It’s been a while since I covered some Canadian music history, so here are three songs (and a radio doc) for your listening pleasure.
Canada has a rich music history – although two of the acts below are technically imports – we still call them our own.
The Diamonds were a vocal quartet out of Toronto that struck gold in 1957 with their hit “Little Darlin”. Altogether they had 16 Billboard hits from 1956 to 1961. Lead vocalist Dave Somerville recently died on July 14, 2015.
My Grandmother used to work as a waitress at the Concord Tavern in Toronto. I remember her telling me stories about the bands and musicians that would come through – particularly Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks who had relocated from Arkansas to Toronto. This clip form 1959 shows the energy of a Ronnie Hawkins show with the added bonus of Mr. Levon Helm on drums. Just amazing.
My Grandmother also used to mention a singer named Jackie Shane who relocated from Nashville to Toronto in the early 60s. Jackie, a former back-up singer for Little Richard was a gay soul singer who performed in drag – not an easy feat at the time I’m sure. Check out the CBC Radio documentary “I Got Mine: The Story of Jackie Shane” below for more detail, but for now just listen.