INDUCTEES

Graham Lear

Graham Lear

2018 Inductee

Born in Plymouth, UK, 1949, Graham moved with his family to Ontario, Canada and first began drumming with the ‘Police Boys Band’ of London (Canada) at the age of eight. Deemed gifted, with an aptitude for rhythm, his father Ronald, himself an enthusiastic music fan, arranged for private lessons with former Police band alumnus Don Johnson. Weekly rehearsals under local band directors Martin Boundy, Phil Murphy, Joseph George and A.C. Robinson led to joining the London (Canada) Symphony orchestra at the age of 13, followed by stints with local jazz band leaders Johnny Noubarian, Johnny Downs and Ron Brown. Graham’s first exposure to rock n’ roll was with the band ‘Ken Maddox and the Mystics’, which he joined at the age of 14, followed by a namesake feature nine piece band ‘King Lear and the Playwrites’, which, as fate would have it, instilled a passion for blues, R&B and rock that would act as the inspiration for Graham’s career in music. A London outfit coined ‘Small Experience’ influenced by The Who and Hendrix tapped Graham’s ability to play straight ahead rock in a departure from his extensive training in reading music. Still in his teenage years, Graham’s destiny changed forever when Toronto based former Mandela frontman George Olliver needed a backing band to play promoter Nick Panaseiko’s local nightclub ‘Thee Image’. The London ON based rhythm section, augmented by three horns, reinforced earlier R& B influences, with George Olliver’s focused scrutiny on the bass drum. That lineup went on to tour the Eastern US and Canada, eventually recording the seminal album ‘Digital Remaster’ as ‘Natural Gas’, garnering critical acclaim from Canadian drummers Neal Peart of ‘Rush’ and Penti Glan of ‘Alice Cooper’. Graham together with ‘Natural Gas’ keyboardist Brian Wray and guitarist Joey Miquelon, joined the London group ‘Truck’, recording one album for Capitol records and touring Ontario and Canada extensively in its trademark red converted schoolbus. Now 19, he moved to Montreal to perform and tour with ‘Les Grand Ballet Canadiens’ under composer/music director Paul Duplessis with 6 other McGill U. avant garde percussionists as part of Duplessis’ ‘Hip and Straight’ composition sanctioned by the Canada Council. Gino Vannelli became the first major recording artist to recognize Graham’s talents and relied on him to record some of his most significant work from 1973 to 1976. CRIA Canadian gold records were issued for Vannelli’s Powerful People, Storm at Sunup and Gist of the Gemini. Leaving Vannelli in mid 1976 he performed briefly with iconic Canadian guitarist Domenic Troiano returning from rehearsal to a phone request by rock impresario Bill Graham to audition for one of Woodstock’s star groups, Santana. Three weeks after the audition in San Francisco, Graham found himself playing Wembley stadium in England for three nights in what would be a European tour that culminated in the live tracks recorded for ‘Moonflower’, Graham’s first RIAA U.S. gold album. For the next 12 years, Graham toured with the Santana band, often at a grueling pace, performing countless concerts in multiple countries. Needless to say, it was an exciting, but exhausting period of his career. It was during this time that Graham’s first son, Brian, was born, a most significant personal and life changing milestone. With family now a priority, Graham took a hiatus from Santana in 1985 to return to Mississauga ON Canada for nearly two years. There, he worked for producers Domenic Troiano, Stacey Heydon, Steve Sexton and Dave Tyson, as well as the Hockey Hall of Fame Awards for Jimmy Dale and contractor/flugelhorn virtuoso Guido Basso. But it wasn’t long before a personal request from Carlos himself brought Graham back to Santana, eventually relocating back to Tarzana CA to live on the same street they left two years before. In early 1988, playing hockey regularly with musicians and crew in Thousand Oaks, he reunited with technician Rick Kelly and former Santana producer Dave Devore. Working with REO Speedwagon, they tapped him to play with the Strolling Dudes, an REO spinoff group with members Kevin Cronin and Bruce Hall. Regular Wed. nights ensued in Encino CA and when longtime REO drummer Alan Gratzer retired, Graham filled in for multiple tours. Next, former Gino alumnus Richard Baker and Graham were asked to tour Europe extensively with Canadian supergroup Saga. Surprisingly, one of their tours included a ride in a Canadian Forces battle tank while rehearsing in Germany at a Canadian base. In another personal milestone, Trevor, Graham’s second son was born. Now a family of four, they made a bold move and chose Portland, Oregon as the place to raise their sons. Settling on Lake Oswego, with its lush greenery and strong academic system, Graham took a break from touring to raise a family, teach and perform in the Portland OR area. It was there, playing renowned Portland jazz club ‘The Hobbit’ that Gino Vannelli, himself recently transplanted from LA with a freshly inked contract to record for iconic jazz label Verve, asked Graham to work on what would become the CD Yonder Tree. Critically acclaimed and one of Gino’s personal favorites, it is the first to feature Graham on DW drums. As fortune would have it, Graham recorded with many Portland artists, most significantly Gary Small, the eclectic Northern Cheyenne guitarist from Sheridan WY, together recording a winner for the Native American Music Awards. With sons progressing well in school Graham gradually ventured back into road work. LA session guitarist Joe DiBlasi asked Graham to audition for Paul Anka, well known for his critical ear. As it turned out, Paul did not attend the audition, instead leaving it in the capable hands of music director Chuck Smith, which Graham passed during a rigorous late night test to applause from the fellow musicians. He remains with the Canadian songwriter currently. Relocating once more to Niagara-On-The-Lake Ontario Canada, Graham met his soulmate Penny Steel and married August 29,2008 with sons Brian and Trevor attending as best man and usher. “We won’t be in one place in suits and ties again until it’s their turn”, quips Graham. ‘Moments’ Meeting David Foster at a rehearsal for Domenic Troiano’s band in LA. ‘ He played something in 7/4 just to test me’....we ‘ve been musical friends since’. A compliment on his drumming from the ‘A’ of then A&M records Herb Alpert after hearing rough mixes of Vannelli’s Storm at Sunup track. The same track eventually being covered by drumming icon Buddy Rich. A surprise visit and blues solo by Jimmy Page on stage with Santana in Germany. Ace studio drummer Jeff Porcaro listening in on Santana’s Inner Secrets sessions at United Western studios in Los Angeles. Saturday Night Live originals John Belushi and ‘Father’ Guido Sarducci showing up at a Santana session for the Marathon CD. “ I looked up after a take and there they were! “, said Graham. Certainly a musical highlight was watching Paco De Lucia, John McLaughlin, Al Dimeola and Carlos playing together in Spain during a Santana tour.

Gordie Tapp

Gordie Tapp

2018 Inductee

By all accounts, Gordie Tapp was a consummate performer – a comedian, musician, storyteller, scriptwriter known for his passion for performing and his professionalism. Those accounts also show he was a consummate human being – generous, caring and supportive.
Gordie was recognized for his contributions to entertainment as a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990. The Jack Richardson London Music Awards also inducts Gordie Tapp into its Hall of Fame April 2018.
 
His role as philanthropist may be less known than that of his characters Cousin Clem and Lavern Nagger from Hee Haw. But the impact he had on Canadian children earned him the highest honour in the province – the Order of Ontario in 1999 – and membership in the Order of Canada in 1998. Gordie was a lifelong supporter of the Canadian Muscular Dystrophy campaign and Easter Seals Society, as well as U.S. Shriners’ hospitals for children and the Canadian Tim Horton foundation for children. For many years, he also was Santa for countless children through Hamilton radio station CHML.
 
It began in London, Ontario where Gordie was born in 1922 and started his career in radio. He honed his skills at Lorne Greene’s Academy of Radio Arts. Moving from Guelph to Hamilton to Toronto and on to Nashville, he reached millions of people worldwide with his humour and music.
In Hamilton, he was asked to develop and host an evening show called Main Street Jamboree in the 1950s. From there, he hosted CBC’s Country Hoedown for 10 seasons.
The rural cousin to Laugh-In, CBS’s television variety show Hee Haw hired him as a writer and performer in 1969. His Cousin Clem played off fellow Canadian Don Harron’s Charlie Farquharson persona. The show was hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark and drew country music’s biggest names. Multiple Juno-winner Carroll Baker said Gordie helped get her a spot on the show in the early 1980s.
 
Although American, the show’s writers were Canadian and the production company was named after Yonge Street in Toronto. Gordie had no intention of moving to the U.S. His family stayed in Ontario. “We were all up here and Dad didn't really think of himself as American,” said daughter Kate Tapp-Mok. “He was very proudly Canadian and he had enough work here," she said. "He was a good family man.”
 
Another London, Ontario country music legend was a friend and colleague. Tommy Hunter and Gordie performed on television, including the Tommy Hunter Show. “We were all new to television (in the 1950s) and Gordie was older and a professional, the elder statesman,” said Hunter. “We had a lot of great experiences together. We had a close relationship, but we were always very respectful of each other’s talent. I don’t think Canada ever fully realized how talented Gordie was.”

In the 1970s, Gordie released two singles, (“Nobody's Singing Them Cowboy Songs No More” which became a Top 10 hit in Canada, and “Many Others” which was in the Top 50.
 
"A lot of people in this business sound like your best friend and they're really nice people, but it's just a persona. He was a genuinely fun loving, happy guy," said Bob Bratina, radio personality and member of parliament. "He never put on any airs that he was something special. He was always a down-to-earth guy."
 
Gordie continued to perform charity shows and at retirement residences until a month before his death in December 2016. His last performance in the London area was in 2015 at Purple Hill Country Opry near Thorndale.
 
“When he got here, he said ‘I’ll just do 15 minutes’ and get out of the way,” recalled George Taylor, Purple Hill owner. “I told him he could keep the stage as long as he wanted and 45 minutes later he was still telling jokes. The people just loved him and his stories. He was such a professional, a real showman. He was a pretty special guy who performed with just about every country star. He was just a good all-round for country music.”

 
With notes from:
The London Free Press, Joe Belanger, Dec. 20, 2016
The Globe and Mail, Dec. 20, 2016
 
Tapp’s memoir, What’s On Tapp? The Gordie Tapp Story Alias Cousin Clem, written with John Farrington, was published in 2006.

Doug Varty

Doug Varty

2018 Inductee

It should come as no surprise that Doug Varty ended up playing music. Months before he was born, his mother saw a fortune teller who predicted her child would spend his life in music. His father played piano, and both parents gave Doug a turntable and records – when he was just a baby! As a child, when he first heard The Rolling Stones, he fell in love with the electric guitar. At age 13, he formed his first band. In 1970, at age 17, Doug left London and headed to Toronto to join a band that first got started in Sudbury as Taxi, then as the Tote Family. By the time they moved to Toronto, recruiting Doug on piano and organ, they had changed their name to Sea Dog. They signed with CHUM Radio’s Much Records, releasing 8 singles and one full length album (that in 1972). Over their years together they toured Canada with groups such as April Wine, Crowbar (Oh, What A Feeling), A Foot In Cold Water (Make Me Do Anything You Want), Fludd (Cousin Mary), Brutus, Lighthouse, Rush, and Sly and the Family Stone, along with solo artists Tina Turner and Bob Seger. Sea Dog broke up in 1975. During their five years together, a total of 14 musicians played with the group at one point or another. Doug was the only one to play with the group for the entire five years. He was also one of the principal songwriters within the band. Doug’s next band was Lowdown, formed in London in 1982 with Ted Floyd and Brian Salt. Doug played keyboards and guitar, and sang. They released two full length albums (“Love Ya” originally in 1982 on their own Lady Records label, and “Gimme Some”, originally in 1983) and six singles. Their first single, “Gimme Some”, was written by Doug and it hit #1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart in December, 1983. Their 6th and final single, “Baby I Know”, also written by Doug, hit #5 on the same chart in August, 1985. They toured across Canada from northern British Columbia to Sydney, Nova Scotia. Many of their shows were fundraising events for Kinsmen/Kinettes, Lions Clubs, Rotary Club and others. Lowdown also had opening slots for major acts such as The Beach Boys, John Mellencamp, Roy Orbison, Neil Sedaka, the Four Seasons, and Ricky Nelson. They also performed on bills with Del Shannon, Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits), John Allan Cameron, Shirley Eikhard, Valdy, and B.J. Thomas. The band later shifted to mostly cover tunes until their break-up in 1996. Next up for Doug was the Doug Varty Band. In 1990, The Doug Varty Band won Labatt's Blue Band Warz, a contest against 1500 groups nationwide. They made it through regional and provincial judging to win first prize and the title of Best New Original Act In Canada. In the 1990s, he played five nights a week at Old Chicago's as part of the Old Chicago Band. He has also been part of the Bushdoctors and The Family Business Band, which he formed with his daughter Bizz Varty. They play rock, blues, funk and soul with vocal harmonies. Doug is also a multiple Jack Richardson London Music Awards winner. And he is a multi- instrumentalist, playing guitar, piano, organ, keyboards and harmonica. In 2012, Doug finally released his first true solo album, “Feel Free”. The album was produced by Doug along with Bob Breen. Here is what Fireworks UK magazine had to say about the album: "Raspy, take-no-shit vocals, soaring guitar and constantly pounding bass give the Doug Varty Band a streamlined but hard-hitting sound that sees the three-piece storm through “Feel Free” – a rather glorious dose of blues rock, littered with great vocal hooks and memorable riffs." If playing in various bands over the years was not enough, Doug has also done performances as a tribute act. First up was a Bryan Adams tribute act. Then, in 1998, he began performing a Rod Stewart tribute show with the Powerhouse Band, an act that he has brought to places like Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Las Vegas, Bermuda and throughout other cities in North America. This tribute act has allowed him to share the stage with some of the greats of the music industry, including Johnny and Edgar Winter, Roy Orbison, John Lee Hooker, Jeff Healey, Colin Linden, Colin James, Rick Derringer, Meatloaf, and Loverboy. It is a difficult thing to pull off being a cover act without being a stilted caricature, yet Doug nails it from the raspy voice, to the Rod wig and sexy swagger, to the skinny tie and white jacket while leaving plenty of room to improvise vocally. He relates and dances with his fans. He is very comfortable -- a natural -- as he impersonates another person's vocal, musical and entertainment style. And then he can just as easily turn around and be himself at the centre of the Doug Varty Band. On top of all his live performances, Doug also teaches guitar, bass, harmonica and vocals, sometimes to as many as 30 students a week. He is also part of Chris Murphy's “Blues In The Schools” program, bringing music to over a hundred elementary schools throughout Southern Ontario. Kid-tested, they introduce children to the history and cultural significance of blues. And if that is not enough, Doug is also certified yoga instructor. Doug Varty, musician, singer, songwriter, producer, teacher and proud Londoner. And now, a member of the Jack Richardson Music Hall of Fame.

Joey Hollingsworth

Joey Hollingsworth

2017 Inductee

Joey Hollingsworth is famed as a dancer, singer, writer and actor. Living with his adoptive parents on Simcoe Street in London, Joey started tap dancing lessons as a young child. In 1946, while he was a pupil at Aberdeen Public School, he met and danced with the legendary Bill “Bojangles” Robinson at a London show. London fans remember him as a teenager dancing on the cafeteria tables at Beal secondary school and for the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau during an election campaign. During his stellar career, he has represented Canada internationally and lent his talents to support Martin Luther King’s message during the U.S. Civil Rights movement. He made his debut on the CBC in the 1950s with the show “Pick the Stars” and later appeared on “Razzle Dazzle” and co-starred on “Portrait” with French-Canadian performer Joel Denis (as the first black Canadian and French Canadian respectively to co-star on CBC.) Joey was the first black Canadian to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was also a frequent guest on Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood / Mister Rogers Show appearing in over 48 episodes during the 1960s and1970s as the Dancing Salesman where his tap dancing shoes became famous.

Gerald and Marlene Fagan

Gerald and Marlene Fagan

2017 Inductee

Gerald and Marlene Fagan have been a musical force in London for over 50 years. Both dedicated music professionals, their work with choirs has had an incredible impact in London and beyond. They met at the University of Western Ontario’s Music School in the late 1950s and married in 1961. In the 1960s and ’70s Gerald taught music in London, Ottawa, and Listowel, while Marlene raised their family of 5 children. She always kept her hand in music, leading church choirs and accompanying for Gerald when her schedule allowed. Back in London permanently by 1978, Gerald became Coordinator of Continuing Education at Fanshawe College and built the Fanshawe Chorus, the Gerald Fagan Singers, and the Concert Players Orchestra. Over the next 34 years, the choirs toured internationally. Gerald judged at the Junos and at CBC competitions and conducted choirs across the country. Gerald retired from Fanshawe in 2012 and he is now Artistic Director of the Bach Music Festival of Canada and director of London’s newest chamber choir, Chor Amica. As a skilled manager, Marlene organized every detail of the Fanshawe College Chorus activities from space rental to finances with regular accompaniment on the piano. Marlene also found time in the late 1980s and early 1990s to run a talent agency, EML International Artists Management. In 2016, Gerald was honoured to be named a member of the Order of Canada.

Uranus

Uranus

2017 Inductee

With a name that caused some radio deejays a bit of concern, Uranus formed in their hometown of London, Ontario in 1977. Jack Whiteside (guitar), Frank Ridsdale (guitar/piano), Jerry Fletcher (bass) and Dexter Beauregard (drums) bucked the current trends of arena rock and disco, preferring instead to play rock’n’roll and rockabilly, packing their favourite venues. After a slow start with their debut record in 1978, they signed with Trilogy Records in Toronto a year later, releasing “You’re So Square” in 1980. The single reached top ten status on radio stations throughout Canada and on the strength of this single, the band hit the road for a highly successful Western Canada tour during which they ended up performing on CBC Television. Twice! They convinced the owners of the Blue Boot Hotel (through beer sales alone) to open their doors to the up-and-coming punk scene that was forming. They paved the way for bands like the Demics, the Regulators, and the Zellots who now have a new-wave / punk appropriate home in the renamed Cedar Lounge. A second single, ‘The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle’ was released, and an Eastern Canada/European tour was in the works, when the band decided to pack it in at the height of their fame. All the members of Uranus are still active in the local music scene today.

Don Wright

Don Wright

2016 Inductee

It’s almost impossible to truly gauge the impact Don Wright has had on London music. At 14, he won a gold medal for his cello performance in a Canada-wide competition. He then formed a dance band with his brothers and played across Ontario. He graduated from Western University and became a teacher and was later appointed Director of Music for London schools. During World War II, Wright conducted shows for the troops. In 1946 he became General Manager CFPL radio and discovered up-and-coming country music star Tommy Hunter. While there, he recorded with his daughter, Pricilla, and the single “Man in a Raincoat” was a top ten hit. With his wife Lillian, he formed the Don Wright Chorus, and was introduced on-air by the legendary Guy Lombardo, a fellow Londoner. They received airplay across Canada and the United States. He honed his skills as a composer and began orchestrating and publishing music. He became known as “The Jingle King,” crafting radio and TV jingles. Don was appointed musical director for “The Denny Vaughan Show” and the “Wayne and Shuster Show.” Western’s Faculty of Music is named after the legendary musician, composer and conductor. Don Wright passed away on June 27, 2006, at the age of 97.

Priscilla Wright

Priscilla Wright

2016 Inductee

Priscilla Wright hit it big in 1955 with her international top ten single, “Man in A Raincoat.” The song was recorded at the CFPL radio studios with her father Don Wright and his septet providing backing vocals. The song was such a smash hit, she was invited to sing it on the Ed Sullivan Show in July 1955. That same year, she was selected by Cash Box Magazine as the “Most Promising Artist of the Year.” Priscilla’s success led to a film contract with Twentieth Century Fox and several film and concert appearances with Elvis Presley. After that, Wright took a hiatus from the music industry until the 1980’s when she teamed up with legendary producer Jack Richardson to record Michael Bolton’s “Heartbeat” hitting No. 8 on the Canadian radio charts. Priscilla Wright’s career has continued to blossom, receiving a Juno nomination as Most Promising Artist in 1993, and going on to perform with Canada’s top musicians such as Peter Appleyard, Mart Kenney, Moxie Whitney The Toronto Pops Orchestra and Hamilton Philharmonic. She has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Priscilla continues to sing with her own band at top venues across Canada.

Sheep Look Up

Sheep Look Up

2016 Inductee

Eclectic and experimental, Sheep Look Up hit the stage in 1982. While Sheep Look Up began as a solid punk band, they soon adopted punk as an attitude, rather than a straight musical style, and ventured into other musical genres, even creating their own electronic instruments and soundmaking devices. The band’s first release was the four-song cassette Entropic Concern which charted on Canadian university and college radio stations. The band was also featured on various alternative compilation albums including London Underground, a compilation released by CHRW FM. Their self-titled vinyl EP was released in 1986 featuring four songs: “Rapture”, “Falasha”, “Big Heart” and “Spaghetti Western”. The EP received airplay on alternative radio stations across Canada. That same year they were nominated for a CASBY Award. In 1988 a rough mix of their soon to come full-length LP circulated as a demo tape. It featured four songs recorded and produced with Chris Wardman, but a final version of the LP was never released. Sheep Look Up released three music videos – all garnered Much Music attention and airplay. Over the course of their career they toured across Canada and the U.S., and opened for some of the biggest acts, including The Fall, The Stranglers, Marianne Faithful, Gene Loves Jezebel, and Shriekback. The band spent the spring and fall of 1988 doing a variety of showcases for major labels and a number of North American, Canadian and European subsidiaries, but soon after disbanded. They set the pace for indie bands in London and became the benchmark of their day.

Denise Pelley

Denise Pelley

2015 Inductee

Denise is a singer and actor whose debut Jazz cd “Trust the Moment,” recorded in 1998, brought her to the attention of jazz lovers across Canada. Denise has performed with many great artists including acclaimed trombonist Ray Anderson, Gospel/Blues legend Jackie Richardson, Flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook and Aretha Franklin. And she has performed with symphony orchestras and at festivals including the du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival (Toronto), Ottawa Jazz Festival, The Royal Canadian Big Band Festival (London), Bluesfest (London), Waterloo Jazz Festival and Sunfest (London.) Denise also enjoys acting and has been part of The Grand Theatre (London,) performing in the Fats Waller musical Ain’t Misbehavin’, Wang Dang Doodle with Denis Simpson and A Streetcar Named Desire. Denise’s one-woman show, Jazzabel premiered in September 2004 at the McManus Theatre (Grand Theatre), London, Ontario to sold out audiences. In October 2005 Jazzabel was performed in Washington, DC at the National Museum for Women in the Arts and in February 2006 to audiences in New York City at Urban Stages Theatre. Denise’s recording credits include seven CD’s. She is honoured with being the recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. In 2003 she was named a YM-YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Arts and Heritage category. In April 2006 the Hyde Park Rotary presented her with the Paul Harris Fellowship Award, Rotary’s highest honour. In 2008 and 2014 she won Jazz Artist of the Year at the Jack Richardson awards. In February 2009 the London Black History Committee honoured Denise with the Black Community Achievement Award in recognition of her accomplishments, contributions, and support to her community. Denise is a volunteer with Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan and has made many trips to South Sudan, where she helps to deliver a music and art camp for children. She is also a volunteer with Educate the Children, helping to raise funds for a school in Nigeria.

Jack Fallon

Jack Fallon

2015 Inductee

Bass player, fiddler and impresario Jack Fallon was born in what his friend Spike Milligan of The Goon Show called “a log cabin” – a comment his sister, Irene Fallon, corrected to “a log cabin called St. Joseph’s Hospital.” Growing up in the Ballymote area, Fallon became part of the London dance band scene. He studied with the London Symphony Orchestra founder Bruce Sharpe and played in the Frank Crowley band. He knew future London Music Hall of Famers such as the Lombardo brothers and Alf Tibbs. Jack Fallon first played the violin before switching to bass at age 20 when he began playing in The Streamliners Band-- while serving in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) in Britain. After the war, Jack stayed in Britain building on a career that saw him play with The Beatles, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Noel Coward, Bob Hope, Sarah Vaughan, Django Reinhardt, jazz legends Fats Navarro and Tadd Dameron, country stars Tex Ritter and Tennessee Ernie Ford, bluesmen Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White – and a host of others. Fallon’s “highly modern-for-its-period bass playing” and “oh-so-attractive Canadian accent” – to quote British critic and cornet player Digby Fairweather – helped him make his mark from classical music at the Royal Albert Hall to jazz and pop. Off-stage he was a talent agent and booked gigs for The Stones and The Beatles early in their careers. Fallon’s Cana agency booked the Beatles early in 1962 for 30 pounds sterling. He booked The Rolling Stones for half that amount in the same year. A few years later, The Beatles lured him out of semi-retirement to play on “Don’t Pass Me By,” from The Beatles’ White Album. That’s Jack Fallon on fiddle in 1968, playing a sequence penned by the “fifth Beatle” George Martin. He remembered recording with The Beatles fondly in his autobiography From the Top. Based in Britain for more than 60 years, Fallon lived in London, England, with his wife, Jean (now deceased), and their family. He was granted the Freedom of the City of London, England, in 2002. Jack Fallon died in 2006. He was 90.

Garth Hudson

Garth Hudson

2014 Inductee

Garth Hudson was born August 2nd, 1937 in Windsor, Ontario. His mother, Olive, played piano, accordion and sang; his father, Fred, played drums, saxophone, clarinet and flute, and piano. Garth’s family moved to London, Ontario around 1940. He went to Broughdale Public School, Medway High School, and the University of Western Ontario. Garth studied piano with Miss Nellie Milligan and Clifford Von Kuster, while learning theory, harmony, and counterpoint with Thomas Chattoe. He also played organ for services at St. Luke’s Anglican Church. Garth then performed with dance bands and joined a rock and roll group, the Capers, from 1958 through 1961, before becoming the music consultant, organist and saxophonist for Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, from 1961 to 1963. After leaving Hawkins, Levon and the Hawks toured on their own. The band was introduced to Bob Dylan, who recruited them to accompany him on his controversial 1966 folk-rock tour. Garth eventually settled near Woodstock, New York and Dylan was a frequent visitor to the Hudson’s pink-colored house. Garth recorded their collaborations, resulting in the legendary “Basement Tapes.” In 1968, the Hawks became known simply as The Band and recorded their seminal debut album, Music From Big Pink. Over the next eight years, The Band continued recording and touring, releasing eight albums and performing for full houses around the world. Among the highlights of these shows were Garth’s improvised introductions to “Chest Fever.” The Band called an end to touring with a lavish final concert on Thanksgiving 1976 as documented in Martin Scorsese’s film, “The Last Waltz.” Garth spent the next 16 years in California’s burgeoning music scene, contributing to several movie soundtracks, including “The Right Stuff” and Martin Scorsese’s films “Raging Bull” and “The King of Comedy.” He also enjoyed recording and collaborating with other musicians on their albums. Garth composed the music for Music For Our Lady Queen Of The Angels, a multimedia celebrational environment created in 1980 for the 200th anniversary of the City of Los Angeles. Garth continued to perform with The Band frequently through the ’80s and ’90s. He moved back to the Woodstock, New York area in 1991 and recorded three CDs with The Band. He has appeared on TV shows, such as Ed Sullivan, Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary, Woodstock ’94, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien, Saturday Night Live, Roots 94 (NRK-TV) Norway, Puistoblues Finland. He has recorded and performed with many artists, including Norah Jones, Los Lobos, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Marianne Faithfull, Barenaked Ladies, Emmylou Harris, Sneaky Pete Kleinow and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Don McLean, Keith Richards, The Sadies and scores of others. Garth’s long-awaited first solo CD, The Sea To The North, was released in 2001. He is developing a retrospective box set on Levon and the Hawks, 1956 to 1966, and contributed unheard tracks from his personal vault to Capitol Records’ six-disc The Band: A Musical History box set. Garth and Maud, his actress/wife released their duo CD, Live at the Wolf (opening weekend of Wolf Performance Hall in London), as well as Garth’s CD of Music For Our Lady Queen Of The Angels. Garth produced and released Garth Hudson Presents A Canadian Celebration of The Band in 2010 and has contributed to most of the tracks for The Beautiful Old 2013. Garth Hudson continues to enjoy producing, composing, arranging and performing with Sister Maud and his eleven-piece band. He lectures around the world, teaches Master Classes when his schedule allows and continues to prepare the syllabus for The Garth Hudson Institute featuring his innovative learning methods. His long list of awards includes • Inducted into the JUNO Hall of Fame (The Band), 1989 • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (The Band), 1994 • Canada South Blues Society, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002 • Hamilton Music Scene Award, Instrumentalist of the Year, 2005 • Hamilton Dofasco Lifetime of Achievement Award (The Band), 2007 • Grammy Lifetime of Achievement Award (The Band), 2008. • Blues Hall of Fame, Legendary Blues Artist, 2012.

John  Noubarian

John Noubarian

2014 Inductee

John has spent a lifetime in music and his musical forte is jazz. Considered one of Southwestern Ontario’s most respected jazz musicians, John has seen and played it all. Early in his musical career he was booked out of Cleveland and Chicago and toured much of the mid-western United States. During this time, he had occasion to sit in with jazz notables such as Chet Baker, Herbie Mann, and Scot LaFaro. After a few years of road gigs in the U.S., John resettled back in London, Ontario where he currently resides. He led house groups which alternated between two of the city’s most popular night spots; the Iroquois Hotel, and Campbells. Here his trio backed some top instrumentalists and vocalists such as jazz greats Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Wingy Manone, Bobby Hackett, Jack Teagarden, Jack Brokensha, and vocalists Ernestine Anderson, Jean Turner, Carmen McRae and others. In addition to nightly performances, John attended London Teachers’ College during the day. He taught with the London Catholic School Board and continued his academic studies at the University of Western Ontario. He graduated from the Faculty of Music in 1979 and retired from his teaching duties in 1993. In addition to theatre and playhouse concerts in London, Petrolia, Sarnia, Grand Bend, and Stratford, he has performed, also, at the Toronto DuMaurier Jazz Festival, the Beaches Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, The Waterloo Jazz Festival, and the Guelph Jazz Festival.

The Dixie Flyers

The Dixie Flyers

2013 Inductee

The band was founded in London in April 1974. Founding members were Bert Baumbach (guitar), Dennis LePage (banjo), and Ken Palmer (mandolin). Brian Abbey (bass) and the late Willie P. Bennett (harmonica) joined soon after. Bennett stayed a Flyer until 1979. Baumbach and Palmer, who have been among the group’s lead vocalists, remained constant to the Flyers into this decade. Joining them over the years have been such fiddlers as Gordon Stobbe, Peter Robinson, and J.P. (John) Allen. On bass, there have been David Zdriluk, Donald Christopher Ingram, Luke Maynard and Rick Thompson. On banjo, the Flyers have looked to such players as David Jack, David Talbot, and the late Walter Maynard. Dobro players Allan Widmeyer (aka The Old Houndog) and Darren Parisse and harmonica player Mike Ethelston have been in the lineup, too, as have banjo player Paul Hurdle and multi-instrumentalist Blair Heddle in recent years. “We thought nothing will ever happen with this thing,” Palmer once told The Free Press. “All of a sudden, Bert got us on the Carlisle Bluegrass Canada(festival). That was by 1975. We had a year to practice for that. We met Bill Monroe (there).” The late “father of bluegrass”, Bill Monroe made it clear: “The Dixie Flyers play good bluegrass, they play it the right way.” Later, Monroe invited the young band to the famous Bean Blossom fest in Indiana. By adopting what Palmer has described as an evolutionary rather then revolutionary approach, the Flyers have been Canada’s most prominent bluegrass band, performing at festivals (Mariposa, Winnipeg, Bluegrass Canada, Festival of Friends), fairs, nightclubs and universities across the country. They have also hosted and guested on many TV and radio shows. The Flyers albums include five for Boot Records (a label created by Stompin’ Tom Connors.) Their 2007 album Right on Track parlayed three Merle Haggard covers and at least two Jean Chretien mentions into one of the top London albums of the year.

Tommy Hunter

Tommy Hunter

2012 Inductee

Tommy Hunter was inducted into the London Music Hall of Fame the same night as his farewell concert at the RBC Theatre at the John Labatt Centre. Canada’s Country Gentleman was visibly moved by the cheers from the home-town crowd following the on-stage induction. Hunter ended his final Canadian tour in London, on his 75th birthday. The management team invited the Jack Richardson Music Awards steering committee to make the induction a part of the night. We are honoured to have been able to do so. Hunter was a CBC-TV star, first with Country Hoedown, then with his own show, for 36 years. Hunter brought many of the biggest names in the business to the forefront early in their careers. He was always surrounded by fine musicians from fiddler Al Cherny to guitarist Red Shea and so many others. He made dozens of recordings, published a best-selling autobiography and is a member of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour. He is in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and has been honoured many other times in the U.S. and Canada. As anyone who was at the final show will tell you, he has continued to excel in live performance as a singer, musician, storyteller and standup comic. Tommy Hunter left London in the 1950s as the demands of his career made him a national and then international star. London has honoured him by naming a street for him near Brisbin Street, where he grew up. Through it all, Tommy Hunter has never forgotten his London roots. At that final concert, he picked his way sweetly through his acoustic guitar spot on” Wildwood Flower.” It was a song taught to him by Edith Hill Adams, the East London music teacher who helped the young Hunter turn his love of country music into a 60-year-plus career. Hunter praised her from the stage and there was applause. “I picked the right night to get it right,” Hunter beamed after finishing the last difficult flourish on Wildwood Flower.

Marie Bottrell

Marie Bottrell

2011 Inductee

Marie Bottrell was born in London, Ontario. As a pre-teen, she joined her two older siblings, paying her musical dues in the Whitestone County Band. At age 17, she began recording for The Mercey Brothers’ MBS label, releasing her first album in 1978, which yielded the debut hit single, ‘Just Reach Out and Touch Me.’ Marie went on to chart more than 20 singles on the RPM Charts, including her signature song, ‘The Star’, one of five Top 10 hits. Marie began touring with her own band, Marie Bottrell & Cottonwood. They appeared on all the popular television shows of the day including ‘The Tommy Hunter Show.’ Throughout her career, Marie has performed with Nashville stars like, Marty Robbins, Tammy Wynette, Tom T. Hall, and Minnie Pearl. Marie’s career slowed in the late 1980s, but she made a comeback in 1991 with 'Lasso Your Love' for the Nashville label, Cardinal. She continues to perform on stage today in various “Classic Country” events, as well as in her highly acclaimed, “Legends” tribute shows. Marie was recipient of the Canadian Country Music Association award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1983 and 1984. Bottrell was also a Juno nominee for Country Female Vocalist of the Year each year from 1979 – 1986. Bottrell was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and has been the recipient of many other accolades.

Amabile Choirs

Amabile Choirs

2010 Inductee

London has a reputation across Canada and in the world for the excellence of its choral music. The Amabile Choirs of London Canada’s musical excellence has helped build that reputation. The Amabile Choirs of London Canada are the first choir to be recognized by the Jack Richardson Music Hall of Fame. Amabile Choirs is an educational program welcoming children, youth and adults who wish to develop their musical talents as part of a vibrant, award-winning choral organization. (Amabile is pronounced Ah-MAH-bee-lay.) Active in London, Ontario since 1985, there about 300 Amabile choristers ranging in ages from 8 to adult. Together they form a total of eight auditioned choirs (four male choirs and four female choirs), plus two ensembles. The Amabile Youth Singers (AYS) was the first choir, a choir for young women, and it was co-founded by Brenda Zadorsky and John Barron in 1985. Brenda continues to conduct the AYS, Prima and the Amabile Young Women’s Ensemble. The Junior Amabile Singers (JAS) was founded in 1989 for younger girls. Today, the JAS and its training choir, Da Capo, are under the direction of Jacquelyn Norman and Wendy Landon. The Amabile Boys and Men’s Choirs, directed by Dr. Carol Beynon and Ken Fleet, were founded in 1990 to provide musical experiences of the highest level for male singers in South Western Ontario. Together, the continuum and depth that Amabile offers is unparalleled by any other choral organization in Canada and Amabile has achieved acclaim on national and world stages for its excellence in choral performance.

Kittie

Kittie

2010 Inductee

Kittie was founded in London in 1996 by two sisters — drummer Mercedes and singer-guitarist Morgan - Lander - as an all-female metal band. Kittie was soon playing clubs in London. The sisters were just 15 and 17 respectively when Kittie’s first album, “Spit,” was released on Artemis records. Kittie rose to success in 1999 when the track “Brackish” from “Spit” became a hit single. “Spit” was quickly Certified Gold and Kittie has sold more than 1.25 million albums worldwide. Kittie was nominated for a Juno as best new artist in 2000. Kittie has toured extensively, playing with such metal notables as Pantera and Slipknot. They have co-headlined the second stage at Ozzfest, performed on the Conan O’Brien show and hosted MTV’s Headbangers Ball. Between October and November of 2008, Kittie embarked on a European tour. The “Kittie Does Europe” tour included dates in the Netherlands, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Russia. Kittie toured Europe again in the winter of 2010. Kittie released its fifth studio album “In the Black” in September 2009. In total Kittie has released 6 albums/CDs and numerous singles and videos. The sisters launched their own clothing line called Poisoned Black Clothing and a management company called X of Infamy. Kittie was back on the road in North America early in 2010 with God Forbid and then played throughout the U.S. with Insane Clown Posse in May and June. Throughout the years there have been various guitar and bass players joining the Lander sisters. “Kittie: Origins/Evolutions”, a documentary by filmmaker Rob McCallum premiered at the London Ontario Film Festival in October of 2017. On February 11, 2017, bassist Trish Doan died at the age of 31.

Johnny Downs

Johnny Downs

2009 Inductee

Johnny Downs was born in London and received his training at local schools, and organized his first band in 1939 at the age of 17. In those days, every beach community had a dance pavilion, and Johnny and his band spent that summer before the war playing in Kincardine, quickly establishing themselves as a favourite throughout Southwestern and Midwestern Ontario. Other summer residencies for the band included Leamington, Midland, Hamilton and, of course, London itself. There was a war going on during these formative years, and, when John graduated from UWO he joined the Canadian Navy, thankfully coming home safe and sound a year later at the end of hostilities. After reforming his band, and working throughout the area once again, the fifties found the Johnny Downs band becoming the house orchestra at the legendary Stork Club in Port Stanley, where they stayed for nine straight years. They continued to be a featured band at the beach front dance hall right up to the late 60s. In fact, John and his wife Dorothy chose to retire to Port Stanley, not far from where the club once stood. Johnny Downs was also a clever businessman, and applied what he learned at Western to two very different but still musically oriented businesses. Many people do not know that when Capitol Records first came to Canada they set up shop in London, before moving to Toronto in the 60s. John was the original sales manager for Capitol (now EMI) and a “talent scout” for the label, helping many of the company’s earliest signings develop national profiles. He was a natural promoter as well as a salesman, and was noted for this with recognition by EMI on their fiftieth anniversary in Canada. John and Dorothy also owned and operated the Latin Quarter Restaurant and Nightclub on Maple Street. It was close enough to the Grand Theatre to be a favourite of the before and after theatre crowd, and was a popular hangout for musicians of all ages on an off night as well. Discounts were the rule of the house for musicians and music business people, and the staff included many of the same musicians who played in the latest edition of the Johnny Downs Orchestra. Each generation of the orchestra featured young musicians trying to develop their chops and earn a few dollars, and John loved that because he loved musicians. Many young players rented rooms from the Downs family for rates that were lower than one could expect to pay anywhere else. Johnny passed away in 2003.

Alf TIbbs

Alf TIbbs

2009 Inductee

Long after the Alf Tibbs dance band played its last note, London remembers its sounds and its leader and pianist. As the leader of “his Lion’s Club Orchestra,” Tibbs was the chief music-maker at the opening of the old Hotel London on July 25, 1927. He was just 23, but he was the man for the grand occasion. One of the key elements in the recent Museum London display Dance Hall Daze showed that Tibbs was a pianist and band leader who could do more, much more, than play the right notes. He knew how to do the right thing. The late Hope (Wolf) Garber – mother of Broadway and film star Victor Garber – was the “blues singer” with Tibbs when she was a teen in the 1940s. A “Gentiles Only” sign greeted her band when it showed up to perform at Grand Bend’s Lakeview Casino. Hope Wolf was Jewish. Tibbs swore his band would never play there again. The London pianist was close to Guy Lombardo as a teen. Born Jan. 4, 1904, Tibbs wanted to tour with the London bandleader just as Lombardo’s career was taking off. But Tibbs’s grandmother vetoed the idea. Tibbs stayed in London. He led bands in the first days of the old CFPL Radio and Port Stanley’s Stork Club. There is praise for the band in Frank and Nancy Prothero’s majestic How Sweet It Was: Fifty Years at the Stork Club: “Night after night, thousands of (Stork Club fans in the 1930s) found the band of Alf Tibbs the most satisfying dance band around.” During the Second World War, he became MC of a variety show with dancers, stage cowgirls, comedians and music. Like other London-based troupes, Tibbs’s all-stars played at training bases. After the war, Tibbs and his band continued to be active in London music into the early 1970s. He died on April 13, 1976.

Orchestra London

Orchestra London

2008 Inductee

Orchestra London Canada, also known as London Promenade Orchestra (1937–45), London Civic Symphony Orchestra (1945–57), London Symphony Orchestra (1957–81) and Orchestra London Canada— developed into one of Ontario’s leading community orchestras before achieving professional status in the 1970s. Conductor and Violinist, Bruce Sharpe, founded the orchestra in 1937 with the name The London Promenade Orchestra. The symphony gave its first concert in March 1937 at the H.B. Beal Technical Auditorium. London City Council gave approval to use the name London, but declined requests for financial assistance. The orchestra disbanded during the Second World War, but reformed under Sharpe in 1947, when the name changed to the London Civic Symphony. Sharpe, who often assumed the financial burden of running the orchestra himself, resigned in frustration in 1949. The Kiwanis Club of London marshalled financial support and a Symphony Association and board of directors was established. The orchestra appointed its first professional conductor, Martin Boundy, in 1949. In 1957 the orchestra changed its name to the London Symphony Orchestra and Boundy conducted the orchestra's first pop concert in 1959. The symphony continued to perform in the H.B. Beal School Auditorium until 1962, when it moved to the Grand Theatre. In 1967 it moved to Centennial Hall. In 1969, Clifford Evens became the new conductor. Under his leadership the orchestra achieved professional status and the number of concerts increased, as did the quality and calibre of the musicians. In 1960, the London Youth Symphony was founded with the senior orchestra as its sponsor. In 1983 it became Symphony London and in 1982 adopted the name Orchestra London to distinguish itself from the London UK orchestra. After weeks of speculation, the orchestra ceased operations on December 11, 2014 due to massive budget shortfalls. The musicians of the now bankrupt organization formally filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the orchestra on May 22, 2015. Despite this, the contracted musicians of the ensemble have continued to put on self-produced concerts within the London community. In January 2017, they adopted the name London Symphonia and continue to play.

Phil Murphy

Phil Murphy

Phil Murphy

2007 Inductee

Phil Murphy is renowned for his contributions as music educator, performer, conductor and adjudicator, with versatility which finds him comfortable with classical, theatrical, jazz or Klezmer music. Phillip Murphy was a professional musician for eight years before returning to University at U.W.O.’s Music Teacher’s College. He graduated as the first instrumentalist with a clarinet major. He taught for the London Public School board as both a music teacher and then a department head at H.B. Beal S.S. and Central S.S., as well as other local board positions. He also taught a Jazz course at Fanshawe College and hosted a Jazz Radio show. He was an active musician in the London community the entire time, as principal clarinet with the London Symphony Orchestra for 19 years. Phil brought his expertise to The Phil Murphy Big Band, a group of musicians who played with Phil for some time. Many were his peers in music education or were former students. He was a member of the London Kiwanis club and is a past president. He has been a member of the board of directors for the London Kiwanis Music Festival. Phil has traveled across North America as an adjudicator, clinician and lecturer. In 1999 he was recognized on the Mayor’s New Year’s Honour List for outstanding contributions to the arts in the City of London. Until May 2009 he also conducted Encore...The Concert Band, a 65-piece ensemble, that under his direction, reproduced the "Big Band Sound" for concertgoers as part of its repertoire.

Thundermug

Thundermug

2006 Inductee

Once billed as 'the heaviest band in the world’, Thundermug were known for writing unusual songs with the most intense driving beat of any band of the era. Thundermug released two top 40 Canadian singles and five albums over the course of their career which spanned from 1970 – 1976 and 1991 – 2001 when they officially disbanded. The band was initially composed of Joe de Angelis (guitar and vocals), Bill Durst (keyboards and guitar), James Corbett (bass) and Ed Pranskus (drums.) Their first album, Thundermug Strikes, recorded at Toronto Sound studios in the spring of 1972, was produced by Greg Hambleton, owner of Axe Records, and engineered Terry Brown. The album resulted in a Canadian Top 30 hit, “Africa”, based on radio interest in what was originally a non-single album song. In 1973, the band recorded its second album, Orbit and the title track was a Top 40 Canadian single. Selections from the first two albums were released in 1973 in the United States by Epic Records, using the title from the first album, Thundermug Strikes. In 1974, the band returned to Toronto to record their third album entitled Ta-Daa, which contained a cover of The Beatles’ “Drive My Car” as the first single. The album was released in the United States on Mercury Records. The band toured throughout Canada and the States during the 70’s. The band formally disbanded in 2001. All the members continue to play.

Jack Richardson

Jack Richardson

2005 Inductee

From musician to advertising agency account executive to music producer to record company founder and CIRPA president and instructor of Music Industry Arts, Jack Richardson has covered the music industry from all angles. In the 1950’s Jack performed with many of Canada’s most famous orchestras and he was a member of the Billy O’Connor show which became a Saturday night institution for CBC television across Canada. In 1960 while working with the McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency he became the account supervisor for the radio and tv side of the Coca-Cola Ltd. account. He was instrumental in the creation and development of the award winning “youth radio” advertising campaign for Coke. The concept involved using current Canadian talent, which was starting to make itself heard. He recorded Bobby Curtola, David Clayton Thomas, J.B. and the Playboys, The Collectors (Chiliwack), Robbie Lane, Jack London and of course, The Guess Who, for Coca-Cola commercials. In 1968, with three business partners, he founded Nimbus 9 Productions and signed their first artist, The Guess Who. In 1972 he designed and built Nimbus 9’s Soundstage Recording Studio, and did the same two years later for the J.A.M.F. disc mastering facility. In 1974/75 Richardson introduced Direct-to-disc audiophile recordings when Nimbus 9 launched the world-famous Umbrella Records label. During this time, Richardson’s work, as a record producer included a diverse roster of Canadian, American and international acts including: The Guess Who, Alice Cooper, The Boss Brass, Bob Seger, Poco, Christopher Ward, Rough Trade, The Association, Badfinger, The Toronto Chamber Orchestra, The Brecker Brothers, Poppa John Creach, Hagood Hardy and the Canadian Brass. Of his 14 albums for The Guess Who alone, 11 were Canadian gold, five were Canadian platinum with five gold and three platinum records in the United States. His records with Alice Cooper and Bob Seger also achieved gold and platinum status in Canada and the U.S. In all, Jack Richardson has produced 27 Billboard charted singles, over 20 Billboard charted albums and has received 38 gold and platinum awards. He was a driving force in the birth of FACTOR (The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings) and in the establishment of CIRPA (The Canadian Independent Record Producers Association) and became its first president. He was chair of the industry advisory board for the Music Industry Arts Project at Fanshawe College, London Ontario in the late 1970’s. In 1985 he became the audio production instructor for the MIA program at the college until his retirement in the mid-2000’s. In 1986 the CARAS/Juno, Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award was presented to Jack and he is currently a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. SOCAN presented Richardson with their Special Achievement Award in 1988. In 2002 the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences renamed the Juno Producer of the Year Award as the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year. The pinnacle of his career came in 2003 when Jack Richardson was awarded the Order of Canada. On May 13, 2011 at age 81, Mr. Jack Richardson died peacefully in the hospital.

Lombardo Family

Lombardo Family

2004 Inductee

Guy (Gaetano Alberto) Lombardo was born on June 19, 1902 in London, Ontario to Gaetano and Lena Lombardo. Lombardo senior, who had immigrated to Canada from Italy, worked as a tailor, and the family lived on a small house on Queens Avenue. Guy was the eldest of seven children, five boys and two girls, born between 1902 and 1924 and took violin lessons from another Italian immigrant Prof. Venuta. In 1914 Guy with brothers Liebert (drums), Carmen (flute) and neighbour Kreitzer (piano) formed a quartet and played for the local Italian community. In 1920 they heard records of Paul Whitemans’ band and immediately became fascinated with the sound. They changed instruments to emulate it, Carmen to sax and Liebert to trumpet. By 1922 the group expanded to include more saxes, trumpets and trombone. In the spring of 1923 the Lombardo brothers were hired as the house band for the Hopkins Casino at Port Stanley on Lake Erie. After the band finished its second season at the Winter Gardens in London, they traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to try to break into the American market. In March of 1924 the Lombardos’ band recorded several songs for the Gennett label. Their sound differed little from that of other white bands of the era, however, and the recordings sold poorly. They soon realized that changes were needed if the orchestra was going to survive. They began to develop their own brand of sweet music, focusing on melody over improvisation. Brother Carmen also helped create a distinct saxophone sound that set them apart from all the other bands. They began to call themselves the Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians and wear the distinctive red blazers reminiscent of the RCMP. Their big break finally came in Chicago in 1927 when Guy paid radio station WBBM to broadcast a fifteen-minute segment of their performance at the Granada Cafe. By the end of the night the ballroom was packed and the radio station had received so many calls that they extended the broadcast further into the evening. The band was hired for a residency at the Roosevelt Grill in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and their New Year’s Eve broadcasts (which continued with Lombardo until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria) were a major part of New Year’s celebrations across North America. Guy became known as “Mr. New Year’s Eve.” Even after Lombardo’s death, the band’s New Year’s specials continued to air for two more years on CBS. Lombardo never forgot his friends in London, and when the Thames River flooded in 1937 he staged a benefit for flood victims in Detroit’s Fox Theatre. The band opened this engagement with a rendition of Home Sweet Home, in honour of his home town. It is estimated that throughout their career the Lombardos sold between 300 -500 million recordings.

Helix

Helix

2003 Inductee

For over 30 years Helix has been rocking you! With 5 gold and 2 platinum albums under their belt, Helix released their 16th studio album in 2016, Helix’s music is rooted in classic rock and could easily be compared to AC/DC or Aerosmith. They toured Europe with Motörhead in the eighties and were there in LA for the whole heavy metal explosion that brought bands like Judas Priest and the Scorpions into the mainstream. They have performed with over 200 national recording acts world wide and most recently with Alice Cooper, Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Cheap Trick, Dio, April Wine, Swollen Members, and The Trailer Park Boys. When MTV was first launched, Helix was there with their video of “Heavy Metal Love,” which went into heavy rotation. Helix was also there for the inaugural year of Much Music in Canada and was the first band to give them commemorative gold and platinum albums. Helix is one of the few Canadian metal bands that had a record deal with a major American label, Capital. In 2007 Brian Vollmer was visited by MTV CRIBS for an introspective look at the legendary singer’s London home dubbed “Planet Helix”. Also in 2007 Brian Vollmer let his fans into his personal life once again with his autobiography “Gimme An R”, that spans his childhood to his days in the world of rock and roll. Helix’s song, “Heavy Metal Love,” was featured in the Trailer Park Boys Movie and Helix performed at the movie premiere. Brian also did a cameo on the Trailer Park Boy’s as an extra. Helix has played everything from small run-down bars to the largest concert stadiums in the world and has been featured on the covers of all the biggest Rock and Roll mags. Brian Vollmer, the only permanent member of the band, is also an accomplished vocal student (33 yrs.) as well and instructor of Bel Canto (the same singing technique used by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet. Brian and the band continue doing what they do best and that’s performing live and making records, reaching out to loyal fans, and winning over the next generation of head bangers.

Georgette Fry

Georgette Fry

2003 Inductee

Juno nominated Georgette Fry is an award- winning singer/songwriter who has garnered widespread national acclaim as one of Canada’s premiere vocalists. She has many awards and nominations for both her stunning vocals and strong song writing. After spending time living and playing in London, she has called Kingston home since 1972. Her debut album “Rites of Passage” received a Juno nomination in 1995. Her second release, “Georgette – Live” earned her: The Jazz Report Award for Blues Musician of the Year and two Real Blues Magazine Awards for Best Canadian Blues Vocalist (1997, 1998.) Georgette is also a talented songwriter and seven tracks on her third release, “Let Me Drive”, are Fry originals. Her latest release, “back in a moment...” was released in 2007. It is a collection of jazz inspired ballads and has received excellent reviews. She has received four nominations from Maple Blues Awards for “Female Vocalist of the Year”. In January 2004 she received Real Blues Awards for “Best Blues Songwriter”, “Best Blues Release – Female Artist” (Let Me Drive) and Best Canadian Blues Vocalist (Female). In 2006 CBC’s “Saturday Night Blues” awarded her the “Great Canadian Blues Award”. Georgette shares this honour with past winners such as Colin James, Long John Baldry and Colin Linden. Georgette has taken her music to many parts of Canada and as far away as South Africa. She has been honoured to have been included on the Toronto Blues Society’s album “Women’s Blues Revue LIVE” and on CBC’s “Saturday Night Blues 20 Year Compilation CD”. In 2002, Georgette designed and implemented a non- music-reading, non-auditioning "pop" choir (Shout Sister!), specifically aimed at women whose “so-called” musical limitations may have robbed them of prior opportunities to sing in a group setting. Georgette believes that there are physical and psychological benefits of singing that should be experienced by all. Shout Sister Choirs have popped up across Canada, with one right here in London. “With her luscious singing voice, she explores the soulful grey area between blues and jazz, where artists like Etta James and Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt have staked their careers.” Sandy MacDonald, Halifax Daily News.

Zuul's Evil Disco

Zuul's Evil Disco

2003 Inductee

Zuul’s Evil Disco were a funk rock band from London, Ontario that formed in the nineties. According to the bands facebook page, the membership is “too long to list.” The ingredients of Zuul’s Evil Disco: 1. Non-stop movement and energy. 2. Flashy, ridiculous costumes & accessories (i.e. Afro wigs, capes.) 3. A complete mockery of Rock and Roll stage antics (i.e. synchronized moves) 4. Lyrics that had everything to do with nothing (with an endless supply of the lyric, “Baby”) 5. Progressive funk grooves. 6. Puppets. They released two albums in the late 90’s and won the coveted Rising Star Award in 2001 at Canadian Music Week. Recent Zuul’s Evil Disco sightings were reported at the 2006 Northern Lights Festival and they have staged other “events” at bars and festivals in Canada. Zuul’s Evil Disco is not harmful to humans but can elicit manic behaviour.

63 Monroe

63 Monroe

2003 Inductee

Often described as New York Dolls meets Motorhead, their sound was a blend of classic punk, 60's garage and eventually 80's "new metal", ‘63 Monroe came into being in mid 1980 in London Ontario. It wasn’t exactly a new band; it was actually a name change from N.F.G. to ‘63 Monroe. The punk band N.F.G. could no longer get work because of their notorious reputation. At this point the members were: Steven R. Stunning on vocals, Markii Burnaway on guitar, Mark DeRoux on bass and Pete (Lambourghini) Lambert on drums. The band played its first job as ‘63 Monroe in Grand Bend, Ontario without incident and got steady work until a very brief break-up in 1981. The band had been recording both live tracks and studio tracks up until this point. The band reformed months later with a new bassist named Pete Dekoker and a new drummer Jeff (Rooster) Rooth just in time for the release of their debut recording, an E.P titled “63 Monroe /N.F.G.”, which featured both line-ups. In 1983 the new line up released a cassette titled “Reign of Terror.” Soon after the band signed on with Savvy records and released two singles. Oddly, these singles were both cover tunes; “Henry VIII” and a ripping version of “White Christmas”. In 1985 the band released “Stinkin’ out the Joint” perhaps their best-known release. The band supported this album playing many gigs, including one at CBGB’s in New York City. Markii Burnaway left the band in 1986, setting the stage for seven different guitar players over the next two and a half years. Jeff Rooth, the bands drummer, passed away unexpectedly and Joe Kettlewell was recruited to play drums for the band. In early 1989, Markii Burnaway returned to the band until August 1990. In 2002, Stunning organized a new line-up of the band which now included Brian McMillan (guitar) and Jeff Depew (drums) to play a few shows, but this line up ended up playing regularly. ’63 Monroe released 6 full length albums, and numerous cassettes, Eps and singles. Their greatest asset is their wildly energetic live performances. Taking nothing away from their recorded work, it was almost impossible for this energy to be transformed on to their recordings. If you saw them live you rarely walked out of the show disappointed. The band continues to play regularly, with Archie Gamble on drums following the death of Jeff Depew. One important date for them has become the ‘Toys for Tots” show organized by Stunning to help make sure every child gets a toy at Christmas time.

The Nihilist Spasm Band

The Nihilist Spasm Band

2003 Inductee

The Nihilist Spasm Band is generally credited as “the first noise band.” Formed in 1965 in London Ontario the band included Hugh McIntyre, John Clement, John Boyle, Bill Exley, Murray Favaro, Archie Leitch, Art Pratten, and Greg Curnoe. Many of the band members are local artists and educators. The term “Spasm” refers to their use of homemade instruments. Most of the NSB’s instruments are modifications of other instruments, or wholly invented by the members. In addition to the homemade instruments the band performs live improvised material. The range of the improvisation is such that instruments are not tuned to each other, tempos and time signatures are not imposed, and the members push the ranges of their instrumentation by engaging in constant innovation. They have released 16 albums of material that has been recorded live on stage or live in the studio with no second takes. For years they played every Monday night at the York Hotel (Call the Office) then the Victoria Tavern and finally at the Forest City Gallery. The reaction to their music was as diverse as the music itself. Sometimes people threw glasses at them and sometimes they became rabid fans. Over 50 years later the same line-up, minus a few key people still play together. Leitch has retired, Curnoe was killed in a bicycle accident in 1992, and McIntyre died of heart failure in 2004. The remaining members have been joined by Aya Onishi on percussion.

The Demics

The Demics

2002 Inductee

Originally formed in London Ontario 1977, the band consisted of vocalist Keith Whittaker, guitarist Rob Brent, bassist Iain Atkinson-Staines, and drummer Nick Perry. Nick left early on and the Demics rehearsed in early ‘78 with future B–Girl drummer Marcy Saddy, but ultimately solidified the lineup with the addition of J. D. “Jimmi” Weatherstone. The band made their debut in true underground fashion at a private loft party in front of 250 people on December 23, 1977. It was truly the birth of punk in London. Throughout 1978, the band was a rising star in the Canadian punk scene. They recorded their debut EP “Talk’s Cheap” in the fall of that year. The EP’s single, “New York City” released on Ready Records was a breakthrough hit on radio stations across Canada. In 1979, Brent left the band and went on to form the post punk/new wave band, “Mettle” as guitarist and synth player. Steve Koch replaced him. The band released a self-titled full-length album in 1980, but subsequently broke up due to internal tensions. In 1996, a new CD compiling both of the band’s original albums titled New York City was released domestically on Huge Records. Also, that year, the song “New York City” was named the greatest Canadian song of all time in a reader poll by National Chart Magazine. Vocalist Keith Whittaker died of cancer July 1996. Guitarist Rob Brent died of a heart condition November 5th 2014 at the age of 57.

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