History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

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History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

Postby jon » Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:53 pm

Notes from a critic: Tom Harrison tells the story of Vancouver’s rock history
Vancouver Province
July 4, 2015. 4:15 pm

It’s the book of a lifetime — Tom Harrison’s lifetime.

In his new eBook, Tom Harrison’s History of Vancouver Rock ’n’ Roll, the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame music writer tells the stories of the visionaries and mavericks who transformed the local recording industry from an office with a few microphones into a music hotbed of international stars and producers.

Harrison, a voracious music fan, has been writing about Vancouver’s music scene since the early 1970s.

He was barely out of his teens when he realized he had something to say about the music he was listening to. His writing career began when he wrote a couple of short reviews “sort of for fun” and sent them to the Detroit-based music magazine Creem.

“They actually ran these reviews. It was a bit of a surprise,” said Harrison, who was studying to be a teacher at the University of B.C.

He finished that degree but, ultimately, teaching’s loss was music’s gain. Harrison’s career course was set with those first reviews.

He became the Vancouver correspondent for the Toronto-based monthly magazine Beetle. He would show up at gigs and interviews alongside his rival from the Georgia Straight, Irish music writer Bob Geldof, who would rib Harrison about the rumoured imminent collapse of Beetle magazine.

Geldof was the irreverent interviewer who asked rising rockers KISS why four nice Jewish boys had an SS logo in their name. Harrison’s turn to interview the band came after Geldof had riled them up.

The rumours of Beetle’s collapse came true around the time Geldof headed home to start his own band. Harrison replaced Geldof as the Georgia Straight’s music writer in 1976, and moved to The Province three years later, in time to chart the international rise of a number of Vancouver acts, including Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan and Loverboy.

Harrison liked the young, pre-stadium Bryan Adams, who played a suburban club date the Friday night before coming over to Harrison’s North Vancouver house for lunch and an interview. The animal-loving singer, who had just released his first album, was upset that he had accidentally struck a cat the night before with his purple Volkswagen Beetle.

As karma would have it, a hit-and-run driver struck Adams’s car as he was backing out of Harrison’s driveway.

“Bryan could’t believe that anybody could be drunk by Saturday afternoon,” recalls Harrison.

Harrison crossed paths with KISS again when local newcomers Loverboy opened for the rockers in Vancouver at one of their first stadium gigs.

He interviewed McLachlan when she still had a job making sandwiches at a cafe. She was heading to work there right after they talked.

Fred Turner of Bachman-Turner-Overdrive lived near Harrison’s North Van house, and Harrison mentioned once that he had written a song titled “Looking Out for Number One.” A while afterwards, a different song with that title showed up on the next BTO album.

Years of covering music — especially the do-it-yourself punk scene — had encouraged Harrison to try his own hand, first as a drummer, then singing and songwriting.

His 1980s band had the cheeky name Bruno Gerussi’s Medallion.

Beachcomber TV star Gerussi at first said he was miffed at the band’s parodic name, but later relented and joined them onstage when the band played at a Beachcombers wrap party.

Harrison has never lost his enthusiasm for music — playing it or writing about it.

“I was there at the beginning of the rise of Vancouver and I’m still here,” he said. “Trying to keep up is one of the challenges, there’s so many different ways that people can deliver music.

“Back in the old days, music critics really felt they were on top of everything, because pretty much everything had to come through us. We had all the latest records, all the latest news. We were the conduit between the music industry and the public, and that is no more.”

We might have to disagree with Harrison on that last point. He continues to listen to music from B.C.’s new and independently produced bands, looking for the next thing, and relaying his findings in his Garage column.

“I’ve always been a real believer in B.C. stuff, it’s never wavered that way.”

Download Tom Harrison’s History of Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll at the Apple iBooks, Amazon, Kobo and Google stores.
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Re: History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

Postby theallniter » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:52 am

Tom Harrison’s History of Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll
I fondly remember Tom Harrison's inclusion of the first Black Music radio show in Canada - CKLG-FM - 99.3MHz - "Groovin' Blue" - in his original 'History of Vancouver Rock'n'Roll' that ran in the Vancouver Province in the 1990's.
VanCity was in love with American Black Music in the 60's and early 70's and many music lovers were reminded of that fact by Tom's three(?) articles.
I was thrilled personally 'cuz I knew, as the host/producer of "Groovin' Blue", that the radio show was the first program in The Great White North that was solely concerned and committed to the love and broadcasting of Rhythm 'n' Blues, Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Afro-Cuban etc and the first in Canada to play artists Sly & The Family Stone, Mongo Santamaria, The Trials of Jayson Hoover, Mabel John, Oscar Toney Jr., Sy Risby, Pucho and His Latin Soul Brothers and The Staple Singers to name just a few. Interviews with Joe Tex, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, John Lee Hooker, Bobby Hebb etc were also a mainstay of the program.
While there was a 'pop music' show in Eastern Canada that heavily featured Black Music at around the same time, Groovin' Blue was the first and only program solely dedicated to those New World African Music genres.
Thank you Tom. It surprised me at the time that "Groovin' Blue" was included in your original history-of articles. Going to order the book, right now!!
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Re: History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

Postby radiofan » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:17 pm

theallniter wrote:Tom Harrison’s History of Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll
I fondly remember Tom Harrison's inclusion of the first Black Music radio show in Canada - CKLG-FM - 99.3MHz - "Groovin' Blue" - in his original 'History of Vancouver Rock'n'Roll' that ran in the Vancouver Province in the 1990's.
VanCity was in love with American Black Music in the 60's and early 70's and many music lovers were reminded of that fact by Tom's three(?) articles.
I was thrilled personally 'cuz I knew, as the host/producer of "Groovin' Blue", that the radio show was the first program in The Great White North that was solely concerned and committed to the love and broadcasting of Rhythm 'n' Blues, Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Afro-Cuban etc and the first in Canada to play artists Sly & The Family Stone, Mongo Santamaria, The Trials of Jayson Hoover, Mabel John, Oscar Toney Jr., Sy Risby, Pucho and His Latin Soul Brothers and The Staple Singers to name just a few. Interviews with Joe Tex, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, John Lee Hooker, Bobby Hebb etc were also a mainstay of the program.
While there was a 'pop music' show in Eastern Canada that heavily featured Black Music at around the same time, Groovin' Blue was the first and only program solely dedicated to those New World African Music genres.
Thank you Tom. It surprised me at the time that "Groovin' Blue" was included in your original history-of articles. Going to order the book, right now!!
DJZigZag
aka
Bill Reiter
aka
theallniter


Today's Can-Con 45 Of The Day was likely played on Groovin' Blue before it got airplay down the hall at CKLG AM.

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=22123
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

Postby Tom Jeffries » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:49 pm

Tom was there - and he knows where the bodies are buried - and he is to be applauded for carrying off this adroit tome.
Although we did a lot of events together - I can't say we are close buddies - but I have always been a fan of his writing.
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Re: History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

Postby theallniter » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:45 am

Ahhhh
Once again, by not thinking about what I post before tinkling the keys. . . .
Tom Harrison's book is not hard copy! I know the rest of you know that it is available on-line only.
I tried to order it in hard cover book form and was informed of the realities of today's world when I did.
As I said earlier, I was thrilled to see the radio show that I produced and hosted - "Groovin' Blue" - originally mentioned
in Mr. Harrison's 90's Vancouver Province treatise but would (will?) be amazed if the story of The Great White North's first
Black music radio program is retold in the current form.
Then again . . .
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Re: History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

Postby radiofan » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:07 am

Here's a blast from the past for William Arthur Gerald Reiter (WAGR) ... a scan of a goodie he gave me back in 1970 ...

Image

Maybe Bill could share some memories of that unique little store at 10 West Pender Street.
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: History of Vancouver Rock 'n' Roll

Postby theallniter » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:43 am

O.K. Tom Harrison may or may not [memory as it is] have mentioned "Groovin' Blue" by name and may have used the phrase
"Bill Reiter claims to be the guy" in originally telling his newspaper readers about the origin of the show
- hinting that the six month old Black music program was used by station management to gauge the viability of an
all-underground (alternative) CKLG-FM radio format BUT . . .
that's what he was talking about when this was originally printed.
And if the Webmaster of RadioWest could phone me - I will show you all an original Van. Province page relating to this.
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