we were proud to join Gerry and Joe as a distributed label. We had nine exciting years with them, and always had fun dealing with them. Gerry was truly a 'record man', among the best.

Kenny Thomson

— From my early days as a youth with Supertramp and Chris de Burgh I always looked up to and respected Gerry's wise advice, a true giant amongst men!

As recently as November past I had the great pleasure along with JP and Lorna of spending the day with Gerry and Gaye in St Maarten. What I noticed most was the twinkle in his eye and wicked sense of humour were still burning as brightly as ever!

Heaven has just gained a true legend! My love and condolences to Gaye and the family.

Larry LeBlanc

— Anything I would write about Gerry at this moment would sound trite to his memory, and to my experiences with him and his family. He is very much part of me. I wouldn't have the career I have without his support, guidance, and mentorship. Our families are intertwined. We have been there for countless Lacoursiere moments outside music over our 45 years of friendship. My daughter Robin's middle name is "Germaine" in honour of Gerry.

Gerry was a remarkable self-taught music executive of the highest order. Sharp, perceptive, combative at times, and someone who returned by the end of the day every single phone call he received. He had an open-door policy, and he listened.  He had the advantage of having an insider's mind to both deal with an ever-changing music industry and dealing with its difficult and colourful figures.

I have been fortunate in the past year to have spent a great deal of time with Gerry, and I videotaped two 90 minute video interviews with him late last year. I will treasure those as I will his memory.

Sam Feldman

— Gerry was tough, fair, and great to deal with because he was a straight shooter.

I hope he and Joe are travelling together again.

We need more guys in the business like them.

Arnold Gosewich

— Like most of you, I come from the generation of the 50’s to the 70’s in the music industry and share the same grief you all do that Gerry has passed.

He was a pioneer like a lot of us in the inherent risks of Canadian talent development.  And he did it with great success along with the Joe.

He came into my life looking for distribution on behalf of a “start-up” for A&M.  What a “start-up” it turned out to be.  I too spoke with Gerry at the R&R party when it was held at Roger’s home.  A lot of reminiscing that will stick in my mind forever because Gerry was a person I was proud to know.

I am sure you all felt the same way.

Dave Charles

— For me, I’ll remember the first Bryan Adams album, the launch of Keith Hampshire and the amazing Jann Arden’s ‘Time For Mercy’ release.

A & M had one of the best marketing and promotion teams in the Canadian music industry that always punched above its weight to get their artist airplay.

We were so glad that Gerry had time to spend with his many friends at last year's Radio and Record’s party at the Cadillac Lounge.  I know he really enjoyed talking to his many friends such as Al Mair and Arnold Gosewich at our little ‘Garden Party’.  As I recall is was a sunny afternoon and all was good with the world.

Cliff Jones

Gerry was an amazing supporter of the artist I had on A&M records. He was great for the industry as he gave his best, never wavering in his support

He’ll be missed by many. He was a friend always.

Gerry  & Joe what a team.

John Donabie

— My Gerry story.  Back in the late 60's Gerry founded A&M records in Canada.  He was looking for his first promotion person. I was working at CKFH & I thought this might be a great career change. Gerry was conducting interviews out of his new house.  No grass on the lawn; just lots of mud.  He took the time to hear my pitch.

Here's Gerry's class. He called me and told me it was great to talk to me; but he did need someone with experience to start a new company. He hired the legendary Liam Mullen. He let me down easy. After that we became lifelong friends.  I'll miss you Jerry.

R.I.P Gerry

Bill Gilliland

—  Over the years, Gerry and I enjoyed a fabulous friendship and business relationship . . . I and everyone who got to know him will miss him!

Colin Macdonald

— I had the pleasure of working with Gerry at A&M Canada in the very early years and was there to see the company grow from its humble start, tucked away on the 2nd floor of the Lloyd Percival Fitness Institute building, to the Milner Avenue office and warehouse location, and then finally to the terrific Warden Avenue offices.

Gerry guided the company’s growth and success with a deft touch, usually leading, but also confident and wise enough to know when to let others take the lead.

Gerry gave all of us a remarkable amount of freedom and encouragement to grow, both personally and professionally, and I think this helped to produce a feeling of family that I’ve never come close to experiencing anywhere else that I’ve worked.

But like many things in life, “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it's gone” and I certainly didn't fully appreciate just how special Gerry and Joe were as leaders or as people until after I had left A&M. To lose Joe and then Gerry in less than two years is heartbreaking.

R.I.P. Gerry, you’ll be missed more than you can know.

Cliff Hunt

— Gerry was a great guy, an advisor and a friend. Gerry joined our Board of Directors very early on when we were called Musicrypt and gave us immediate credibility both here and in the U.S. Gerry wanted to embrace the "new technology" rather than hide from it like many of his contemporaries. He was always upbeat and supportive in the toughest times and my thoughts are with Gaye and the family.

RIP Gerry, we owe you a great debt of gratitude. 

Bob Johnston

— I became a big fan of A&M records when I was music director at CFCF in Montreal in the '70s with such acts as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Baja Marimba Band, Burt Bacharach, Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66, The Sandpipers, Boyce & Hart, We Five, The Carpenters, Chris Montez, Elkie Brooks, Lee Michaels, Captain and Tennille, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Quincy Jones, Lucille Starr, Stealers Wheel, Gallagher and Lyle, Barry De Vorzon, Perry Botkin Jr., Marc Benno, Liza Minnelli, Rita Coolidge, Gino Vannelli, Wes Montgomery, Paul Desmond, Bobby Tench, Hummingbird, Toni Basil, and Paul Williams. Folk artists Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Gene Clark also recorded for the label during the 1970s. Billy Preston joined the label in 1971, followed by Andre Popp and Herb Ohta in 1973.

Also, I remember going to a Bill Gavin convention in San Fran and flew out there with Gino Vannelli and his brother Joe they were on their way to meet Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. So, writing them letters about artists I was playing on A&M I always got letters back for both of them, I still have some. That was the beginning of my friendship with A&M.

When I finally met the wonderful and talented Gerry Lacoursiere I thought dame I would have like to work with him but with no regrets I left radio to become GM of MCA Quebec and then on to Toronto. My memories of Gerry and his great crew of Doug, Michael, Bill and JP will always be one of the highlights of my life knowing how great they made the music industry then

My sincere condolences to Gerry, his real family and his adopted family the ladies and gents at A&M.

Patricia Silver

— We got signed with A & M records, thanks to Michael Godin and Gerry. We were so grateful for their initiatives in the children's music field. They kick-started our career, which has now spanned the world and lasted for 40 years. Thank you, Gerry, for your vision and support.

Brookes & Fiona Diamond

— We called him “Uncle Gerry” - an ultimate compliment in our part of the world. 

Our first meeting is fondly remembered. It was day one of my first venture into the big world of a major label signing. Rita's Flying on Your Own had sold over 25,000 in three months - just in Nova Scotia - and there was finally national interest from two companies. I’d spent a gruelling couple of hours downtown in a boardroom full of suits hammering hard to do a deal that made no sense. 

There was that one other company to visit. I got there late and flustered. Was this what it was going to be like?

They took me into Gerry’s office. It was roomy and comfortable. He was in jeans and a casual shirt. He motioned me towards a big couch and offered a cold beer.

It was the best bit of music I’d heard all day. 

Gerry laid out the numbers and the deal. Clearly given the sales volume on our own label, a distribution deal was the only sensible option for the artist. A&M would do the distribution and pending Doug Chappel’s approval, he volunteered the Virgin label to partner the marketing with A&M (Doug had been the first to call re Rita but was unreachable at a mountain retreat). There were a couple other significant perks.

I hopped on the plane home knowing this was probably the best deal with the best crowd of folks Rita and I would ever experience. 

It proved to be true. Hanging on Gerry’s mantra to "go with the belief”, we beat our way to five double Platinum albums with gold and platinum records on two other continents. And had a barrel of fun doing it. 

“Go with the belief” is still our mantra here at BDP. 

We should have been calling him Dad.

RIP Gerry, there was none better!

With love and deepest affection to you and Gay and all the family from all of us.

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