When it comes to music, it all starts with the song.
It might seem like a pretty obvious statement, but one would be amazed at how many different sectors within the entertainment industry conclude that certain artists’ success depends on everything. but the melody: image, performance, charisma, fashion, following on social networks, etc.
However, organizations like the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, founded by British-born, Toronto-based impresario Frank Davies, are trying to change perceptions and give recognition where it’s due.
In a star-studded ceremony at Massey Hall on Saturday, several musical superstars known for their excellence in songwriting are inducted for their works, musical creations that have brought joy to millions around the world – and, in some examples, set in motion cultural trends that still resonate today.
Welcome to the induction, Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, David Foster, Alanis Morissette and Daniel Lavoie!
Who can deny the seismic aftershocks of Ottawa-born Morissette following the release of her angry but empowering ‘You Oughta Know’ from her famous 1995 ‘Jagged Little Pill’, still one of rock music’s best-selling albums 33 million copies?
This unique song changed the complexion of the pop rock singer-songwriter landscape overnight, spawning a slew of cathartic imitators (Meredith Brooks and Tracy Bonham, to name a few) and inspiring many others.
In an earlier interview with the Star, Morissette — who spent her early recording years as a lightweight pop star under her first name and will be inducted by rising pop ingenue Olivia Rodrigo on Saturday — gave credence to her revival.
“As a teenager I worked with (One to One engineer and director) Leslie Howe, so (pop) was the focus at the time and the autobiographical aspect of writing songs wasn’t something I was encouraged to do at that time – in fact, quite the opposite,” she said. “So when I emancipated myself as such and I moved to Los Angeles, I just knew I wouldn’t stop until I wrote songs that felt really authentic to what was happening at the time.”
Serena Ryder, one of the performers who will pay tribute to Morissette, said she admires his incredible depth as a melodist.
“I like the way Alanis writes from a stream of consciousness; as if plugged into a divine channel to wisdom,” Ryder wrote via email. “One of my favorite songs is ‘Head Over Feet’ – the melody, cadence and lyrics come together perfectly and always make me feel light and hopeful.”
Bryan Adams, exclusively with his collaborations with Vancouver’s Jim Vallance, climbed on the shoulders of classic earworms such as “Summer of ’69”, “Straight From The Heart”, “Cuts Like A Knife”, “Run To You”, “This Time” and “Somebody” to conquer the world, opening the door for other contemporary Canadian artists not only to break through, with some regularity, in the United States and thereafter, in the world.
Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger was particularly enamored with Vallance’s talent.
“I actually co-wrote with Jim before,” said Kroeger, who will perform with bandmate Ryan Peake at the ceremony and whose band released a new album in November called “Get Rollin.”
“That kind of talent and ability doesn’t go away. I would still be honored to write with him today. It’s up there with Elton John / Bernie Taupin – it’s so good.
And while Adams and Vallance haven’t been associated with all of the chart-topping hits, they’re responsible for much of the more than 100 million albums the artist has sold since the start of his career. in 1981.
Not to say Vallance didn’t hold up: his hit catalog includes Heart’s hit “What About Love?” (co-written by Torontonians Brian Allen and Sheron Alton) and Glass Tiger’s first two hits, “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” and “Someday”, (co-written by Alan Frew and Sam Reid.)
Adams told The Star in a previous interview that the most important aspect of mining success is consistently writing.
“It’s a bit like looking for oil,” he chuckled. “Because you never know when it’s going to happen. If you don’t work there, you’ll never find it.
In the 1980s, prolific songwriter and producer David Foster defined the sound of the power ballad with the Fender Rhodes, piano and snare drum.
While Canadians first heard of him as the co-writer of Skylark’s 1972 hit “Wildflower,” the 16-time Grammy Award winner got his big break when Earth, Wind and Fire founder Maurice White, invited him to co-produce the band’s album “I Am,” for which Foster co-wrote the enduring hit “After The Love Has Gone” and the popular “In The Stone.”
Foster almost single-handedly revived the group’s somewhat dormant Chicago sales through three of their albums, “Chicago 16”, “Chicago 17” (a six million seller in the United States) and “Chicago 18”, and has since written for some of them. pop music’s biggest superstars, including Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston.
“Having been a member of Chicago for five years now, those he composed or co-wrote for the Chicago catalog, which are enduring hits, are some of my favorites – ‘You’re The Inspiration’, ‘Hard to Say I ‘I’m sorry,’ — which are the two songs I’m going to do during the show,” said Toronto-born Chicago singer Neil Donell. “Obviously he’s got his own brand in terms of how to produce things. He really defined a sound in the 1980s and beyond… He’s a brilliant composer and arranger – and I’m proud to say – a friend.
Newly inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Deborah Cox, who will also perform on Saturday, said she loves Foster’s unique musicianship.
“One of my favorite things about David’s songwriting is that he plays with the keys in a very unique way,” she wrote via email.
“My favorite key change is in Celine Dion’s ‘I Can’t Live So Live Without You.’ It’s so unexpected and brilliant.
“I always liked his production too. From “Through the Fire” by Chaka (Khan) to the music of Chicago, the soundtrack to “Dreamgirls” on Broadway… They were favorites growing up. »
Foster told The Star there were “some punches” in the 80s.
“Working with Earth, Wind And Fire was an incredible pleasure for me, because I loved the band,” Foster said. “Working with Chicago and putting them back on the map was pretty exciting.
“And meeting Celine early in her career was a highlight for me. It was wonderful to be associated with her. Natalie Cole and the ‘Unforgettable’ album. And ‘Le garde du corps’.
Less known in these regions, but no less impactful, was the legacy of Daniel Lavoie.
Born in Dunrea, Manitoba, the singer-songwriter and actor got his start with a CBC Radio Canada singer-songwriter contest and had his first international hit with the song “I left my island” in France, Brazil and Portugal.
With a hit album “Attention tension” and its hit “Ils s’aiment”, and songs like “Hôtel (des rêves)”, “La danse du smatte”, “Dans le temps des Animaux”, “La Vérité sur the truth” and “I would like to see New York. Lavoie found favor around the world, although his English-language compositions did not have the same impact in the rest of the provinces. He also writes children’s songs.
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