This was a busy year in Canadian rock, but more so in ‘pop’ . Some great albums, but not a lot of heavy releases. A memorable pair of debuts here, and a couple of final albums from bands that split up. Yeah, this is supposed to be a top 10, but I gave in to a tie for my last choice.
Rush – Permanent Waves
Released in January, the band’s biggest success until the next one, reaching #3 & #4 in Canada and the US . “Freewill”, “The Spirit Of Radio”, “Entre Nous”, and the epic 9 minute + “Natural Science”. The first of my favorite trio of Rush albums.
Harlequin – Love Crimes
From Winnipeg, Harlequin featured the voice of George Belanger [still does]. This was their 2nd and biggest album. Released in the fall of that year, it featured 2 hits [and 2 of the band’s best known songs] – “Innocence” and “Thinking Of You”., as well as favorite aor-ish rockers like “It’s All Over Now”, “Wait For The Night”, and “Love On The Rocks”. A solid album, should’ve been huge.
Loverboy – Loverboy
These guys came out, featuring one-time Moxy singer Mike Reno, and former Streetheart members Matt Frenette and Paul Dean. A huge album released in October, featuring the top 10 hit “Turn Me Loose” , as well as 2 further hits “The Kid Is Hot Tonight” and “Lady Of The ’80s”. A solid album along with live favorite “Teenage Overdose”.
Teaze – Body Shots
The 5th and final album from Windsor’s Teaze. Coming off [arguably] their best – One Night Stands, Body Shots [only issued in Canada] was a good follow up, featuring favorites “Boys Night Out” [reworked from their first album], “Sure Thing”, “Calling All Nurses” and “I’m Not Gonna Cry Anymore”. Sadly, they packed it in after this. *I did get to witness their fantastic return show in 2019.
Max Webster – Universal Juveniles
The last album by the legendary Max Webster, released in October. It boasted favorites like “Check”, “April In Toledo”, “Drive And Desire”, and most notably “Battle Scar” – which featured Rush. +David Stone [ex Rainbow] on keys for much of the album.
Saga – Silent Knight
The band’s 3rd album, and first with the classic line up, released in August. Featured the classics “Don’t Be Late” [the single], “Careful Where You Step”, and “Compromise”. One of those few early Saga albums that saw no US release til years later. Great cover art.
Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush – What’s Next
Released in February, this was the last to use the Mahogany Rush tag for a number of years. Features one of Marino’s best recordings in the fast flying “Something’s Comin’ Our Way”. as well as favorites in the drivin’ “Finish Line” and “You Got Livin'”. Also includes a cover of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”.
Cruiser – Rollin’ With The Times
Montreal based Cruiser lead by singer / songwriter Don Beauchamp, and featuring original April Wine drummer Richie Henman. A very overlooked album full of great tunes – very catchy pop, rock, and a bit of prog … all very well produced with favorite tracks like “No Admission”, intro “R & R Survival”, and “Incident At New World Theatre”. A 2nd album was released in 2014. Brothers Tom & Wallie Rathie would later write a few tunes for April Wine.
FM – City Of Fear
Progressive trio FM [well before the British aor band of the same name!] released their 4th album in June. The band consisted of lots of keyboards, bass, drums, electric violins & mandolin. Closest band to compare I’d say is supergroup UK [with Cameron Hawkins even sounding a bit like John Wetton on occasion] One of their best, including “Krakow”, “Power” [the single], and the excellent title track. Would be the band’s last for a few years.
Toronto – Lookin’ For Trouble +
Originally called ‘Sass’, Toronto was [is] fronted by Holly Woods, the band’s debut was released in June. It featured the singles “Even The Score” and “Lookin’ For Trouble”, as well as a cover of The Rascals “You Better Run” [a hit for Pat Benatar a month later], and favorite “Get Your Hands Off Me”.
Triumph – Progressions Of Power+
Released in March. Not my favorite Triumph album [lacking something], but it includes the classics “I Live For The Weekend” [a minor hit in the UK], “I Can Survive”, and “Tear The Roof Off”.
+couldn’t decide, so I left it a tie
Other mentions: Zon I’m Worried About The Boys, The Kings Are Here, Prism Young And Restless , 451 451, Wireless No Static, Bryan Adams Bryan Adams
*Drop me a note in the comments with anything you feel was well overlooked or recommendations, and feel free to subscribe to my page.
KJJ, 04 / ’21