The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Walk of Fame, Champagne & More
In this week's bulletin, Gary Slaight, Myles Goodwyn, and a tale of champagne, caviar and karaoke.
A Chip Off The Old Block
On Dec. 2, Canada's Walk of Fame’s Silver anniversary honoured a prominent list of Canadians at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre, among them being Gary Slaight, who joins father Allan to become the first to have a familial name already on the distinguished list of honourees.
Allan and Gary set up The Slaight Family Foundation after selling Standard Broadcasting in 2007 for a billion-plus dollars and became the founding partner of the WoF back in 2008.
Since then, the Slaights have gifted almost $200M to healthcare, at-risk youth, international development, social services and culture.
In the past several years alone, the Foundation has given away a bundle– including $10M gifted to the refurbishment of Massey Hall and $15M to support 22 theatre companies recovering from Covid-related closures.
It’s a story about a family that started off with a single radio station and a few loose ends to build a generational empire with little more than smarts and ingenuity.
Never one to bathe in the limelight, Gary Slaight had this to say at the HOF:
“Wow! Thank you for this phenomenal tribute and honour inducting me as a member of Canada’s Walk of Fame – I am quite overwhelmed by it all.
“You know … I have always been a behind-the-scenes guy … I prefer it that way. I was inspired by my parents … particularly my father, Allan, who was just inducted to the Walk in 2020 – I miss you, big guy. They were always actively involved in the community … but outside the spotlight.
“And … if I have a gift for anything, it is for recognizing talent … particularly Canadian talent … you just saw some of the best … and doing what I can to promote it, just as my father did before me.
“Actually … it’s not really a gift. It’s just a reflection of great role models who mentored me over the years and taught me that this is what we needed to do to grow our communities, our culture and, indeed, our country.
“Our family has had a tradition of giving that now extends well beyond the arts … whether it is through The Slaight Family Foundation, Emmanuelle Gattuso and her Foundation, or through my wife, Donna Slaight, and her tireless work with CAMH and Human Rights Watch.
"We are committed to helping others.
“As for this evening and this great honour, there are many people to thank … starting with our late friend, Peter Soumalias, who founded the Walk of Fame with Dusty Cohl, Billy Ballard, Diane Schwalm and me.
“Peter was able to articulate for so many of us the need to recognize and promote our own. Thank you, Peter.
“I’d also like to thank Jeffrey Latimer and his team for keeping Peter’s vision not just alive but thriving … and Barry Avrich for the flattering video profile. I know I’m not the easiest of subjects, Barry. And, of course, to my friend Andy Kim for his introduction … and Tom Wilson, Jessica Mitchell, Theo Tams, and Brett Kissel for their amazing renditions of Gordon’s tunes. They were very moving and meaningful for me. Thank you.
“And I would like to thank Derrick Ross and the gang at Slaight Music, and Terry Smith at our Foundation for all the work that they do … and my assistant, Wendy.”
Amen, we say!
Concert Tickets, Champagne & Caviar
The annual Int Live Music Conference in the UK will attract close to 1500 high-rollers rolling in the riches from the live music bubble that has fans busting bank accounts to see a hit parade of fave acts in some of the top draw venues that concrete and steel can build. Record sales may be in the toilet, but promoters, managers, agents and the ancillary flotilla of lawyers, accounts and stagehands (perhaps not the latter), are ready to rock, and the Feb. 27-March 1 event at London’s Royal Lancaster (room rates here) promise the best, includinga champagne reception followed by a five-star, four-course feast prepared by award-winning chefs, and a selection of fine wines. Best of all, “the karaoke and after-show party” continues until the wee hours.
Why settle for stars when the famously wealthy backstage hands can sing their hearts out?
Loose Lips Sink Ships!
The glut of genre-specific award shows seems to be imperilling territory once ruled by the rooster.
Can you imagine?
Yup, one of the once top-rated, must-view shows on the boob tube is asunder with competition and perhaps even criticism from a growing list of shut-outs who feel a once glorious trophy means less and less in the pocketbook.
How much does it cost to stage one of these events, and how many people does it take to mount a show that some see as increasingly disengaged from its roots?
Well, who are we to say?
The nut of the boil is the list of categories grows longer by the minute, and the push to satisfy an ever-growing list of this-that-and-the-other categories pushes unquestionable fame into a quagmire of questionable categories.
It’s a perplexing question that would dizzy a bureaucrat, fog the brain of an altruist and rattle the attention span of an ad agency buyer.
We used to love SoundHound because it delivered answers to songs in the universe around us in seconds flat. Today, the top dog is Shazam. The Apple-owned app is now touting 300M monthly “active” users worldwide with the ability to recognize 70B songs in seconds. Want to hear those old Rolling Stones monaural tracks on Decca? Yesterday, the column asked for “Poison Ivy” by the Rolling Stones, first released in mono in 1963 and wham, bam, thank you, man, up it came.
We shied away from asking it for the earlier Liber-Stoller cover released by The Paramounts (later to become Procol Harum), but we did ask for “Jackie Boy” by Canadian rocker Brian Plummer (Change Records, 1980), and we hit the jackpot. Anyone asking what became of him, the SK singer who joined the capital-city band Trina died of cancer way too young in April 2008, according to thew-New New Testament, Wikipedia.
All-Time Canadian Hits of 2023
The CBC counts down the Top 100. Believe the corp. or not, the list is deep, and some of the songs included have links to or video embeds. If you are old like me, you’ve lost track of time, and this is a refresher course on why listeners of all ages are loving or leaving the pubcaster.
His passing made The New York Times, The Guardian in Britain, Rolling Stone, Guitar World, UPI, even The Globe and Mail.
Heck, his obit even earned a headline in FYI and Guitar World.
Oddly, Celebrity Access passed on mentioning his passing (as of Wednesday). Instead, Chad Allan earned himself a lengthy obit in the U.S. online publication. (Celebrity Access did, however, acknowledge his passing in its Twitter feed.)
As William Shatner liked to say, “Weird or what?”
Chad Allan? He was a lovely guy. Kinda of the Pete Best of the Beatles, some might say.
And some may ask, who is Pete Best?
Hint: a band Paul McCartney used to be in…before they became famous.
Guess Chad Allan's ancestry?
Chad Allan and The Expressions later morphed into the Guess Who. Burton Cummings replaced him.