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FYI

Obituaries, April 27, 2023

Don Daynard, a legendary Toronto radio host, died on April 20, at the age of 88, after a lengthy illness.

Obituaries, April 27, 2023

By Kerry Doole

Don Daynard, a legendary Toronto radio host, died on April 20, at the age of 88, after a lengthy illness. He had long stints as the popular morning man at CKFM & CHFI in Toronto.


Broadcast Dialogue reports that "Daynard began his broadcasting career as a junior copy boy at CFOS Owen Sound in 1953. From there, he made stops at CHEX TV Peterborough, CKCR Kitchener, CJET Smiths Falls, and, briefly, CFGM Richmond Hill, before landing in Toronto where he spent the rest of his 50-year career. Daynard was on-air at CFRB before joining CKFM in 1969 where he had a 12-year run with Daynard’s Drive-In in morning drive, in addition to hosting the Saturday evening show Lookin’ Back.

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Daynard moved to the CHFI morning show in 1987, initially hosting the show solo until being paired with co-host Erin Davis. He semi-retired in 1999, continuing to host Saturday Night Oldies on the station until 2004."

On social media, Troy Scott, 98.1 CHFI Content Director and National Content Director, AC for Rogers Sports & Media, posted that “Toronto lost a great voice and for CHFI – a forever family member. Don was our 1st monumental morning host who made CHFI the dynasty it is today. As soon as Don crossed the street from CKFM to 98.1 in 1987, he moved the meter…Dazzling Don Daynard IS a legend and will always be CHFI’s 1st Hall of Famer. He will be missed.”

CHFI midday host Michelle Butterly paid tribute to Daynard in a station montage, describing him as a “force of fun every day.” She recalled his legendary retirement send-off that saw thousands of listeners line up around Sheridan Centre, concluding with Daynard mounting a white horse and riding off into the sunset to the refrain of Roy Rogers’ Happy Trails.

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Daynard’s long-time cohost Erin Davis remembered: " the man who took us to #1 and opened all the doors for me as we journeyed to the top."

Daynard also dabbled in film and television, hosting a TVO series in the 1980s discussing and reviewing feature films. He played a radio announcer in 1981’s Porky’s (in fact he’s the first voice heard in the film) and a newscaster in the 1986 Charles Bronson vehicle Act of Vengeance. He also guest-starred on single episodes of the Canadian sitcom King of Kensington in 1977 and The Littlest Hobo in 1980.

Sources: CTV News, Broadcast Dialogue

William Neil (Willie) MacCalder, a Western Canadian blues pianist and vocalist best known for his work in Powder Blues, has died at age 76. The news was announced by Powder Blues leader Tom Lavin on his Facebook page on April 23.

Lavin posted that "It is with a profound sense of loss and sadness I share the news that William Neil (Willie) MacCalder has left the building. He was loved by many and will be missed by all. Willie was, to me, a gentleman and a gentleman. A lifelong musician, piano player, vocalist, and songwriter, he was nationally recognized for his roles with Willie and the Walkers, the Seeds of Time, Teen Angel, as a founding member (1978) of Tom Lavin & the Legendary Powder Blues, and was literally at my right hand on stage for over 25 years.

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Lavin added that "I looked up to him musically and learned so many valuable musical lessons simply by listening to him nightly. He was also noted for his recording session work backing many artists including Jim Byrnes, Billy Cowsill, Long John Baldry, Ferron and Lowell Fulson."

MacCalder developed his craft by playing in a number of teen bands in Edmonton. In the mid-’60s, he found success with Willie and the Walkers, which featured two sets of brothers Dennis and Nick Petruck and Bill and Roland Hardie. Managed by Wes Dakus, the group signed to Capitol Records and travelled to New Mexico to work with Buddy Holly’s record producer. They had a number-one selling single in 1967 with (Alone) in My Room, which spent six weeks on the RPM charts.

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The following year found the band in New York City, under new management, touring nightclubs prior to breaking up. MacCalder then moved into the blues and was recruited by Holger Petersen at Stony Plain to help back up classic blues acts. Petersen tells FYI that "Will MacCalder was a local hero in Edmonton and members of his band Willie and The Walkers went to my high school. 

"Will later worked as a recording engineer at Wes Dakus's Park Lane Studio. I produced my first album there, Walter Shakey Horton with Hot Cottage, in 1972. Will and Barry Allen were the engineers. We later worked together when Stony Plain released an album he engineered by Lowell Fulson and when he produced Ferron's Testimony album."

Upon moving to Vancouver, MacCalder connected with another set of brothers, Chicago-born siblings Tom and Jack Lavin. In the mid-’70s, they started playing as a house band in Gastown and The Powder Blues was born.

MacCalder’s keyboard and vocals can be heard on The Powder Blues’ early albums, 1980's Uncut and 1981's Thirsty Ears. However, despite their commercial success (double platinum and platinum sales respectively), MacCalder chose to go it alone. 

In more recent years, MacCalder regularly performed on cruise ships. In 2018, he was inducted into the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame for his significant contributions to the blues community. For the last number of years, he resided in the ‘Long John Baldry’ memorial suite at the Performers Arts Lodge (PAL) in Coal Harbour, Vancouver.

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His final recording was a solo CD,  Willie MacCalder – Resolution, released in 2021. It featured his piano work and vocals on a mix of originals and covers.

In a Facebook tribute, Canadian music industry veteran Ian Menzies posted that "Willie's induction into the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame noted that he was 'known as one of the pioneers and galvanizing forces of the Edmonton music.' Back when I was playing in my Edmonton cover band 20 Feet (mid '80s) we opened for the Powder Blues a couple of times and both times Willie went out of his way to say hi to us and make us feel welcome. The second time was up in Fort Mac, and we were housed in the same hotel for the evening. I ended up hanging in Willie's room for a couple of hours just talking shop and chilling. Even back then he already had a couple of decades of stories to tell. A fine gent and a fab player (he could really rock a Wurlitzer). Thanks for all the music Willie - you will be missed."

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Sources: Tom Lavin, Holger Petersen, Ian Menzies, Vernon Morning Star, Wikipedia

Fred Sherratt, a veteran and acclaimed Canadian broadcast executive, died on April 22, at age 93, after a brief battle with cancer.

He was born in Toronto but spent many of his early years in Truro, Nova Scotia. Sherratt got his start in radio in 1948 as an announcer at a station in Truro. In 1949, he moved to Northern Ontario where he was a salesman and announcer with Roy Thomson’s stations.

In 1956, he co-founded CFRS in Simcoe, Ontario and was general manager of the station until 1960. It was then that he joined the CHUM organization and was named General Manager of CKPT in Peterborough. Five years later, he went back to Nova Scotia to take over the helm of CJCH Radio in Halifax as Vice-President and General Manager.

In 1969, Sherratt was named Vice-President of CHUM Limited, and in 1971 he joined with CHUM and other investors to buy CJCH-TV, of which he was named President. Soon after, CHUM Limited acquired CKCW-TV and CJCB-TV which all came under the umbrella of the Atlantic Television System which founded the Atlantic Satellite Network.

At CHUM’s headquarters in Toronto, Sherratt, as President of ATV and Executive Vice-President and COO of CHUM Limited, became the overseer of CHUM’s many broadcasting operations across the country. In Dec. 2002, Sherratt, who had previously retired as Chief Operation Officer of CHUM Limited, stepped down as Vice-Chairman but continued as a director and consultant.

He served on many boards and committees including as Chairman of the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM), a Director of the CTV Television Network, and membership of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Board and its Executive Committee.

Sherratt's many awards include the 1984 CAB Distinguished Service Gold Ribbon and the 1993 Ted Rogers Sr./Velma Rogers Award for Pioneering Spirit and contribution to broadcasting. In 1995, Fred was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame. In 2008 he received the first Ontario Association of Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award, and at the 2009 Juno Awards, he received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for an individual who has contributed to the growth and advancement of the Canadian music industry.

In 2009, CARAS and CTVglobemedia established a scholarship program in Sherratt's name, designed to celebrate outstanding graduates of Canadian post-secondary music programs.

An avid sailor, Sherratt helped put together a team to defend the Canada Cup against the U.S. in 1988. 

A celebration of life will be held on Friday, May 5, from 1-3 p.m., at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, 141 Wilson Avenue, Toronto. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Odette Cancer Centre in Sherratt’s memory.  Sources: CBC, Newediuk Funeral Home, BroadcastingHistory.com 

International

Harry Belafonte (born Harold George Bellanfanti), entertainer, actor and civil rights activist, died on April 25, of congestive heart failure, at age 96.

Rolling Stone notes that "he broke major barriers for Black performers in the Fifties before becoming a prominent figure in the fight for Civil Rights."

Belafonte was the first Black performer to win a major Emmy in 1960 with his appearance on a television variety special. He also won Grammy Awards in 1960 and 1965 and received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2000 but voiced frustration at the limits on Black artists in show business. In 1994, Belafonte was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

He was born in Harlem, NYC, but spent his early childhood in his family’s native Jamaica. Reuters states that "Handsome and suave, Belafonte came to be known as the King of Calypso early in his career. He was the first Black person allowed to perform in many plush nightspots and also had racial breakthroughs in movies at a time when segregation prevailed in much of the United States.

"In Island in the Sun in 1954 his character entertained notions of a relationship with a white woman played by Joan Fontaine, which reportedly triggered threats to burn down theatres in the American South. In 1959′s Odds Against Tomorrow, Belafonte played a bank robber with a racist partner.

His entertainment career was launched with his 1950s hit song Banana Boat,  a song about Caribbean dock workers with its resounding call of “Day O." Belafonte’s third album, Calypso, became the first by a single performer to sell more than 1 million copies. Surgery to remove a node on his vocal cords in the ‘60s, however, reduced his voice to a raspy whisper.

In 1959, he began producing films and teamed with Sidney Poitier to produce Buck and the Preacher and Uptown Saturday Night. In 1984, he produced Beat Street, one of the first movies about break-dancing and hip-hop culture.

Belafonte's 1962 album The Midnight Special contains the first officially-released recording by Bob Dylan, who plays harmonica on the title track. By coincidence, Dylan's contribution was recorded on the same date (April 25) as Belafonte's death.

As a Black leading man who explored racial themes in 1950s movies, Belafonte would later move on to working with his friend Martin Luther King Jr. during the U.S. civil rights movement in the early 1960s. He campaigned with King, and in the 1980s, he worked to end apartheid in South Africa and coordinated Nelson Mandela’s first visit to the United States.

Belafonte travelled the world as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, in 1987 and later started an AIDS foundation. In 2014 he received an Academy Award for his humanitarian work.

He provided the impetus for We Are the World, the 1985 all-star musical collaboration that raised money for famine relief in Ethiopia. Belafonte wanted to do something similar to the fund-raising song“Do They Know It’s Christmas? by the British supergroup Band Aid a year earlier.

Even in his late 80s, Belafonte was still speaking out on race and income equality and urging President Barack Obama to do more to help the poor.

An anthology of his music was released to mark Belafonte’s 90th birthday on March 1, 2017. 

Read more at Rolling StoneReuters, and The New York Times

Moon Bin, a South Korean singer and member of the K-pop boy band Astro, has died at the age of 25, his music label Fantagio said on April 20. No cause of death has been reported.

The 25-year-old was reportedly found by his manager who went to the singer’s home on the evening of April 19 because he wasn’t responding to contacts.

Fantagio said Moon Bin’s funeral will be held “as quietly as possible,” with the attendance mostly limited to family, close friends and colleagues, based on the wishes of his relatives.

Moon Bin began his music career in 2016 as a member of the six-member boyband Astro, which debuted shortly after the singer appeared in a TV reality show. The group quickly found success in South Korea and Japan and was listed on Billboard’s top 10 list of new K-pop groups that year, with the magazine praising them for their “bright, synthpop sound that won over K-pop lovers from around the world.”

According to Billboard, Astro had seven albums on the magazine’s World Albums Chart with Moon Bin as a member, peaking at No. 5 in 2017 with Dream Part.02.

Moon Bin entered the entertainment industry as a child actor and landed a role in the 2009 TV series Boys Over Flowers, which was hugely popular in Asia. His sister, Moon Sua, is also a K-pop artist, and a member of the girl band Billie.

Read more in the AP story here

Keith Gattis, a Texas-born country music songwriter, producer, and performer died on April 23 at age 52. No cause of death has been reported.

Saving Country Music writes that "Gattis wasn’t destined to have the big superstar career that he initially set out for, or that his talent deserved. But over his 40 years in the trenches as a songwriter, player, and producer, Keith Gattis became a superstar to those who knew him in the business, from Texas to Nashville, to Los Angeles, and parts in between. And eventually, the music Keith Gattis made went on to be heard by millions."

Gattis signed as a major label artist to RCA Nashville in 1996 and released a debut self-titled album. Despite earning critical acclaim and praise from country traditionalists, it failed to gain traction. Gattis continued in the music business, choosing to collaborate with others.

As a songwriter, Keith Gattis wrote and co-wrote tracks for the likes of George Strait, Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney, Gary Allan, Bruce and Charlie Robison, Jack Ingram, and Sara Evans. Keith Gattis wrote “El Cerrito Place,” which after becoming a signature song for Charlie Robison, was released by Kenny Chesney as a successful radio single. He also wrote the Chesney single “When I See This Bar” and George Strait’s 2013 single “I Got a Car.” 

As a studio player, he worked with George Jones, Jon Pardi, Brandy Clark, Bruce Robison, and Sunny Sweeney among others. In 2002, Gattis joined Dwight Yoakam’s group as the band leader and played guitar and bass on the album Blame The Vain. As a producer, he worked with Wade Bowen, Randy Houser, Waylon Payne, Cory Morrow, Jason James, Micky and the Motorcars, and more.

The albums that Gattis produced include Wade Bowen’s Solid Ground (2018) and Randy Houser’s Magnolia (2019). 

Read more in Saving Country Music here.

Mark Stewart, leader of The Pop Group and a pioneer of Anglo pop-punk, has died at the age of 62. No cause of death has been reported.

Writing in The Guardian, Alexis Petridis noted that Stewart "set the tone for post-punk protest music, whipping political confrontation into a thrilling mix of avant-funk and crashing soundscapes."

Formed in Bristol in 1978, The Pop Group, then comprising teenagers, were placed on the cover of NME before they had released a record. Petridis wrote that "they were in the process of helping to define what became known as post-punk: jagged guitars, funk-inspired rhythms, a bold spirit of experimentation, dub-influenced soundscapes, anything but traditional rock"

The Pop Group's debut single, She Is Beyond Good and Evil, was a collaboration with the visionary reggae producer Dennis Bovell, and its debut album Y was a critical hit. Support slots with Patti Smith, Elvis Costello and Pere Ubu spread the word, as did the 1979 single We Are All Prostitutes and the subsequent album For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, but the group split up in late 1980.

Stewart briefly joined The New Age Steppers before forming Mark Stewart and the Maffia with some of its other alumni. Their 1983 debut album, Learning To Cope With Cowardice, was followed by 1985’s As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade, termed an influence on industrial music.

He later collaborated with the likes of Gary Clail, Martina Topley-Bird, Tricky, Massive Attack, and more. His 2012 album, The Politics of Envy, the supporting cast featured Lee “Scratch” Perry, Primal Scream, Richard Hell, Kenneth Anger, PiL’s Keith Levene, and more.

The Pop Group reformed in 2010, releasing another album, Citizen Zombie, in 2015. Stewart's most recent project, VS, was released in 2022.

Read more here and here.

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