In 1985, Canadians Bryan Adams, Corey Hart, Loverboy & others enjoyed their best year ever

By on March 11, 2019

“Tonight’s ‘Take Off’ presents rock from the second largest country in the world, Canada, the newest force in today’s music scene” says Night Flight’s Pat Prescott in our Canuck-flavored “Take Off to Canadian Rock,” which originally aired on November 1, 1985, and you can now see streaming on Night Flight Plus.

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“Canadian Rock is rooted in both British music and American Top Forty,” Ms. Prescott continues, and 1985 had been a successful year for many of the Canadian acts featured here.

However, beyond Bryan Adams and Corey Hart and bands like Loverboy and perennial progressive rock trio Rush, very few other contemporary Canadian groups and artists from the mid-80s made any real lasting impact down in the United States.

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By age eighteen, rockin’ singer-songwriter Bryan Adams (b. November 5, 1959, in Kingston, Ontario) had already formed a longtime songwriting partnership with Jim Vallance.

Within a year, Adams was signing a recording contract with A&M Records, which remained his label for decades, and he finally broke in the U.S. with his third studio album, 1983’s Cuts Like a Knife.

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1984’s Reckless was an even bigger success — with its six successful charting singles, including “Run to You,” “Summer of ’69” and “It’s Only Love” (his duet with Tina Turner) — ending a more-than-a-decade long drought since the last time a Canadian artist had a #1 album on the Billboard charts.

Reckless sold more than ten times platinum in Canada, which had a population of 26 million at the time.

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Canada’s other top male singing star was Montréal’s Corey Hart, whose Top Ten hit “Sunglasses at Night” — from his 1983 debut album, First Offense — was  actually recorded in England (at the time the Canadian charts were dominated by British bands like Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, Wham! and Duran Duran).

The title track from his 1985 album Boy in the Box was inspired by a deejay on Montréal’s 98 Hit Radio CKGM, who always signed off the air saying “This is Steve Anthony, your boy in the box…”

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“Boy in the Box” — #26 in the U.S. and #4 in Canada — along with two other Top Ten singles, “Everything in My Heart” and “Never Surrender,” helped propel the album to #2 on Canada’s album charts, surpassing Anne Murray’s Greatest Hits to become only the second Canadian album to attain diamond status by selling one million copies in Canada.

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Calgary, Alberta’s Loverboy — Mike Reno (lead vocals), Paul Dean (guitarist), Doug Johnson (keyboards), Scott Smith (bass), and Matt Frenette (drums) — were later based in Vancouver, British Columbia, where they had debuted at the Pacific Coliseum in November 1979, opening for KISS.

By 1985, they’d charted a handful of U.S. hit singles, including “The Kid Is Hot Tonight,” “Turn Me Loose,” “Working for the Weekend,” “When It’s Over,” ‘Hot Girls in Love” and “Queen of the Broken Hearts.”

They’d also recorded the official U.S. theme for the 1984 Summer Olympics, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop You Now,” and that same year Reno recorded “Almost Paradise,” a duet with Ann Wilson of Heart, for the Footloose soundtrack.

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In 1985 — as their fourth studio album Lovin’ Every Minute of It began going double-platinum on the strength of the Mutt Lange-penned title track — some of Loverboy’s other members began pursuing solo careers, leading to their popularity as a band declining over the rest of the decade.

Read more below about some of the other Canadians acts featured in “Take Off to Canadian Rock” below.

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Toronto-based Platinum Blonde formed in 1982 as a trio — Mark Holmes (vocals/bass), Sergio Galli (guitar) and Chris Steffler (drums) — before expanding to a foursome in ’85, adding Kenny MacLean (guitar/bass/keyboards).

Their biggest career hit was the #1 Canadian chart-topper “Cryin’ Over You,” which featured Rush’s Alex Lifeson‘s cameo guitar solo.

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Honeymoon Suite — Johnnie Dee (lead vocals), Derry Grehan (guitar), Ray Coburn (keyboards), Gary Lalonde (bass) and Dave Betts (drums) — formed in 1981 in Niagara Falls, taking their name from the fact that their city was the unofficial honeymoon capital of North America.

Considered Canada’s hard rockin’ answer to America’s Van Halen, Honeymoon Suite’s new wave-flavored “Stay in the Light”  just missed the Canadian Top Forty in 1985.

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The Parachute Club — noted for their socio-political lyrics and funky, Third-World rhythms — were voted the Most Promising Group in the 1984 Juno Awards.

Their ever-changing lineup were formed circa 1979 by lead singer Lorraine Segato and drummer/percussionist Billy Bryans in the Queen Street West neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario.

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The title track from their third album, At the Feet of the Moon — which just missed the U.S. Top Ten — was inspired by the band’s trip to Mexico, during which Segato found herself immersed in Mayan culture, as she explains here.

Finally, our “Take Off to Canadian Rock” comes to a close with Canada’s very own supergroup Northern Lights, a charity-driven collective featuring Gordon Lightfoot, the Guess Who’s Burton Cummings, Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Dan Hill, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Corey Hart & many, many more.

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The video received heavy exposure via MuchMusic, a MTV-style channel and much like USA for Africa’s We Are the World and Bob Geldof and British artists had with the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” it raised more than $3 million by the end of the decade for drought-ridden Ethiopian famine relief efforts.

A 90-minute documentary of the recording session for “Tears Are Not Enough” was broadcast on CBC TV at the end of the year.

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Night Flight’s 1985 “Take Off to Canadian Rock” — which also featured videos by Idle Eyes, Bruce Cockburn, Doug Cameron and Rush (read more about “The Big Money” here) — is now streaming on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.