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Subject: Canadian Chart Hits of the 80s

Written By: whistledog on 09/26/06 at 11:51 pm

Inspired by Henk's Dutch thread, here is a showcase of hits from Canada you may or may not know about

Click here to listen

and here is a brief synopsis of the artists and songs in question:

01 | Sass Jordan - Stranger Than Paradise
Born in England, but raised in Montreal, Sass Jordan had her first taste of success singing back-up on several mid 80s hits by the Montreal band The Box.  In 1988, she released her debut solo album "Tell Somebody" which sold platinum and sent 4 singles into the Canadian Top 40.  Hits followed into the 90s, and more recently, she can be seen as one of the judges on Canadian Idol

02 | Doug and the Slugs - Makin' it Work
One of Canada's finest and sometimes bizarre pop acts of the 80s, Doug and the Slugs had a handful of hits between 1980-1988.  Though they never had success in America, they did get exposure with their 1988 hit "Tomcat Prowl" which was written for the film "Iron Eagle II".  In the mid 2000s, lead singer Doug Bennett slipped into a depression of sorts, and eventually passed away due to poor health

03 | Powder Blues Band - Doin' it Right
Their name says it all, they were a blues band and in the early 80s, they had their biggest success with several hits including this one which was their biggest

04 | Eye Eye - X Ray Eyes
They were a mid-80s band with short-lived success.  With two albums, they put 4 hits into the Canadian chart, the biggest of which was called "Endless Nights".  I have always preferred "X Ray Eyes" though

05 | The Arrows - Heart of the City
They were a new wave group that had several hits on two albums between 1984-1986.  Shortly thereafter, they decided to call it quits due to pressures from their management for an international hit.  Though they never did get that hit outside of Canada, they did get some exposure when "Heart of the City" appeared in an episode of "Night Heat", a Cop Drama which was the first ever Canadian produced TV series to air in Primetime on an American network

06 | Erroll Starr - The Key
An R&B singer much like Oliver Cheatham or Luther Vandross.  In the mid-late 80s, he charted several Canadian hits, the biggest of which was "The Key"

07 | Platinum Blonde - Crying Over You
They were the biggest Canadian band of the 80s and often known as "Canada's Duran Duran".  With 3 albums in the 80s, they sent over a dozen popular hits into the chart, the biggest of which was "Crying Over You" which hit #1.  In America, they had 1 minor hit with "Somebody Somewhere" (US #82, 1986)

08 | Kim Mitchell - Patio Lanterns
He got his start in the 70s playing in a popular band called "Max Webster" who had several hits between 1975-1980.  When he struck out on his own, he shot to stardom with several hits including "Patio Lanterns" which remains his greatest hit.  In America, his 1984 track "Go For Soda" became a minor hit (US #86, 1985), and also featured in an episode of Miami Vice.  It would be his only hit outside of Canada

09 | Colin James - Five Long Years
He is a singer best known for his blues, rock and swing styles of music.  He burst onto the scene in 1988 with a self-titled album that sent 5 hits into the Canadian Chart, one of which was "Five Long Years" which is one of his best known hits.  He has continued to release albums with hit after hit well into today

10 | One to One - There Was A Time
They were a duo consisting of Louise Reny and Leslie Howe.  Throughout their career, they charted 10 hits in Canada, often changing musical directions in the process, going from mid-80s Dance music, to late 80s pop-rock, then to Adult Contamporary in the 90s.  Though they never became big stars outside of Canada, they did reach the US charts twice .. Once with "Angel in My Pocket" (US #91, 1986) and twice with "Peace of Mind (Love Goes On)" (US #95, 1992).  In the late 90s, they changed musical directions for a 4th time by eventually changing their name to "Artificial Joy Club" and releasing an album of Grunge Music. 

11 | Jane Siberry - One More Colour
On and off again, Jane Siberry has been a popular singer-songwriter in Canada since the early 80s.  Her biggest and best known hit of the 80s was "One More Colour" which found it's way into the Top 40

12 | Nancy Martinez and Allen Harris - Sunshine Reggae / La Vie en Rose
Quebec born Martinez is a Hi-NRG singer best known internationally for her 1986 hit "For Tonight" which was her only entry into the US Hot 100 (US #32, 1986).  Back home, she shot to fame with several dance hits in the early 80s, this one which she sang as a duet with her then husband Allen Harris.  The idea of this song was to combine a current chart hit with an old chart hit, so they mixed Laid Back's "Sunshine Reggae" with Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose" and created one of the biggest dance hits in Canada of 1984

13 | The Box - Closer Together
This Quebec based band had about a dozen hits on 4 albums between 1984-1991.  Their most well-known hit was called "L'Affaire Du Moutier (Say to Me)" in 1985, but their most commercially successful song remains "Closer Together"

14 | Rational Youth - No More and No Less
Montreal based synth-pop band.  From 1981-1986, they had several popular hits in Canada, the biggest of which was "No More and No Less" in 1985, but the best known of which was "Saturdays in Silesia" in 1982

15 | FM - Just Like You
Formed in the mid-70s, they were a Progressive rock band known for their lead singer Nash the Slash who dressed up in an outfit similar to the Invisible Man, complete with bandages, trenchcoat, hat, and dark glasses.  From 1977-1980, they released 4 successful albums before calling it quits shortly after.  In 1984, they reformed as supporting band for Nash the Slash's solo career, and the end result was a brief comeback with two albums, that featured 5 hits, the biggest of which was "Just Like You" which was their only entry in the Top 40.  They called it quits again in 1989

16 | Paul Janz - Close My Eyes
He began his career in the 70s singing with his brothers in a band called "Deliverance" who had a modest hit in 1979 called "Leaving LA" which became a minor hit in America (US #71, 1980).  When Deliverance called it quits, Janz went solo and from 1985-1992, released 5 albums and scored 15 Canadian hits, the biggest of which was "Every Little Tear" in 1990

17 | Belinda Metz - What About Me
She soared to fame in 1985 with this track, but not long after her rise to popularity, she was injured in a car crash and never returned to her music career.  In the 90s, she re-appeared as an actress, and landed a co-starring role in the TV series "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues"

18 | Haywire - Black and Blue
Popular AOR/Hard Rock band from Prince Edward Island.  From 1985-1992, they scored over a dozen hits in Canada

19 | Cats Can Fly - Lies Are Gonna Get Ya
A Synthpop band who released a self-titled album in 1986 that featured 3 hits.  It would be their only album as the following year, CBS Records dropped them in a major housecleaning development shortly before Sony Music merged with CBS

20 | Idle Eyes - Tokyo Rose
Their success was great, but brief.  They had a few hits in the 80s, the biggest and best known of which was this track which was a #1 radio hit across Canada in 1985

21 | Headpins - Don't it Make Ya Feel
Brian MacLeod, a member of the popular rock band Chilliwack, formed The Headpins in 1980 as a side project and featuring lead singer Darby Mills, they took the Canadian charts by storm when their first single "Don't it Make Ya Feel" scored a Top 20 placing.  With this success, MacLeod left Chilliwack to focus on The Headpins full time.  In America, they reached the US charts only once with "Just One More Time" (US #70, 1983).  After three albums, they went on hiatus when it was discovered that MacLeod was diagnosed with cancer.  With new vocalist Chrissy Steele, they had planned a fourth album, but it was decided that it become a solo effort for her, which was released in the early 90s, around the same time former lead singer Darby Mills launched her solo career.  In 1992, MacLeod succumbed to cancer, and as a tribute to him, several Canadian performers put on a concert in his honour to help raise money for cancer research

22 | Surrender - It's All Been Done Before
Fronted by singer Alfie Zappacosta, Surrender released their debut album in 1979 which barely scraped the chart.  In 1981, they released an EP which featured two hits called "Start Again" and "It's All Been Done Before".  Despite this success, EP failed to sell, but their label agreed to one more album, the result which was considered a disaster, so it was shelved, and Surrender broke up.  By 1983, Zappacosta began selling himself as a solo act, eventually going on to release a re-worked version of the 2nd Surrender album as his self-titled solo debut ...

23 | Zappacosta - Nothing Could Stand in Your Way
... which became very popular all across Canada, and led to his next album which contained his biggest ever hit with the ballad "Nothing Could Stand in Your Way".  In 1987, he was given international exposure with the song "Overload" which appeared in the film "Dirty Dancing", but it faield to give him success outside of Canada

24 | Exchange - Into the Night
Gerald O'Brien and Steve Sexton, were two keyboardists who were both members of Surrender before striking out as a duo under the name Exchange.  Their style of instrumental music placed them into the category of progressive instrumental and in 1988, scored a popular hit with the title track to their second album "Into the Night".  They continued to release successful albums, but never really broke into the mainstream

25 | Harlequin - Innocence
Formed in the mid 70s, Harlequin broke into the Canadian charts in 1979 with the popular track "Survive", but it wasn't until 1981 that they achieved their first big hit with "Innocence".  Further singles charted into major and minor spots in the charts until they decided to call it quits in 1986

26 | Streetheart - Under My Thumb
From 1978-1984, Streetheart had a few major and minor chart hits in Canada, the biggest of which was their 1980 (released in 1979) hit cover of the Rolling Stones classic "Under My Thumb".  Despite all of their success, they are somewhat known as the launching pad for founding members Paul Dean and Matthew Frenette who left the band in 1979 to form Loverboy

27 | Eria Fachin - I Hear A Symphony
Hi-NRG dance singer Eria Fachin was a one hit wonder in America with the song "Savin' Myself" (US #50, 1988), but back home in Canada, she was a star with 3 popular 12" singles taken from her debut album "My Name is Eria Fachin", one of which was a cover of the Diana Ross classic "I Hear A Symphony".  Sadly though, her success was brief as shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer, and after many years spent treating it, she succumbed to the disease in 1996

28 | Parachute Club - At the Feet of the Moon
Along with a handful of minor hits, The Parachute Club only reached the Canadian Top 40 three times between 1983-1987, with the singles "Rise Up", which remains their biggest hit, "At the Feet of the Moon", and "Love is Fire", a duet with American singer John Oates who also produced their final album.  In the 90s, lead singer Lorraine Segato went solo

29 | Rough Trade - High School Confidential
Fronted by British born Canadian singer Carole Pope, Rough Trade became stars across Canada in the early 80s with several hits, the biggest of which was this song in question, which was written about lesbianism, and caused such controversy over it's sexually explicit lyrics, some radio stations banned it, while others edited out parts of the song.  Through all their success, they reached the American charts only once with "All Touch" (US #58, 1982)

30 | The Payola$ featuring Carole Pope - Never Said I Loved You
Formed by producer Bob Rock and British born Canadian Paul Hyde, The Payola$ were one of Canada's best new wave bands of the early 80s.  Their biggest international exposure came with the song "Eyes of A Stranger" which featured in the popular movie "Valley Girl".  They also charted 1 song in America with "You're the Only Love" (US #84, 1985).  Back home in Canada, they racked up a handful of hits between 1980-1985, including this song in question which was a duet between Carole Pope of Rough Trade.  When The Payola$ called it quits in 1986, Rock and Hyde continued on as a duo, and scored an international hit in 1987 with "Dirty Water" (US #61, 1987).  Two years later, Hyde went solo and Rock became an internationally known rock music producer

31 | Strange Advance - We Run
Popular new wave favourites.  From 1983-1988, they racked up several top 40 hits, the biggest of which was this song in question. 

32 | Blvd - Far From Over
One album in 1988, another in 1990.  They had a total of 5 hits before calling it quits.  "Far From Over" was not their biggest hit, but to many, it was their best

33 | Toronto - Ready to Make Up
You'll never guess where this band is from LOL.  From 1980-1984, they racked up several popular Top 40 hits.  "Ready to Make Up" was not their biggest hit, but it's always been my favourite.  Their biggest hit was called "Your Daddy Don't Know" which also became their only hit in America (US #77, 1982). 

34 | Spoons - Romantic Traffic
From 1982 through the end of the 80s, The Spoons were immensely popular with several Top 40 hits, one of the best known of which was "Romantic Traffic" which is a song that every Canadian either knows or remembers

35 | Luba - How Many (Rivers to Cross)
One of Canada's biggest solo stars in the 80s, Luba charted a whole bunch of Top 40 hits well into the early 90s.  After a long hiatus, she made a brief comeback in the early 2000s.  Internationally, she gained exposure via several songs of hers which appeared on the soundtrack to the film "9

Subject: Re: Canadian Chart Hits of the 80s

Written By: FaultyDog on 09/28/06 at 3:21 pm

Well, I've had a listen... and I'm not gonna beat around the bush.

Although I didn't know what to expect I found most songs rather disappointing. Must be due to my poor taste or liking for the obscure. ;)

Still, there are about 4 or 5 that I'm considering downloading.

Just out of curiousity: did you pick these songs because you like 'em, or were these all major hits?

Subject: Re: Canadian Chart Hits of the 80s

Written By: whistledog on 09/29/06 at 9:39 am

Well, I've had a listen... and I'm not gonna beat around the bush.

Although I didn't know what to expect I found most songs rather disappointing. Must be due to my poor taste or liking for the obscure. ;)

Still, there are about 4 or 5 that I'm considering downloading.

Just out of curiousity: did you pick these songs because you like 'em, or were these all major hits?

I went with songs that I remember being popular hits on the radio :).  Based on the singles chart though, not all of them entered the Top 40  :\'(

Here are peaks for the Canadian Singles chart ...

01 | Stranger Than Paradise - Sass Jordan
02 | Makin' it Work - Doug and the Slugs
03 | Doin' it Right - Powder Blues
04 | X-Ray Eyes - Eye Eye
05 | Heart of the City - The Arrows
06 | The Key - Erroll Starr
07 | Crying Over You - Platinum Blonde
08 | Patio Lanterns - Kim Mitchell
09 | Five Long Years - Colin James *
10 | There Was A Time - One to One
11 | One More Colour - Jane Siberry
12 | Sunshine Reggae / La Vie en Rose - Nancy Martinez and Allen Harris
13 | Closer Together - The Box
14 | No More and No Less - Rational Youth
15 | Just Like You - FM
16 | Close My Eyes - Paul Janz *
17 | What About Me - Belinda Metz *
18 | Black and Blue - Haywire
19 | Lies Are Gonna Get Ya - Cats Can Fly
20 | Tokyo Rose - Idle Eyes
21 | Don't it Make Ya Feel - The Headpins
22 | It's All Been Done Before - Surrender
23 | Nothing Could Stand in Your Way - Zappacosta
24 | Into the Night - Exchange
25 | Innocence - Harlequin
26 | Under My Thumb - Streetheart
27 | I Hear A Symphony - Eria Fachin
28 | At the Feet of the Moon - Parachute Club
29 | High School Confidential - Rough Trade
30 | Never Said I Loved You - Payola$ featuring Carole Pope
31 | We Run - Strange Advance
32 | Far From Over - Blvd
33 | Ready to Make Up - Toronto
34 | Romantic Traffic - Spoons
35 | How Many (Rivers to Cross) - Luba
36 | Can't Stop the Earth From Shakin' - Brighton Rock
37 | (You're A) Strange Animal - Gowan
38 | Under Your Spell - Candi *
39 | Yum Bai Ya - Frozen Ghost
40 | Another Man's Gun - Ray Lyell and the Storm
41 | Something on My Mind - Teenage Head
42 | Gonna Get Close to You - Dalbello
43 | IBU - Roman Grey
44 | Heads Are Gonna Roll - Straight Lines
45 | Do You Think They Can Tell - Body Electric
46 | Happy Birthday Kid - Geoff Hughes
47 | I Want You Back - Sherry Kean
48 | Come Back to Me - Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts *
49 | It Doesn't Matter - Coleman Wilde
50 | Shades of 45 - Gary O'
51 | Boys of Autumn - David Roberts
52 | Right Beside You - Billy Newton-Davis
53 | Love + Satisfaction - New Regime
54 | No Such Thing - Annette Ducharme
55 | A Little Lovin' - Chantal
56 | Try - Blue Rodeo
57 | Tiny Thing - Jenson Interceptor
58 | Listen to the Radio - Pukka Orchestra
59 | Sign of the Times - Mens Room
60 | Do You Know What I Mean - Myles Goodwyn and Lee Aaron

* I am missing a bunch of weeks in my charts, so these songs are not peak positions

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