The Measure Of The Man, As Told By Friends Of Deane Cameron
Updated June 13: -- If one is to be measured, let it be by one's actions, not just the words.
By this standard, Deane Cameron's legacy is long and honourable.
By FYI Staff
Updated June 13: -- If one is to be measured, let it be by one's actions, not just the words.
By this standard, Deane Cameron's legacy is long and honourable.
Long in the measure of people his actions have touched and enriched.
Long in the praise and affection that so many have reached out to share.
We asked friends and colleagues to offer anecdotes and stories, and the response was remarkable.
Remarkable because the stories readers have sent in are outstanding.
To name names takes away from the weight of the man’s deft touch at building bridges, showing respect, aiding people for no other reason than it was the decent thing to do.
His funeral Friday at Roy Thomson Hall no less is extraordinary.
The sum of the stories and anecdotes shared here tell us that Deane Cameron was a role model for us all. A person of strong faith, who loved music, respected people, had integrity, faith in humankind, loved his country, and when it was in his power to help, help he gave.
For further reading, a memorial page has been set up on Facebook that can be accessed here.
On behalf of all of us here, thank you for sharing your stories.
He was like a brother.
There are so many stories…
Seeing The Band for the first time with Bear at Massey. We were 17. We went home and talked about it for hours, started dressing like them at high school.
We were like a cult lol
... loved Bear's sayings
I remember when ‘Highway’ was really taking off, I get a call from Bear. "Get the net!” he says. "Tom, get the net," in reference to his beloved bass fishing at Eagle Lake ... gonna miss him.
Leslie, his sister, was so supportive when we'd rehearse at his mom's. She'd come down, listen, cheer us on ... bring us sandwiches.
My heart goes out to her, Cristina Jim, Kailin and Cam and the rest of the family ...
He was like a brother to me. I wouldn't in all likelihood be making music without his friendship and support.
Deane was my hero. He took a chance on me as a very young man back in 1983. We were an inseparable team in those early years and he literally taught me the business. But more than that, he instilled in me his belief that we could build a domestic roster that would represent all genres of Canadian music culture, from all corners of our country. He was most proud of this. Think about it. Tom Cochrane, Anne Murray, Glass Tiger, The Rankin Family, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Nickelback, Susan Aglukark, Strange Advance, Luba, The Tea Party, Johnny Reid, Moist, Rita MacNeil, I Mother Earth, k-OS, Serena Ryder, to name but a few.
In 1992, EMI acquired Virgin Records and our family grew. Deane ensured that Virgin retained their unique identity, while at the same time supporting their commitment to their domestic roster including The Northern Pikes, Colin James and Leahy.
EMI was also home to the premier indie Canadian labels including Anthem, Aquarius, Daffodil, Nettwerk, Alert, and later Arts & Crafts, along with many others, and we represented all of their great artists. They were treated as our own; Rush, Corey Hart, April Wine, Sarah McLachlan, Sass Jordan, Kim Mitchell, The Grapes of Wrath, Sum 41, Feist, Broken Social Scene and so on.
Only Deane could have gained the trust and respect of Stompin' Tom Connors and coax him out of retirement. They shared a deep love for each other and we had many wonderfully warm times together with Tom through the years.
Deane had a musician’s sensibility. This was at the core of what made him such an exceptional leader and champion for all of the artists we signed. He was only 34 when he was made President. The youngest ever at that time to lead a major, multinational label.
He was more than a captain. He was a five-star general and he led with passion, humility and a deep and unwavering integrity. He allowed those that worked with him to grow in our roles and work together as a team, with a common cause; to represent all of the great domestic and international EMI artists and bring their music to all Canadians.
The outpouring of love and tributes on social media over the past few days are testaments of what Deane meant to so many of us. He was like a big brother to me and took me into his family. We had so many great times up north, whether it be fishing in the summer or snowmobiling in the winter. I will always treasure our Harley adventures with a number of former EMI colleagues.
I will be eternally proud of all that EMI Music Canada achieved under the leadership of such an exceptional man!
Rest in Peace, my brother, until we meet again.
Deane was a one of a kind, a generous, loyal, honest and dedicated human being without 'airs' or a self-promoting nature, whose outstanding career was a result of hard work, enthusiasm, ethics, belief in and love of music and all things Canadian. To me, he demonstrated all the best personal attributes of Canadian pioneers. Quiet, reserved, private - but strong in adversity, and just getting on with business and getting things done. Focused in his vision of giving as many deserving Canadian artists of all stripes an opportunity to be heard.
Search out Deane’s inspired speeches when inducted into the CMW industry Hall of Fame and later his Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award Juno to learn more about what he stood for.
Deane will be hugely missed personally & professionally.
In 1988, Tom Cochrane, Paul Hyde (of the Payola$ and Rock 'n' Hyde) and Murray McLauchlan recorded a wonderful song by Murray that I published called Let the Good Guys Win. Deane released it as a single and video on Capitol. It had him written all over it with its perennial Scottish-folk anthem, sing-a-long style:
Deane was a 'good guy' who won! Big-time!
I was barely 19 years old when I first met Deane Cameron in his office at EMI Capitol Records in Mississauga, Ontario.
A fab four Beatles portrait was proudly on display behind his stately desk, forever framing my first impressions of this music man as he attentively listened to my teenage demos while I nervously sat in front of him trying my hardest not to show how shit-scared and in awe I was of the moment.
With his impressive countenance and commanding baritone speaking voice he began in earnest to methodically explain to me where the strengths and weaknesses lay rooted in those early songs of mine.
He was brutally honest and definitely opinionated.
Deane’s passionate knowledge of music dazzled me because I naively thought all record executives were just suits or number guys.
There are, without doubt, one million miles traveled for each artist on their individual dream roadways and indeed it does take a village to reach the destination. But, it also requires a courageous visionary to lead you there.
Deane Cameron was mine at a pivotal career cross-point when he pushed, pleaded and prodded his US label counterparts in LA to come up to Canada and see me perform, as I was scheduled to open up for Culture Club at the Montréal Forum in a few short weeks.
He would not be deterred - and finally the two VP A&R heads at EMI America in Hollywood acquiesced to come check out “this kid” that early spring of 1984. The rest, as they say, is history.
Deane never indulged in the machinations and skullduggery which are all to common in the music biz, nor did he ever hold back letting you know precisely what he was thinking - sometimes even poking you straight in the eye! - although 'twas never intended to hurt but only to help sculpt you into becoming the best incarnation of the artist he believed you could be.
We didn’t always see things in the same way and subsequently had our fair share of dust-ups, but he was loyal and fiercely proud to champion all musicians ...especially those hailing from his beloved Canada.
Being in his presence somehow made me feel just a bit more “Canadian” and I liked it.
The news of his sudden death really shocked me because he was larger than life.
But I’m grateful to have had the chance in recent years to spend time together, letting him know how special he was & saluting the indelible impact he made on all Canadian artists who were fortunate enough to cross his path.
Deane would usually sign-off on a call or email quoting this line ...“Now, go forth and pick up thy musket, young laddie!!”
Well Deane Cameron,
My musket is raised in honour and respect for you kind sir, because here once lived and walked tall...a great music man for the ages.
Deane was one of my heroes and inspirations. A wonderful human being who never had a bad word to say about anyone. His passion and commitment to Canadian artists was unparalleled. I’m so lucky to have called him a friend.
Where do I start?
Deane Cameron, to me, was as close to a mentor as there ever will be. I was hoping that we would have time to reminisce and get the real truth of some of the crazy nights we spent bar hopping with some of the EMI staff! Deane would call me at the oddest hours, send a car…and we’d go on adventures! Those adventures, are the stories that I would have loved to get HIS take on, as I’m sure we’d remember them with great gusto, and most likely, differently!
Deane was a great believer of Canadian artists, and I’m honoured to have been one of them.
I will miss him dearly.
Deane Is someone that I looked up to from the very beginning.
Watching him in the early days of EMI he was ahead of the curve. Deane inspired us all to do better…to be better – and his humanity was always front and centre in his doing so.
Deane and I played a lot of business tennis together.
We were fierce competitors, yet always respectful with the shared understanding that the artist came first.
He was an inspiration to an entire industry for 40 years, and his passion and artist commitment knew no bounds.
His passion and commitment to the refurbishment and renewal of Massey Hall will also be a part of his lasting musical legacy.
In recent years we had great meals together reminiscing about our war stories within this shared competitive spirit.
This man and his Strong and admirable character remain as good as it gets.
Deane, we miss you already.
It’s taken me a while to process and absorb the incredibly sad news about the sudden passing of Deane.
Deane was a true Canadian, a giant in our industry and when he received the Order of Canada it was one of the proudest days of his life.
He was generous, passionate, honourable, loyal beyond comprehension. He was truly one of the best and most caring people on this planet. In the almost 40 years that I knew Deane he was my mentor, a boss, but more than anything he was a dear friend and part of our own family.
I have so many fond memories, more than you can even imagine, but the one that sticks out the most is our return journey from Calgary to Toronto after the 9-11 attacks. It was just the two of us, for three days in a minivan across Canada. Great storytelling and so Canadian, interspersed with cell phone calls from David Munns and bad jokes!
We will all miss his belly laughs, joy for life and the best one-liners you’ve ever heard.
My deepest condolences to Cristina and the entire family at this difficult time. Godspeed Deane, RIP.
We all deeply miss you.
It is heartbreaking that we have to experience this loss. I, like many others, can say that without Deane Cameron, I would not have gotten my start in this industry. Bringing Enigma Records to Canada in 1984 gave me my start as GM of the label. On the day Enigma closed, Deane was there to tell me to start a new company, and he would be my first client. That was the birth of DMD Entertainment, which is still operating almost 30 years later. After this, I joined the EMI Canada family for six years as VP of Promotion and Media Relations.
Deane was always there as a mentor, champion, and a friend–and we achieved better for ourselves so that he would be proud of us.
The Canadian music industry would not be what it is today without Deane Cameron, and I am honoured to be one of the thousands that he touched along his path.
Deane was the head of EMI when I was signed to Virgin/EMI in the early 90’s. I remember how nervous I was meeting him for the first time and how calming and respectful he was while also, clearly, being a powerful force. Even though he was a musician, he never thought he was “in the band” and was clearly confident enough to perform his role in the background and compete on the global stage on behalf of his artists.
During my lawyer days, Deane would argue and debate with me for a long time about signing acts to his Canadian team while honestly confiding in me about the frustrations of working with US counterparts that would steal great Canadian acts from underneath him and try to eat his lunch at every turn.
I felt privileged that he felt comfortable enough to confide in me about those challenges.
He was a real music guy and a fatherly figure for many of us in the Canadian business. I will miss him a bunch.
As perhaps one of the oldest living artists ever signed to (Capitol), EMI Canada, I was greatly saddened to hear of Deane's passing. It didn't matter that I was an instrumental artist or the fact that for the most part, the days of sales in the millions were over, he always made me feel special. Always a gentleman and always a super proud Canadian.
He will be sadly missed by a nation who knows too little about his efforts to promote our country and the people who make it sing!
What a great Canadian and a great music man.
I first met Deane in 1973 when he and Mark Steinback were promoting a concert at Martingrove Collegiate in Toronto. I was working at Concept 376 and booked them with April Wine. It was a huge success. I have watched over the years as he became one of the icons of the Canadian Music Industry. In the '70 he heard I was looking for a singer for a band I managed called Red Ryder who were the house band downstairs at the El Mocambo. He called and said I should check out this cab driving folkie named Tom Cochrane...……
What an incredible loss to this industry to which he devoted his entire adult life. My thoughts at this time are with his family.
RIP Big Deane
I just wanted to say that I truly appreciate your coverage regarding Deane Cameron. Having managed These Kids Wear Crowns and seeing the way that he ran EMI from the top down, I was blown away at how he carried himself. His staff never felt intimidated, just inspired and cared for. It was rare - to say the least.
I also manage The Tea Party, who were hit particularly hard with the news - and just wanted to let you know, anecdotally, that I've been on tour with them this weekend as we wrap up our 43-date North American tour. Last night was in San Francisco, and tonight, we're in Los Angeles to finish it off. The band has dedicated both shows to Deane's memory - and Jeff Martin has been giving a great speech before Heaven Coming Down, where he talks about how Deane took as real chance on them, and how much of a big teddy bear he was. It's been really moving - and so great to honour his memory. I look forward to reading more of your coverage on such a legendary man. You've done a great job.
Deane taught me and so many others about caring for artists, about making great records and about breaking acts....
... always with integrity, compassion and care.
I worked for Deane at Virgin/EMI, and when I told him I was leaving to start Arts & Crafts he was immediately supportive. A deal we didn’t deserve; free rent in the building, always opening doors ... effectively putting us in business.
When I joined UMC, Deane reached out immediately and regularly, offering the perfect balance of encouragement and advice.
I owe a debt of gratitude for all of his guidance and unwavering support over the decades, as so many others in our business do.... and will miss him dearly.
I’m not sure where to begin, as like many of us, I’m still recovering from the massive blow the industry experienced last Thursday. That morning several EMI’ers were on an email thread with Deane firming up a date/time to film a message in support of the 30th Anniversary of the Anne Murray Centre this July. We confirmed May 29th and like a bunch of schoolkids, were generally excited to see one another as Deane offered to host and supply lunch at Roy Thomson Hall. Two hours later, to say the wind was knock out of me is an understatement. I was in full disbelief and shock over the news.
I’ve heard the word ‘mentor’ used to describe Deane by many colleagues. Not to sound generic, he was just that: ‘My Mentor.’ I learned pretty much everything about the industry from Deane, but more importantly he taught me and so many others life disciplines…work ethic, respect, loyalty, generosity, passion, integrity, value of family and his unwavering pride of being Canadian with a deep devotion to Canadian artists. The culture Deane cultivated at EMI will never be repeated. Anyone whom had the privilege of spending time in the family wears it with a badge of honour. It was a special place and the artists were at the core of everything we did. I was so proud of Deane for receiving both the Walt Grealis Juno Hall of Fame and prestigious Order of Canada: he wore that pin with immense pride. I will forever miss his annual handwritten Christmas card, each personalized to the individual, something my wife Pamela and I looked forward to each year.
One of my fondest memories was being grounded in NY after an EMI budget meeting. The weather was horrible and all the planes to Toronto were grounded. The next flight out wasn’t until 3pm the next day. Deane looked over and said, 'Shaver, you up for a road trip?'…so off we went. The first 45 mins we talked ‘music business/industry’ stuff, then connected on a different level as we told stories, jokes, talked family, life, hobbies, how we met our wives (the Cristina story is amazing!) He wanted to know all about my two boys and the more we talked, the more we laughed! This will forever remain my favourite 8 hrs with Deane, aka Captain Canada!
We will all miss you, but you will be forever in our hearts. Thank you, Deane.
I’ve known Deane as an employee, competitor, fellow board member and friend. I was continually impressed by his passion and integrity. The music industry owes a huge debt to Deane. I’m grateful to Frank Davies, who encouraged me to hire a very young Deane at GRT. It was hardly surprising that he quickly moved up the ranks at EMI and made it THE Canadian company, in spite of being a multi-national. He brought the same commitment to his volunteer work. He helped turn MusiCounts from an afterthought into a substantial charity, once commenting, “It’s time to turn this blender up to 10.”
His legacy will live on in so many ways, particularly in the revitalized Massey Hall. I will think of Deane when it re-opens. You left us way too soon.
Deane Cameron made me feel like not only a worthy artist but a valuable human being. I doubt he knew how much he did for my spirit. He met with me month after month after EMI and The Midway State was done and helped me stay on my legs and into the next stage of my career, never asking a thing in return.
He listened to all my demos and would tell me which ones him and his wife liked and which ones “needed a real bridge” as to say, “don’t be lazy politely.”
One time I told him, I may stop music for a while, and he only responded that he liked me so much as a music man he would hire me even if I weren’t an artist. That made me feel so good that I sure as hell didn’t quit.
It was like He cared about how I felt as a man, not as a commercial artist or writer. I truly believe that.
Hanging with Deane Cameron in a small coffee shop, month after month and having him always return my phone calls made me feel pretty damn special, and only a man like Deane could do that.
The big thing here is, I am not alone in the artists he cared for in this exact way. I was one of so, so many.
He worked with the most powerful but found time to care for the smallest ones. Being with him felt like the humble truth. He would throw his head back laughing like a Buddhist monk at some ‘frustrated opinion I might have had, with a sparkle in his eye, almost to say to me “don’t worry Nate, the universe is big, and it’s perfect, and we’re good.”
He exuded joy and love through all that he did, and I just thank God for being in his way.
Deane, you were the best there was. I will miss you very deeply. You’re a beacon I will never forget and one that I can point my life towards. Thank you, thank you, thank you, sir.
It is obvious by the outpouring of our feelings for Deane that we have all experienced working with the Best of the Best in our industry.
Devotion to Canadian Talent in every field of entertainment was evident within a few minutes of your first meeting with him. Deane is truly one of the Good Guys that has not only enriched the lives of many but enriched the life of our country.
He will be sadly missed.
In 1979, I had just left Donald K Donald Productions for what I hoped would be greener pastures at Aquarius Records. Actually, it was so much of a change, I didn’t even get a new desk. But it did mean I would start working with the remarkable people at 3109 American Drive in Mississauga.
Before long, my best new friend at Capitol was named Eddy. But it was obvious the person everyone admired the most was a passionate and proud young man named Deane, who was in charge of A&R.
As a distributed label, Aquarius didn’t always have same objectives as Capitol/EMI. But unless you inadvertently stepped on EMI’s toes, Deane Cameron couldn’t have been more supportive and generous. Together, we sold millions of April Wine and Corey Hart records during our first 10 years together. And at a point when our little well ran dry in the late 80’s, Deane made sure we could keep the lights on for what would turn out to be another 20 years.
As I already said, Deane was passionate. He cared about music. He cared about “his people,” but he also cared about our entire industry. And when I say he “cared,” I mean he cared passionately.
Deane was also proud. He was proud of his Scottish heritage. In fact, I felt a twinge of pride when one time I made a sarcastic quip at some dinner and Deane pronounced, “Ah, yer a dour auld Scot!” But make no mistake, Deane was, first and foremost, a proud Canadian. He was also proud of his many accomplishments. He could always out-perform the Americans on projects from Britain. But he was most proud of the many Canadian artists he developed. Even after Deane Cameron became a president, he never stopped being an A&R man.
I only hope Deane understood how proud he made so many of us feel; just to be his friend.
The big thing about Deane was his love and passion for Canadian music. Whether it was mainstream artists like Anne Murray, Corey Hart, Prism, Glass Tiger or Tom Cochrane or developing talent like Strange Advance or Sheriff, he maintained an unbridled enthusiasm that was contagious.
As publisher of Music Express, I remember Deane ushering me into Capitol's boardroom to premiere this new band from Newmarket called Glass Tiger and how on a boat cruise in Vancouver, prior to a Grapes Of Wrath concert, he showcased Life Is A Highway by Tom Cochrane and how he beamed with pride when he was asked to play that song again!
Whether it was championing hard rock bands like Helix, negotiating a lucrative label deal for Prism, or going to war with the U.S industry in support of Glass Tiger's Diamond Sun release, Deane was a true champion of Canadian music and will be sadly missed by everyone whom he touched with his genius.
After hearing the sad news, I thought back to the late 70’s when the phone rang In my office at Aquarius .The person on the line said “Hello Terry, this is Deane Cameron from Capitol Records in Toronto. l have recently been appointed head of A&R and would like to have April Wine sign to our US label as well as have Aquarius become a distributed label of Capitol Canada .”
I thought to myself, this young guy certainly has balls and knows what he wants.
Luckily for us, shortly after this phone call, we came to an agreement and Aquarius spent the next three decades working closely with Deane, who was truly one of the best music men in the entire business.
He will be sadly missed.
Two quick vignettes:
- In 1989, one year into his presidency at Capitol, Deane offered me VP Marketing. After 11 years at Warner it was a big step for me and I accepted. Suffice it to say that the situation quickly got complicated – on my end, not Deane’s – and I ended up staying at Warner. That meant I had to call Deane and retract the acceptance, which I was dreading because he had every right to blast me. When I mustered the courage to call, he simply said not to worry, that he expected Warner to counter and he wished me good luck. It’s 30 years ago and I have never forgotten that extraordinary exhibition of grace. It epitomizes the man.
- Fast forward 26 years to 2015. I’m contributing to the Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall Corporation, co-chairing its Programme Planning Committee and sitting on the Board of Governors, when Deane was announced as the incoming CEO. Finally, we get to work on the same team! And what a job Deane has done, directing the halls in a highly competitive environment and most importantly, helming the historic renovation of Massey Hall. It is crushing that he won’t see the fruits of his quite extraordinary labours.
God bless you Deane.
Deane was the first A&R guy to take my calls. He was the first to listen to tapes I sent in. He was the first to come see the band I was working with. I was a 23-year-old manager. I had no contacts and no relationships. But it didn’t matter to him. I’ll always remember that. It was a lesson that I’ll always be grateful for. One of the classiest guys I ever met in the almost 40 years I’ve been in this business, if not the classiest. We lost one of the great ones. He will be sorely missed.
Although I knew Deane and saw him occasionally at various music award shows over the years, I only once had business dealings with he and Capitol Records: in 1988, regarding the band Strange Advance and their forthcoming third album at the time, The Distance Between. Deane was looking for a suitable independent label to take on the band's upcoming recording costs, management and promotion for the new album, while maintaining Capitol's distribution rights. Because of the band's and Current's mutual interest in each other at the time - and Current's desire to take on both label and management duties for the band - Deane facilitated the band's transition from Capitol Records to Current Records & Management, in an effortless and gentlemanly fashion that spoke volumes about the man. Never forget you, Deane. R.I.P.
Deane was a true champion of Canadian music – took chances on a lot of artists, and people, and will be missed by all who knew him.
We were to have lunch soon and we knew that we’d learn so much in an hour with him – he offered encouragement at every step of my career; constructive criticism too – hard to believe I won’t hear his voice again. But I will remember a great man.
I have so many fond memories of Deane...his thunderous laugh, which was often triggered by his finely-tuned sense of the absurd. Yes, there was a gravitas to Deane...but there was a playfulness and twinkle of mischievousness that was never far beneath the surface.
I learned so much from him, about music, about the business, but the conversations I will cherish are the ones that were about the city we both loved. He knew that history of Toronto’s West End inside out, but when one us came across some arcane detail about the city, there would be a flurry of texts or calls...I’ll miss those exchanges.
The word came as we were about to kick off the first Magic of Music event at Matthews House Hospice in Alliston, Ontario. Former A&M Records Canada/Alliance-Atlantis executive Gary Hubbard dropped by to give us the sad news: that Deane Cameron, a pillar of the Canadian music industry, had passed away, to a reaction of shock and disbelief from those of us in that room – myself, Sass Jordan, Derek Sharp, Minnie Yorke, wife of legendary music journalist Ritchie Yorke, and Kendal Thompson -- who had a connection with, or an understanding of, the lasting impact that “Captain Canada” has had on the country’s music ecosystem and its artists over the years.
On contemplation over the past 24 hours, it is truly the end of an era for many of us who find it hard to think of the Canadian music industry without Deane. The tsunami of tributes to him over the past 36 hours are a testament to that. I am witness to the fact that many of the good deeds he did for others in that arena were done without fanfare and consideration of personal aggrandizement or financial gain. He was a gentleman, a rare breed in the ego-driven world of the arts. He also believed deeply in the existence of an exemplary talent pool in this country, one which he was committed to nurturing when it was possible within the sphere of his influence. His pro-Canadian stance was no better demonstrated than when, at the urging of Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), he signed the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, who wrote and sang about the working-class people and small towns of this country.
Did Deane ever smile as broadly as when he presented Tom with that huge plaque commemorating the platinum and multi-platinum sales of a number of his albums? Having been appointed President/CEO of The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall following his three-and-a-half-decade-long association with EMI Music Canada as President/CEO for most of that time, he was overseeing the most significant renovation of Massey Hall: The Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street, in its 124-year history. You know that was a labour of love and will stand as part of his legacy.
In the summer of 1998, I got a call from Deane Cameron. He said he was a big fan of my book, Before the Gold Rush, and asked if I’d be interested in writing the history of EMI Music Canada to celebrate his label’s upcoming 50th anniversary. Deane had a vision for a book about the company where he’d started in the warehouse and worked his way up to become president. He didn’t want it to be about him—lord no—but about how the evolution of the label mirrored the growth of Canadian music itself. I loved a lot of the artists on Capitol and EMI, past and present. How could I say no?
After negotiating what I felt was a very agreeable fee, I ventured out to the EMI offices on American Drive in Mississauga to sign my contract. There in the boardroom, I put pen to paper and said, “Okay, show me to your archive.” Deane looked at me with apparent surprise and replied: “What archive? That’s why I hired you!” My heart sank as I realized the enormity of the undertaking to which I’d just committed myself. But, to Deane’s credit and my relief, he ensured that my task was made easier by making every person and resource at the company that I needed available to me. He gave me carte blanche in deciding which artists to feature and didn’t balk at the lavish design plans. “I want you to be as proud of the book as much as we will be,” he said. When Fifty Years of Music: The Story of EMI Music Canada was finally published, it was every inch a first-class product: a gorgeous coffee-table book and certainly something to be proud of.
Deane had given me the creative freedom to tell the EMI story the way I thought best and poured a heck of a lot of money into its production. I later learned that Deane treated all of his artists and his employees exactly the same way, trusting and empowering them to do their best work. That, I believe, was one of the secrets to Deane’s success—and one of the reasons why he’ll be so fondly remembered.
Deane was all about the music and, more specifically, he was a true champion of Canadian music.
This is so hard to write this as I have so many memories of Deane. Deane was defined by infinite passion for anything Canadian and anything musical. We argued like an old married couple for the better part of 30 years, neither of us backing down and always emotional in our perspectives. As we grew older, we argued less and laughed more. Through that process, he became one of my mentors, a dear friend and someone I always wanted to prove wrong, which was very motivating. He was always there when I needed him and that more than anything defined why he was so special, as he "cared” in an industry that can be more ego than substance… I will miss you my friend...more than you could ever imagine.
Deane and I go back to 1989. He believed in me from the get-go and with his persistence and support I was able to take Stompin' Tom on the road in 1990 until Tom's passing a few short years ago.
Deane was always there for me and did everything in his power to back all the projects we worked together on over the years. Rita MacNeil, Frank Mills and Charley Pride were some of the many projects Deane and I had the pleasure of working together on.
We kept in touch in recent years, if for nothing else than to say hi and reminisce about our great projects we worked together.
Deane was, without a doubt, "first class" all the way. RIP my friend!
Eddie & Winnie Colero
We’ll forever miss our loving friend Deane.
Deane Cameron was truly a music lover and a friend to everyone in the music industry. I first met him when I was 18, working with Honeymoon Suite, but he would play a role in every part of my music industry life. When I needed help starting my own label, Deane gave me a distribution deal and we released One Free Fall. When Kevin Lyman and Bob Chiappardi started a label and wanted me to run Canada, Deane gave us a free office and an advance to get the Canadian operation moving. He did these things because he was a community builder, a fan of music and someone who wanted to see things grow. He also supported people. He built an amazing team at EMI of good, kind, hardworking people - all in his own image. Above all, Deane and the team loved music.
His work at EMI was unlike any other label head and his work at Massey Hall continued to honour that spirit. I think I saw him at every Massey or Roy Thomson Hall show I went to. I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news. His legacy will cast a great shadow and I doubt there will ever be someone quite like Deane. He was truly a great human and will be greatly missed.
Tragic loss for us all...to lose such a great music man and compatriot. We only worked together for a very short time. It was when EMI purchased Virgin.
You may imagine the shock we at Virgin went through when finding about the sale. Deane and I met and I asked what the “go forward” would be.
He asked me to stay and keep Rundle House going and just keep doing what Virgin was doing and keep the money coming in. To my delight, he showed respect for our operation and told me he had styled his business in the mould of A&M Records. I knew him as a music industry person but he showed me another side that day....I was lucky to have worked beside him... because he worked with his staff. They did not work for him.
We had the good fortune that Deane got to work with our artists and their music. He leaves a huge double footprint: His persona - and the musical legacy which so many of us had the pleasure of having played a part in.
The Canadian music industry has been dealt a body blow with Deane’s passing. Terrible and tragic news for his family and for all of us who knew him so well. He was a champion for all things Canadian. His passion and commitment to the discovery and support of Canadian music had no limits. We have lost one of the great ones. This is a sad day. Rest in peace, Deane.
In the immortal words of Robbie Burns:
If there’s another world,
he [Deane] lives in bliss
If there’s none,
He [Deane] made the best of this.
Deane led by example. He set the bar high for Canadian record executives and we all took notice and followed his lead. He had genuine respect for his artists, his team, his industry, his country and for the indigenous community. Deane was always the first to call during a time of need. I remember shortly after I was appointed President; for me it was a time of mixed emotions. I received a supportive call from him to both congratulate me, and offer a few friendly words of advice. Deane Cameron was a mentor and a real friend. He was one of the good guys and I am honoured to have rubbed shoulders with him during his tenure as Captain Canada. Deane always wanted to unify the industry for the greater good and it’s a credit to his legacy that the entire industry has come together to remember and celebrate his life.
I believe I was the first music industry person Deane ever met. He was playing in a band Harvest with other high school students, including two of my cousins Grant and John McIntyre.
Tom Cochrane was the singer. I auditioned the band and they were pretty good, but not yet professional level. Upon graduation, Deane told his parents he didn’t want to go to university but to get into the music industry. His parents agreed to support him for six months. He called me and asked if he could intern at Attic. We already had an intern but I told him I might know someone who would take him on. He asked me to contact that person, so I called Frank Davies, who confirmed he was interested. Frank’s label Daffodil had a distribution deal with Capitol Canada and had an office inside the Capitol building on American Drive. Frank took him on and, as I recall, gave him $20 a week for bus fair and lunches. When Frank’s deal ended, he had to move out of American Drive. Deane applied for a job in the Capitol factory and the rest is Deane’s history. I talked to him many times over the years, and was pleased when he became president and CEO of Roy Thomson and Massey Halls where I am honourary governor. I will miss him dearly.
Mr Deane Cameron was one of those individuals that stands out to the community at large in many arenas.
My career was mainly in the Canadian independent music field, which gave me the opportunity to work with EMI. One of the mandates of the company was supporting our Canadian talent. We worked on album releases, tours, launches and event productions - from music and yes, even art - launching cover artwork of artists' albums.
Working with him and his team was always met with positive support and enthusiasm. He was a leader, a benevolent despot; he listened, he just darn outright cared and made sure that the best possible success was achieved. There was always room if needed 'to fix it in the mix.'
Mr Deane Cameron is a gentleman...One of a kind.
I am shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Deane. He was a former colleague of mine at EMI Music. After leaving EMI, I always managed to keep in touch as a customer, Sunrise Records, and a colleague in the music business. Lately, Arnold Gosewich would have news of him, always positive, when we met. I shall remember Deane as a spirited individual with a very positive approach to everything he did. I watched him progress from a warehouse associate to the President of EMI. What a magnificent achievement. I was particularly overwhelmed by the financial knowledge he acquired over the years. Having an accounting background myself, I was truly impressed. Naturally, we all admired his brilliance in spotting musical talent. His legacy speaks for itself.
Together with everyone who had the privilege of knowing him, I mourn his passing. Gone but never to be forgotten.
“Ave atque vale.”
You asked about Deane stories... OMG! I have wayyyy too many fond stories. Most hilarious, because as we know, he was truly larger than life. Some sad... however, most stories are enlightening because he never seemed to fail to shed 'light' onto any situation. Bottom line, I think what I'd simply like to say is:
I’ve always said that within the first 2 months of working with Deane, I learned more about the music business than I probably did in the 30+ years that followed, and I'm grateful that most of that learning was about integrity and humility. He was an enlightening force. I'm fortunate that we remained good friends throughout the decades. He was ‘always’ present; always ‘there’ for you – through the death of loved ones to the birth of children – and always there to share laughter, one-liners, and the gift of music! He had the kindest, most giving heart - it’s no wonder that it weakened. RIP Sweet Deane. Love you dearly, my friend. Xo
I am shocked and saddened to hear that Deane has passed. I have known and worked with Deane for almost 40 years. He was a great music man, a fierce believer in Canadian artists and their music.
I have had the privilege to have worked with Deane on many bands and artists while he was President at EMI/Capitol and his time running Massey Hall. His passion and love of music were second to none. I will miss sitting with him at a concert, sharing the excitement of the evening and music, and all of our conversations discussing what mattered to him the most: music. Deane has made a difference to all in the music ndustry in Canada, the US and the rest of the world. He was a good man: honest, loving - and most of all - a proud Canadian. As I sit writing this, I cannot believe that I will not be seeing Deane over the next weeks, at an industry function, award show, or concert. It is hard to accept. I am honored to call Deane a friend and will miss him very much. My thoughts and prayers are with Deane’s family today.
I was absolutely stunned and saddened by the news of Deane's death. I first met him when he was working as vice-president of A & R for EMI Canada. I was in the band April Wine. He called me Mr. Goodwyn. I will miss him. He was a great record man, a true gentleman and a friend.
What awful, sorrow-filled news to learn that Deane Cameron has died. It’s just so incomprehensible that such a vibrant stellar human is suddenly gone. Canada already seems incomplete without him. His incredible passion for artists, his steadfast support of the industry, and his deep reverence for the joy and community that music can bring was part of his soul.
I loved being in any room with Deane. At CRIA and MusiCounts meetings, his measured counsel helped us make wise decisions and - Omigoodness - his turns of phrase. When MusiCounts was just beginning... ‘The blender’s on slow folks, let’s crank it up!’ Or when illegal file sharing was rampant, “The cheese is off the cracker now.” When the meetings ran too long–”I could MURDER a beer!” I’ll have to find the little list of “Deane-isms” I used to keep in the back of my daytimer for the day we would cheerfully roast him at retirement - except he never stopped. I hope he knows how much we loved and admired him. Let’s count our blessings and remember to tell the good ones, the loved ones, how much they mean to us while we can.
We worked together with Graham Shaw and the Sincere Serenaders, who went on to have a neat top twenty hit single, “Can I Come Near,” in 1980. Then Graham won the Juno as Most Promising Male Vocalist.
Deane was with us all the way and was a pleasure to work with.
We kept in touch and the last time we were together for any appreciable time was backstage after the Bruce Cockburn concert at Massey Hall in 2018.
Dean was a real gentleman and was gifted with great ears.
He will be more than missed.
Farewell Deane and RIP.
When “Anvil, The Story of Anvil” premiered at Hot Docs in Toronto in 2008, Deane Cameron attended the screening with Fraser Hill, who was featured in a scene in the film. At the end of the screening, the band was out on the street, selling merch out of a duffle bag. Deane approached Lips, who was squatting down on the ground while he pulled out a t-shirt for a fan. Deane told Lips how fantastic the film was and asked to buy a CD. Lips looked up at Deane and said “Sorry, we don’t have any. We can’t afford to make any CDs right now.” Deane didn’t hesitate for a millisecond: he turned to Fraser and said, “Let’s make them a thousand CDs” and gestured to me saying, “give them my number and tell them to call me on Monday.” This is only one of my many personal memories of Deane and definitely one of my favourites. Godspeed my friend. You will always be in our hearts and minds.
One of the most rewarding compliments that I ever received came from Deane. He took me to Morton's Steakhouse with an offer to stay in the music industry when my days at Sony had ended. He said that the industry could ill-afford to lose someone like myself.
Deane also always made me feel more than welcome when I represented CBS/Sony at CRIA meetings whenever one of my many presidents was unable to attend. I have often said that we were in a unique industry where one's competitors often became one's friends...
When I offered Deane a warehouse job at a Capitol Records, he took it. When Paul White later asked to promote him as A & R assistant, he took it and began building his career until becoming President. It was with pride seeing him keep the Capitol history of faith and investment in Canadian talent. A sincere and dedicated leader. Very sad. Way too soon losing him.
It seems hard to believe now, but there was a time in this fair land when a guy on the East Coast would have a hard time getting a call back from a music exec in T.O. Deane was not one of them.
He caught the East Coast bug early, and hard. His forays to the earliest East Coast Music Awards were large and newsy. He signed artists and paid money. It’s a long list, and while he didn’t get all of them in their early days (Rita and Stompin' Tom came to him later,) it included phenomenons like Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankins, Ron Hynes, and later on, Bruce Guthro - hardly the stuff of major labels in those days. And yes, he rescued a few of our ill-fated regional labels while he was at it. Whew!
He was a pretty conservative guy by our partying standards, but his belief was as strong as they’re built and he backed what he signed.
RIP Deane. You have left behind many friends who will live on in disbelief that you are not still there, tending the fire.
As a young musician, Deane came equipped with the background to fully understood the artists that he later helped to achieve success. He was a true gentleman who worked his way from the bottom to the very top and was comfortable in his position of Captain of the ship. This is truly a sad day for us all in the music biz, my thoughts go out to Deane’s family and friends.
Thanks for everything, Deane.
Positive. Optimistic. A joyful doer. “What if we did this…?" he would say, ”how about this?" He had ideas, he had solutions and like a solid drummer, he was the rock, the anchor, grounded, supporting those around him. You guys know this…drummers get shit done.
Deane Cameron got shit done and we are all better for it.
He was a great listener and a great storyteller.
When I think about Deane, I see him bundled in a snowsuit on his snowmobile. This is not an image I actually ever saw, but for some reason it’s what we would talk about. Eight hours on a snowmobile in a sub-zero Arctic climate seemed like pure hell to me, but it was pure joy to Deane.
Deane, you left far too soon. Your kindness, your encouragement, your vision and the sparkle in your eyes will be missed by us all.
Go in peace, brother.
The sudden death of Deane Cameron was a shock to me and his many friends.
Deane Cameron, for his entire career, was the heart and soul of the Canadian music business. Coming from the warehouse to the President's seat at both Capitol Records Canada and EMI Canada, Deane always believed that Canadian artists could compete with music from around the world.
His passion for music was unparalleled and his commitment to those he signed to his label, or were signed elsewhere by his global label brethren, was unflinching.
The moniker, “Captain Canada, “ fit Deane Cameron perfectly. In addition to Canadian music, he was an unabashed fan of everything Canadian.
I will miss his humour, his insight and, of course, his friendship.
Deane Cameron - A giant in Canadian Music. Irreplaceable. He will be missed.
Some words I would like to share about a hero, Deane Cameron.
There is an unspoken understanding among those of us that were raised in Deane’s house.
Deane and I exchanged letters. Only a few weeks ago, as I was flying back from London to the US., I had been reading a story in the news about Massey Hall and missing my homeland and friends. I reached out to see how he was doing.
Like he always did, he lifted my spirits with his words, and I could easily imagine his smile and chuckle, and a twinkle in his eye.
Years ago, when I first met Deane and started working for him at EMI, I immediately respected how he championed Canadian art and culture. I soon learned he was also a tireless fighter for Indigenous Peoples, for nature and our planet, and for the quietest poetry of the everyday act of doing the right thing - and doing what was meaningful. He was a down-to-earth human who appreciated what it meant to be alive. He loved a good surprise and laugh and all the gifts we are given in our time here on Earth.
Whenever Derrick did something ridiculous, Deane would always say, “that was cute” and belt out a great laugh that was utterly joyful. It makes me smile today thinking of that - and today, it was hard to smile at all.
Deane was a very hard worker, he was innovative and he had a giant heart. Like he did for many others, he gave me a break and mentored me when I was first starting out because he knew I loved music. Deane loved music. He knew, in fact, that all of us that were part of his EMI Canada family couldn’t imagine our lives without music. And for that we were welcomed and mentored. Under his house, we built friendships and stories that we carry to this day. He changed so many lives.
Today, I am heartbroken for Cristina and his family...and I am thinking of all my friends that were raised in Deane’s house. This is a loss we were not prepared for, and I feel we have been robbed.
His spirit we will always carry with us in all we do.
Much love, and thank you Deane for everything.
When I first moved to Toronto in the late 80's, I was in awe of the success EMI Canada was having with their domestic artists. They were a powerhouse, Deane and Tim Trombley had home run after home run - Tom Cochrane, Glass Tiger, I Mother Earth, Moist, The Rankin Family, The Tea Party, Susan Aglukark...When Joe Summers promoted me into A&R at A&M Records in 1991, I was young and inexperienced and I wanted to do what they did, they were the benchmark. I lost a few artists to Deane and his team but gained more respect for them every time. Deane had the nickname of "Captain Canada," his pride and dedication to his artists was legendary. He taught me so much as a competitor - he always fought for his artists. Who else could have lured Stompin' Tom back into the limelight?
I had the privilege of working with Deane as a Board member of MusiCounts. He was there from the very beginning of the charity and was incredibly passionate about our mission to make sure kids had instruments in their hands. Deane was the consummate music man. He had integrity, empathy, tenacity, strength of character and a great set of ears. He was a true Scottish gentleman, and we will miss him....
This morning’s sad news is shocking and hard to process.
I guess its an unfortunate part of human nature that we don’t fully consider and celebrate a person’s attributes til they are gone.
Deane was one of the youngest guys in the old school.
In a business full of ego, his passion was always for the music, the artists and his country.
We had arguments that reached high decibels - but never higher than mutual respect.
The music community has lost a true champ.
Way too soon.
Anya and I are just stunned with the news of Deane's passing. The suddenness of it. The sadness of it. I met Deane early in his career and worked closely with him while he was a junior A&R executive at Capitol Records of Canada working under Paul White, the pioneer of modern-day A&R in Canada. Deane took over from Paul and he moved Capitol Records of Canada further into the international spotlight. After his long run as head of A&R, no one was surprised that Deane was tapped to become EMI Music Canada's president. If I recall, he was the youngest label president in Canadian music history.
Over the years, Deane and I both celebrated and nursed grudges, and talked about music and musicians continually through the years, including while standing in the main aisle of his beloved Massey Hall. I witnessed so many kind things Deane did over the years that I lost count. Not just for Anya and our family but for others we knew in the business. Deane took the notion of being in a Canadian music family to heart. Anya and I both feel like we lost a family member.
When I just started in the music business at Q107, I met Deane and despite my long hair, street punk attitude and somewhat Jerseyesque Italian accent, he was immediately super kind and always made me feel his sincerity as a person. Record companies and radio stations have an interesting relationship but with Deane it was never about that - it was always about people and how they related to one another. Sure, he was a champion of Canadian music and always looked out for the interests of the artists he was working with, but the most important thing was he came across as a real human being who is always really nice and approachable. It’s tough to see people you know go at such a relatively young age; my heartfelt condolences go out to everyone who cared about him and whom he cared about.
Catherine Saxberg (on behalf of Unison)
This is a very sad day.
Some of you might not know that Deane Cameron was one of the OG Unison board members, back when there were just four of us….and without Deane’s belief in the idea, Unison wouldn’t be what it is today. Deane put his impressive personal credibility on the line for Unison, convincing many that not only did our music community need Unison, but that we could get it done. He raised funds, he raised our profile, he vouched for us, and he was always…always…a believer. We are a far better organization as a result of the efforts of Deane Cameron.
Such sad news. Deane was a true gentleman and such a huge supporter of Canadian music. He contributed greatly to putting music from Eastern Canada on the map. We will all miss him.
The Moose is dead...long live the Moose ...
This past Thursday the Canadian Music Industry lost a TITAN.
I first met Deane in 1976, when he was my product manager at GRT Canada, at that time, the distributor of Island Canada. We worked hand-in- hand daily, right up until his move to EMI a decade later. The second mentorship period (86-92)..was initiated when, now as V.P of A+R @ EMI, he had the temerity to ask me to form "an Indie street oriented " label based in downtown Toronto. Thus was born Intrepid ...a couple of years into this venture, a potential problem arose with my key man clause when I went to him with my personal crusade ..which was to "open the ears and eyes of the world to independent Canadian artists" by producing a series of live music showcases at international conferences -- notably NMS / NYC, SXSW / Austin, BID / Berlin .and ITC / Manchester. Rather than viewing this as a threat to my time and thus his investment, he embraced the idea as clever strategic marketing and furthermore attended a lot of the early gigs as a show of support.
If Deane believed in you it was impossible for you not to believe in him and his team, so much so ..that if you read the small print you will see that I owned the trademark...BUT .the Masters were owned by an EMI shell company, .which he set up and he named Alces Alces Records: which, of course, is Latin for MOOSE !!!
My condolences to his wife Cristine and his immediate family.
I have so many fond memories of Deane. He was always good to me.
Before I moved to Toronto, I knew my brother had started working with a guy named Deane and I came up to Toronto for a visit. I ended up going to work that night with my brother and Deane. We drove out to Kitchener to see Colin James play at a Knights of Columbus Hall (I think it was a K of C Hall, if it wasn’t, it was a small Community Centre of some kind) . It was wild and electric as Colin walked through the room walking right up to patrons while blazing on his guitar and singing his lungs out. I remember Deane saying in the car on the way home that Colin was going to be a big star and we all know that certainly became true. Even though Colin ended up signing with another label, we all know that no one worked harder or did more for Canadian artists than Deane did.
I remember Christmas times at his house in Brampton and times with his Mom, June, and sister, Leslie. They were so proud of him.
I remember his crazy Labrador Retriever named Kasey. She was a beautiful, but anxious, dog. Later on, when Deane and Tim lived a short distance away from each other, Deane would sometimes call over and ask if we could go check in on her if he was going to be out at a work function. Kasey would be overjoyed to see us and cover us with kisses upon our arrival. She sometimes messed in his house because of her anxiety. When it came time to leave she got very dramatic and would never kiss goodbye when it was time for us to go. She simply refused. I am sure Kasey waited impatiently for Deane on those nights that he had to work.
I also remember cottage trips up North. When Deane brought Kasey up, he needed a stiff drink to unwind once he arrived, because Kasey was the kind of dog who would bark the WHOLE way to the cottage. He adored her, though, and brought her up to the cottage all the time. Kasey could do no wrong in Dean’s eyes and he made sure she lead a charmed and pampered life.
On one of the cottage weekends, he brought his new girlfriend, Cristina. We had a great day riding snowmobiles and had a tasty dinner and lots of laughs that night. As the evening wore on, I noticed that the lights had dimmed and someone had changed up the tempo in the music. I remember Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight was playing and I looked over and Deane and Cristina were dancing to this slow song together. It was the way Deane was holding Cristina that I knew it wouldn’t be long that they’d be together officially. It was a tender moment between two people who were falling in love.
Later on, while I was working at Virgin and I was getting married, Deane made sure we traveled in style to our wedding. He ordered two of the most gorgeous, new Lincoln Town cars I have ever seen to squire me and my family around. Deane made sure both cars were at our disposal for the entire day and night for our use. He was just that kind of guy.
A couple of years later, our son was born. One night after being out for a walk, I came back in the house and my Mom pointed to a giant red wagon stuffed with toys. It was so large! As tall as our tv on its stand was and as wide as our coffee table. Once again, I was blown away by his generosity.
At the Junos in 2016, I had the chance once again to spend some time with Deane & Cristina. It was on this weekend, that Cristina and I discovered we were the same age. Deane was a mentor, an advisor, a friend, an advocate, a gentleman, business man, passionate music lover and more. He was so many things to so many people. He was deeply admired and respected by everyone. I feel for Cristina now because she is too young to be a widow. My heart goes out to her. I wish her strength and patience during this tragically sad time.
Through the years, Deane and I always kept in touch at Christmas. I received a Christmas card from Deane every year I have known him. I can only imagine how long his Christmas card list was every year.
Good bye Deane. I will miss you!
As I reflect on the life of Deane Cameron, my mind is pouring with such heartfelt moments. The amazing times, the laughter, some tough decisions...all the achievements and overwhelming triumphs at EMI Music Canada. I will cherish that forever.
There are many superlatives that describe this great industry statesman, but for me it was his PASSION and LEADERSHIP that we all admired. His passion for his family, our EMI Canada family, all of the artists, their music and music labels. We took in his passion and leadership so we could all succeed personally and professionally in our everyday life. HE GENUINELY cared for everyone, he took personal interest in your life and that was important for me and everyone at
EMI Music Canada.
Through his tireless and countless efforts at all industry and government levels to bring positive changes and new platforms for Canadian music and artists to succeed locally and internationally. His leadership re shaped the Canadian music industry landscape for the betterment of us all.
Deane, you are the symbol what we all inspire to be.
Deane, just know this: your torch will not burn out. It will keep the music industry path lit for a long time. Thanks for the great times. Rest in Peace as you will not be forgotten.