Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby radiofan » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:31 pm

Today's Can-Con 45 is from 1971 ... From Montreal, Michel Pagliaro and "Lovin' You Ain't Easy" ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHi3nwKTEzM

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Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby Richard Skelly » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:24 pm

An enduring mystery: Why wasn’t this song true to its lyrics and titled Lovin’ You Ain’t So Easy? Perhaps the word “so” got lost in translation by the Montreal-based rocker.

Michel Pagliaro made quite a national impact with his MUCH releases. In addition to Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy, Pag also scored well with Rainshowers and—my favourite—Some Sing Some Dance. Interesting to see George Langios credited as producer. With the haze of time, I always thought Brian Chater was the driving force behind sessions for the short-lived MUCH Records label.

It speaks well of Canadian broadcasters of the day that they didn’t blackball Pagliaro for releasing tunes on rival CHUM’s specialty imprint. Pye Records picked up Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy in the United Kingdom where it enjoyed a six-week run, peaking at #31 on February 19, 1972. Now if only MUCH had worked as hard to ink a distribution deal with an ambitious US label...perhaps Pagliaro wouldn’t be one of this continent’s best kept rock ‘n roll secrets.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby paterson » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:51 am

I think Some Sing, Some Dance has one of the nicest string arrangements of any pop song ever recorded. Always thought it would be a bigger hit than it turned out to be. 1050 CHUM certainly didn't push recordings from the MUCH label. Both Rainshowers and Some Sing Some Dance only made brief appearances on the CHUM Chart.

I wonder if there was a little blow back from some stations once they realized that MUCH Records was owned by CHUM. I remember that Copper Penny's Sitting on a Poor Man's Throne was originally released on the MUCH label, but it had more success and airplay when it was quickly reissued on the Sweet Plum label (which was owned by MUCH). Also the first three April Wine albums were MUCH productions but were all released on the Aquarius label.

Lovin' You Ain't Easy still sounds great as does all of Pagliaro's English hits. I agree it was sort of a mystery why he didn't have more success than he did. I recently read an article on him and he was asked if he had any regrets or would he have done anything different. He said that he wished that he had released more material in English, since he only released three English albums.

There was a large gap between his first album in English which was released early in 1972 and the second anglo album that was on the Columbia label mid 1975. When I interviewed Michel he alluded that there was something preventing him from releasing another English album for a few years. At that time he was also signed with RCA, maybe there was some confusion with RCA and MUCH Records. MUCH Records first released material in 1970 and as far as I can tell wrapped up the business in late 1974 or early 1975.

Check out We're Dancing Til it Blows Over by Second Helping on Youtube. This song picked up airplay in 1972 and this is Pagliaro as well. The cut was originally released in 1970 and MUCH reissed the single with a puchier version in 1972. From Youtube you will see that the second version was also released on RCA in the UK. Give it a listen, I bet you will remember this obscure and excellent cancon song that again should have been much more popular or at least received more airplay. Also odd that 1050 CHUM never played the song.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby Richard Skelly » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:57 pm

Good points, Paterson. Especially the Second Helping project.

I interviewed Pag in the mid-70s when, signed to Columbia Canada, he took another kick at the door of Anglo Canada and, by extension, the English-rock world. Touring the album Time Race, he did some intense gigs at, I hazily recall, The Body Shop.

We met a couple of times, once for the formal interview and again for casual chat. I brought my girlfriend for the second get-together. She melted in his presence. The dude had a brooding sexuality, enhanced by a penchant for wearing leather duds.

My take on Pagliaro, at that time, was of a Quebec superstar not obviously thirsting for broader success. He exhibited a rather “Meh” low-key ambition or in Québécois “comme ci comme ca.” Onstage, however, he didn’t stint. Absolutely fiery performances with a crack backup band. Pretty sure that ace session drummer Marty Simon anchored the rhythm section.

Fire in the belly is usually a prerequisite for achieving success in rock ‘n roll. Pag presumably had plenty of hunger to scale heights in La Belle Province. Probably made a mark in France as well. Outside of Quebec, I’m not so sure. Forever a standout talent, though.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby paterson » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:00 pm

Thanks Richard. Yes Pag is/was pretty laid back, as was George Lagois his producer. I interviewed Michel when he was in Toronto recording Pagliaro 1, his second English album. He seemed a little shy to me, so maybe there was a lack of "fire in the belly." Although you can list many Canadian artists from the early '70's that had the good songs but never really broke through. Partially because we didn't have many television programs to showcase these artists, and the expertise to promote them. Canadian A&R for both independent and major labels was lacking back in the 1970's in my opinion. I think they thought if the song got some airplay that would be enough...wrong. And as we know the purpose of a radio station is not to sell records for a record company even though the businesses were intertwined.

Always gave Pagliaro credit for being a Quebecois talent who bucked the trend and looked outside of Quebec when almost all of the French artists in the province were much more inward looking. He did pay a price in the early to mid 70's when he was shunned by the separatist/elites in Quebec's "star system" but fortunately the public loved him and his songs were popular. He did have some limited success in France but really his success was pretty much in to Quebec for many French compositions and 4 or 5 songs in the rest of Canada. Hopefully Second Helpings We're Dancin Til it Blows Over will be Can-Con 45 of the Day sometime. It is a rockin little tune that did get airplay locally in many market across the country.

Interesting to note that his biggest French hit, J'entends frapper (biggest selling single in Quebec music history) was also playlisted on CFTR in Toronto and CHAM in Hamilton and became a number one hit on CKWS and CKLC in Kingston, Ontario back in 1972.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby freqfreak2 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:04 pm

Kudos should also be given to the production talent behind Pagliaro's tracks.

Within my circle of friends, his songs often rivalled the sound of Badfinger (who were produced by Tony Visconti, the Fab Four team of McCartney and Harrison, Mal Evans and Geoff Emerick, and later, Todd Rundgren).

Whenever I first heard a fresh Pagliaro tune I thought - Wow! - a new Beatles song. The same was said of Badfinger as their hits rolled out.

Looking back, Pag and Badfinger also shared another fate: label mismanagement and short sightedness ... another reason why "music" and "business" are two words that should never appear in the same sentence.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby Richard Skelly » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:07 pm

Hey there Paterson and FreqFreak2...good little Pag thread.

One last thought: An Italian-Quebecois, Michel was much more into the French-language scene than other Italian-descended Montrealers such as Gino Vannelli, Gino Soccio and Aldo Nova. Indeed, I’m unsure if the Ginos or Aldo even released Francophone records.

Dig the comparison to Badfinger although thankfully the ill star that shone so malignantly on Pete Ham and other bandmates never pointed in Pag’s direction. Read something recently that Michel invested wisely, had a family and lives comfortably, picking and choosing concert dates to keep the juices flowing.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - February 27

Postby freqfreak2 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:24 pm

Badfinger <-> Pagliaro <-> Gino Vanelli

Put that song set together, cycling through each of their various hits, you'd have multiple fan-winning back-to-back-to-back triple plays.

And of course, Gino's "Wild Horses" would naturally segue into Don Henley's "Boys of Summer."

If only I was the music director of the station of my dreams.
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