Governor General Mary Simon named 85 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Wednesday, including three musicians (see below) and two music industry titans, including maverick CanCon entrepreneur Alexander Mair, who is now a Companion Member, as per the news announcement “for his visionary and enduring contributions to the Canadian music industry.”
Often the outlier in the music industry, quiet in person and yet voluble in public forums (such as CRTC hearings) when it came to advocating for Canadian artists, he started in the ‘50s working in a record shop after school and DJing at weddings and dances, earning enough notice to be hired by Capitol Records and then to United Artists where he promoted Gordon Lightfoot’s first four albums (all platinum sellers) and helped the Irish Rovers earn a North American hit with The Unicorn song.
In 1968 he struck out on his own to manage Lightfoot, a successful union that lasted eight years, after which he launched Attic Records, with Tom Williams, in 1974 with $300,000 raised from private partners that included members of the Irish Rovers. Between 1974 and 2000, when the firm was sold to Song Corp., Attic Records spent over $30 million on recording and promoting Canadian artists, receiving 114 gold, platinum and multiplatinum awards from the US, UK, Holland, Japan and Canada. In 1980 the imprint won the coveted Canada Export Award from the federal government.
Along the way, Mair has been actively involved in various music industry orgs, serving as director as a director and or president of CIRPA (three times), CAPAC, SOCAN, CMRRA (which he helped co-found), CMPA, serving on the boards of FACTOR and RadioStarmaker Fund, and between 2001-2006 he financed the publication of Applaud! –a controlled-circulation magazine promoting Canadian artists internationally.
In total, Governor General Mary Simon announced 85 new appointments to the Order of Canada and 4 promotions within the Order on Wednesday, June 29. The new appointees include 1 Companion (C.C.), 13 Officers (O.C.) and 71 Members (C.M.). As well, 3 individuals were promoted from Officer to Companion, and 1 Member was promoted to Officer.
Other notables appointed as Order of Canada Members in music arts include:
James Thomas (Jim) Byrnes, C.M., O.B.C. Vancouver, "for his ongoing contributions to the arts, notably as an actor and musician, and for his active charitable work."
Ben Mink, C.M., Vancouver, "for his sustained contributions to Canadian music as a producer, multi-instrumentalist and writer."
Gérard Jean, C.M.- Winnipeg, "for his contributions to raising the profile of Franco-Manitoban song in Canada and within the Francophonie."
Fred Pellerin, C.M., C.Q. -Saint-Élie-de-Caxton, "for his contributions to the revival of the art of storytelling in Canada and throughout the Francophonie."
James Malcolm (Jim) West, C.M. - Montréal, "for his contributions to the Canadian recording industry, and for supporting and championing our country’s talent."