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FYI

Obituaries, Aug. 31, 2023

Denis LePage, a disco producer and artist at the heart of Montreal’s pumping 1980s nightlife, died on Aug. 21, at age 74, of cancer.

Obituaries, Aug. 31, 2023

By Kerry Doole

Denis LePage, a disco producer and artist at the heart of Montreal’s pumping 1980s nightlife, died on Aug. 21, at age 74, of cancer.


With then-wife Denyse LePage, he formed the Montreal disco duo Lime. CP writes: "With a stream of Billboard chart hits, LePage helped define an era of Canada’s discotheques as part of the duo Lime. LePage, who identified as non-binary, later took the name Nini Nobless. His infectious synthesizer hooks made Lime’s songs favourites at dance clubs around the world."

Prior to Lime, LePage performed in the band the Persuaders and by the mid-1970s had formed the jazz-fusion act Le Pouls with Denyse LePage, a singer-songwriter in her own right.

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A few years later LePage secured his first hit with the funky 1979 single The Break, released under the name Kat Mandu. It peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s U.S. disco chart.

LePage’s second project with Denyse caught the wave of the synthesizer revolution sweeping through the music industry. The LePage duo recorded an electro-disco project together and chose a group name inspired by Lime Light, a popular downtown Montreal discotheque. Their music was regularly played over that club's sound systems.

By the end of 1981, Lime's debut single, Your Love, spread beyond Canada’s borders, landing atop the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart for one week. 1982’s Babe, We’re Gonna Love Tonight peaked at No. 6 on the dance chart. The LePages found success outside Lime when they wrote Dancin’ the Night Away for the duo Voggue. The 1981 single held at No. 1 on the Billboard dance chart for three weeks.

The pair continued making music as Lime into the 1990s, though CP reports that "financial problems led LePage to sell music copyrights to Unidisc, a Montreal record label that specializes in sounds of the era.

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Around the early 2010s, LePage began to publicly identify as a woman, taking the name Nini Nobless and recording new material, but this had little impact.

Unidisc’s ownership of Lime’s catalogue meant the label could reissue and rework past recordings, and in recent years, that included recruiting Canadian dance producers Jacques Greene and Tiga to produce remixes of the duo’s classic singles.

A documentary on Lime was being made in cooperation with the late LePage, but the project is now in limbo. A funeral is planned in Montreal for Sept. 4.

Sources: CP

Keith Spicer, Canada’s first Commissioner of Official Languages and a former chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), died on Aug. 24, at age 89.

He also had a stint as Editor-in-Chief of the Ottawa Citizen and as leader of the Citizens’ Forum on Canada’s Future, described by The Citizen as "an epic encounter with Canadians following the collapse of the 1990 Meech Lake constitutional accord." The paper noted that "Spicer advocated for national unity with imagination and intellect."

He was also an author, broadcaster and journalist in addition to being a university professor, public intellectual and bon vivant. The Citizen wrote that "In all of his roles, Spicer was a powerful advocate for national unity, an idea he advanced by bridging the linguistic and cultural divides between French and English Canada. It was an exceptional role for someone born into a unilingual, working-class Protestant family in Toronto."

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“He did everything he could to make French Canadians feel welcome and respected in the rest of Canada,” said his son, Nick, one of his three children.

Read a tribute in the Ottawa Citizen here.

Sources: Ottawa Citizen, Wikipedia, CBC 

International

August 08 (born Ray Davon Jacobs), a rapper, songwriter and producer who worked with Justin Bieber and DJ Khaled. has died at age 31. No cause has been reported. The Los Angeles-born rapper's family and his record label 88rising announced his passing on Aug. 29

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He was best known for co-writing the DJ Khaled hit I'm the One featuring Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo and Lil Wayne, and Bieber's solo hit Sorry. The musician - who also performed under the moniker August Grant - also wrote the song Fashion Week by Wale and G-Easy.

In May 2018, August 08 released his debut EP, Father, through 88rising and Red Bull Records. He also released the Happy Endings With an Asterisk and Emotional Cuh EPs through 88rising. He also featured on the collective’s Head in the Clouds and Head in the Clouds II compilations. In July 2022, August 08 became the first artist to sign with Jhené Aiko’s Def Jam. Recordings label venture, Allel Sound.

Sources: Daily Mail, Pitchfork

Bernie Marsden, an English rock guitarist and original member of Whitesnake, died on Aug. 24 at the age of 72.

Marsden appeared on Whitesnake's albums from 1978’s Snakebite to 1982’s Saints & Sinners. He was co-writer of some of the band's best-known songs including Here I Go Again and Fool For Your Loving.

He started as a member of UFO in 1971, played in Babe Ruth, and then hooked up with Deep Purple’s Jon Lord and Ian Paice in Paice Ashton Lord. In 1978, Marsden and ex-Deep Purple singer David Coverdale formed Whitesnake with Micky Moody.

Marsden started his solo career in the Whitesnake years. He has more than a dozen solo albums to his name. PRS manufactured a Bernie Marsden signature guitar, and he published his biography Where’s My Guitar in 2017.

Sources: The GuardianNoise11Rob Sweeney

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Beyoncé

Beyoncé

FYI

The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Beyoncé Country Hit A Win For Canadian Songwriters

Also in this week's roundup of industry news: Kayla Diamond launches her own boutique imprint, SOCAN names an ombudsman, and time's running out for noms for this year's Rosalie Award honouring trailblazing women in broadcasting.

Beyoncé becomes the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em” and it has gone to No. 1 on iTunes in 14 different countries and counting. There are some surprising connections. The song is co-written and co-produced by Ontario-born writer/producer Nathan Ferraro, whose previous collaborations include working with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Alyssa Reid, Jessie Reyez, Lowell and Tyler Shaw.

In fact, the song has deep Canadian origins. Two other Canadian songwriters participated in this runaway hit: Megan Bülow (who records and performs as bülow) as and Elizabeth "Lowell" Boland (a.k.a. Lowell), with Ferraro co-producing the track with Killah B and Beyoncé.

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