This year's 50th-anniversary edition of the Juno Awards starts pumping up the hype and anticipation today with the announcement that the full slate of nominees is to be announced on March 9. The first edition was billed as the Gold Leaf Awards and held at St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto on Feb. 23, 1970, with sandwiches and coffee served after the ceremony. This year's golden anniversary event is scheduled for broadcast from Scotiabank Arena on May 16 by CBC TV, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, the free CBC Gem streaming service in Canada and globally at www.cbcmusic.ca/junos. Stan Klees, co-founder (with Walt Grealis) of the original awards and a record producer of note in his day, turns 89 on April 29.
– It took years to have Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognize Rush, and now a group is pushing for recognition of the Guess Who. The petition and the letter to R&R Hall of Fame president Greg Harris can be found at Guess Who 4 The Hall on the change.org website.
– While the list of songwriters who have sold all or part of their IP grows longer daily, a small but notable number of Canadians have quietly taken advantage of the goldrush to acquire song catalogues. Primary Wave acquired Glenn Gould’s publishing, master royalties, name and likeness three years back. Others known to have sold all or part of their catalogues and or likeness include Paul Anka (Primary Wave), David Foster (peermusic) Rush (Anthem Ent.), Tom Cochrane (unknown), Triumph (Round Hill), and Neil Young (Hipgnosis Songs).
– Former Canadian music industry exec John Alexander is back at home after a near-fatal stabbing resulting from a car-jacking in his hometown Redondo Beach. Alexander, a former Ottawa teacher and singer in mid-'70s band Octavian, was instrumental in the success of Alanis Morissette, signing her as a teen for two albums with MCA Canada and later steering her to work with Glenn Ballard on her breakthrough Maverick Records’ album, Jagged Little Pill. Karen Bliss reports on the details of his attack and near-miraculous survival in Billboard. For those in the know, Alexander earlier expressed frustration that he has been unable to win acknowledgment for his career success here in Canada. Maybe now is the time to give him his due.
– Storied singer-songwriter Keith McKie’s life is eerily mirrored in the new flick A Song For Us, directed by Peter Hitchcock that was shot in Toronto and now is available as a streamer rental. Hitchcock, like McKie, is a Brit who moved to Toronto and earlier had worked on the kids’ sci-fi puppet series Fireball XL5.
– Now in its 10th year, SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival has announced two additions to its leadership team: Jordan Travis has taken on the role of Executive Director, while Virginia (Gin) Shulist is the festival’s new Operations Manager.
– We’re all sad to see CIMA’s former captain Stuart Johnston leave the biz, but cheers to him nonetheless on his new post as CEO at the Canadian Assoc of Gastroenterology.
– Publishing exec Michael McCarty’s new endeavour, Kilometre Music Group, includes producer Gavin Brown and Barometer Capital asset management CEO Greg Guichon on its board. You can refresh your memory for Mike in our Nov. 2020 interview with the former SOCAN exec.
– Yorkville-era pop star Dave Bingham has authored a book about his life and times and continues to promote the era and his more current musical endeavours, which includes a YouTube channel that is slowly amassing a noteworthy catalogue of original footage from the era and his ever ongoing career.
– Have Mercey tells Larry Mercey’s story about the formation and success of The Mercey Brothers, a brotherly trio that released 18 albums, had multiple hits, won seven Junos and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989. Copies by writing firstname.lastname@example.org. Price: $25.00 plus shipping and handling.