September 14, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Eric Spalding.


Below is a playlist to listen to while reading my article on Canadian content regulations for commercial radio in the 1970s. I tried to think of favourite Canadian songs that I heard on the radio back in that decade, when I was a teen growing up in Montreal, and that don’t seem to get much airplay nowadays.
Walter Rossi, “Soldiers in the Night” (1978).
I see this number as a Canadian counterpart to Brit Al Stewart’s “Roads to Moscow.” It’s beautifully arranged and performed, with a lot of drama and ambience. I like the way it just builds and builds. Rossi is a talented guitarist and singer who, like so many, never broke through to a mass audience.
Lavender Hill Mob, “Dream Away” (1977).
Here’s a very catchy pop song from a Montreal band that is almost forgotten today. I remember listening to “Dream Away” on CKGM-AM and enjoying it. My nostalgia for the song grew over the decades because I had no way of hearing it until someone posted it onto YouTube a few short years ago.
Klaatu, “Sub-Rosa Subway” (1976).
As a fan of the Beatles and Wings, I was taken by this song when I first heard it on the radio because it sounded so much like a cross between those two bands. So I got the 45 and also developed a liking for the flip side, “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft,” which the Carpenters covered in 1977. Much later, I bought Peaks, a Klaatu best-of compilation. But “Sub-Rosa Subway” remains my favourite by this Toronto trio.
Chilliwack, “Something Better” (1977).
This song was on this BC group’s Dreams, Dreams, Dreams album, which I played over and over again in my teens. I loved the first two singles from it, “California Girl” and “Fly at Night,” both of which I hear on classic-rock radio to this day. In my view, these two numbers unfairly overshadow the third single from the album, “Something Better,” an intense song with a great hook (that sequence of four rising notes right at the start).
If you liked the four songs above, I also recommend April Wine, “Comin’ Right Down on Top of Me” (1978), unjustly neglected relative to two other tracks on the band’s First Glance album, “Rock & Roll Is a Vicious Game” and “Roller,” and Randy Bachman, “Is the Night Too Cold for Dancin’?” (1978), a tuneful ballad that should have done better on the charts than it did. Rock on!
Eric Spalding (2017). Turning Point: The Origins of Canadian Content Requirements for Commercial Radio. Journal of Canadian Studies (Volume 50 Issue 3). Eric’s article is now available to read on JCS Online and Project MUSE!

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