RIP: Music Champion Grant Hurley

Retail music industry veteran (Donald) Grant Hurley passed away peacefully on Friday, November 30 at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto after a prolonged fight with cancer. He was 67.

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, he left home early to go to university and travel. On his return, he joined music retail chain Treble Clef in Ottawa and went on to hold various managerial positions with Record Runner, Zounds, Mister Sound, A&A Records, Circle Of Sound and, most recently, Anderson Merchandisers.  

According to friend and music biz sales and marketing vet Greg Pappas, Hurley was "forever a powerful advocate for great music. As any sales rep who attempted to sell him on a new project will testify, he would not tolerate a lack of music intelligence as he was usually more knowledgeable, down to an instant recall of album catalogue numbers that, sometimes, were decades old and expected nothing less in a meeting.” Pappas adds that “Grant could hear a Top 40 hit on first listen.”

Beyond a love of music, books and art, he found great pleasure in travelling and visited many exotic spots in Europe, North Africa and the Americas.

Put in perspective, Grant Hurley was one of the unsung heroes of Canada’s vanishing music retail trade. A champion of many who was championed by few. These unsung heroes more than not worked in unenviable environments for well-heeled owners who who compensated their staff in a fashion that would have made Scrooge proud. He fought his battles to protect his team, and pushed hard on projects he felt deserving. To those who knew him well, he was the real deal in making sure that passion trumped policy whenever possible. He was also compassionate and generous when it was in his power to be so.

A celebration to honour Grant’s life will be held in Spring 2019.

An obituary that appeared in The Globe and Mail can be viewed here.

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