Skip to content

Growing Up With Canadian Bands

Growing up in Central Alberta during the 1970s, 630 CHED out of Edmonton and 1140 CKXL out of Calgary were the ultimate stations to listen to – they were 70s AM radio at it’s finest. I remember that if the weather and the night were clear, the reception from these two stations would be excellent. 630 CHED and 1140 CKXL played a lot of great Canadian content; I suspect that was because of the prevailing CanCon requirements of the day. Those two stations influenced the music I listened to, and continue to listen to all these years later.

CKXL and CHED spun music from so many wonderful Canadian bands from a time in Canadian music history I think of as special – roughly 1971 to 1974. Bands and songs I still hold near and dear all these (many) years later are:


Favourite cuts: 1849, Little Kind Words, Pretty Lady

Yep, there were a lot of them in the band, but what a sound they had. Of the 13 band members (later dropping to 11 members), Lighthouse was predominantly led by Skip Prokop and Bob McBride (he of those powerful vocals). I still own a scratchy vinyl copy of Thoughts of Movin’ On, which went to Platinum sales status in Canada (for a relatively under-populated country, that’s a lot of record sales!)

Edward Bear

Favourite cuts: You, Me and Mexico, Masquerade, Last Song, Close Your Eyes

I always loved Larry Evoy’s voice: so perfect for AM radio…

Michel Pagliaro

Favourite cuts: Some Sing, Some Dance, Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy, What The Hell I’ve Got

Surprisingly very popular in English Canada was Michel Pagliaro, who hailed from Montreal. In 1975 he was nominated for a Juno Award as male vocalist of the year. Although he wrote and recorded predominantly in French, Michel Pagliaro reached international success mainly with material released in English. Michel was the first Canadian artist to score top 40 hits on both the Anglophone and Francophone pop charts in Canada. His hit Some Sing, Some Dance transports me back to the early 70s as no other song can.


Favourite cuts: Minstrel Gypsy, Oh My Lady, Carry Me

Ah yes, The Stampeders… Rich Dodson, Ronnie King and Kim Berly. No discussion of Canadian music would be complete without their mention. Having formed in Calgary, they were especially big in the west. The Stampeders scored a hit in 1971 with Sweet City Woman, which won Best Single at the Juno Awards, reached #1 on the RPM magazine charts, and #8 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Written by Rich Dodson, the track stayed in the Billboard chart for 16 weeks and the disc sold a million copies by September 1971, and the R.I.A.A. granted gold disc status.

Kim Berly’s powerful vocals and the lush orchestra work on Minstrel Gypsy and Oh My Lady are simply stunning, and Rich Dodson’s guitar work is haunting. My favourite album of theirs remains Carryin’ On (1971), which I still occasionally play to this day.

On November 21, 2011, The Stampeders received the Lifetime Achievement Award from SOCAN at the 2011 SOCAN Awards in Toronto. In 2015 the band received SOCAN Classic Awards for their songs Monday Morning Choo-Choo and Wild Eyes. They continue to tour Canada playing fairs, festivals, casinos, and theatres.

The Guess Who

Favourite cuts: [Lord, where do I begin on this one?] For starters, how about These Eyes, No Time, American Woman, No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature, Do You Miss Me Darlin’, Rain Dance, Sour Suite

The Guess Who. Well, it doesn’t get any more Canadian than this. These guys were big heroes on the prairies as they hailed from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Guess Who were woven into the very fabric of AM rock radio in the 70s. They occasionally still get together for the odd gig – it was such a kick seeing Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings and the rest, regroup for the big Toronto SARStock concert back in 2003.

Five Man Electrical Band

Favourite cuts: Coming of Age, Julianna, Absolutely Right, Hello Melinda, Goodbye

The band was originally called The Staccatos when they formed in Ottawa during 1963. Their sound, image and personnel eventually evolved into the Five Man Electrical Band, and they were very popular throughout Canada during the early 70s. No one could do vocal harmonies like this group as they all sang – just take a listen to the Coming of Age album and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.


Favourite cuts: As The Years Go By

Mashmakhan formed in 1969 in L’Île-Perrot, Quebec. The band is best known for their 1970 hit single As the Years Go By. The song reached No. 1 in Canada, the Top 40 in the U.S., and was a major hit in Japan.

A Foot In Cold Water

Favourite cuts: (Make Me Do) Anything You Want

Weird name, great sound. When it comes to creating the perfect pop song, A Foot In Cold Water aced it, and then some. (Make Me Do) Anything You Want is a slice of pure perfection; it reached the top 25 on the Canadian record charts in 1972.


Favourite cuts: Cousin Mary, Get Up, Get Out, Move On

From Toronto, brothers Brian and Ed Pilling – previous members of the Wages of the Sin – formed Fludd in 1969 with Jorn Anderson and Greg Godovitz. Godovitz later went on to form his own band, Goddo.


Favourite cuts: West Coast Woman

Formed in Calgary in 1969, Painter were more or less a one-hit act (as far as I’m aware). Their one big hit was West Coast Woman in 1973 (it went to #16 in Canada and #79 on the U.S. Hot 100). After Painter dissolved in 1974 some members went on to form the band Hammersmith.

So many of these songs are special and still give me chills when I hear them. Thank you, fellow Canadians, for all those awesome tunes. They were the soundtrack to my youth, and will stay with me forever.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This