Most of the time, when a group takes the name of the city where they are based, they are never forgotten by their fans. Just ask anybody about Chicago or Boston, for example. Toronto was a Canadian rock group between 1979 and 1985; but they started out as Rose.
In the late 60’s, Barrie Eastview High School friends Brian Allen, Ken King, Ron Glatley and Gary Lalonde formed a rock band which they called NeonRose. Although Brian and Ron lived in Base Borden, Ken and Gary lived in Barrie, so that was where the band had most of their gigs. Before launching themselves on the world at large, they dropped the ‘Neon’ part of their name.
In 1973, they released an album, Hooked on a Rose on G.A.S. Records. It was a modest start.
Then in 1977, James Fox took over from Ken King on drums, and they released another album, A Taste of Neptune on Polydor. This proved to be their most popular album. Here’s the first track from that album.
In the same year, they produced their third and last album Judgement Day, also on Polydor.
I saw them in St. Catharines, at the local ice arena, in 1978. I was especially proud of them, as Ron and I had been good acquaintances through riding on the same school bus to Barrie every day.
Then Ron chose to leave the band, so they reformed as Toronto.
Enter Annie (Holly) Woods
Wikipedia writes this about the new band: Toronto was a Canadian rock band formed in the late 1970s in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, when singer Annie “Holly” Woods met guitarist Brian Allen. The band’s constantly shifting line-up was originally augmented by guitarist/backing vocalist Sheron Alton, keyboardist Scott Kreyer, bassist Nick Costello, and drummer Jimmy Fox.
Almost immediately, the Canadian rock industry noticed this new group. Toronto’s first album, Lookin’ for Trouble, was released in 1980, and lead single “Even The Score” was a minor hit, just missing the Canadian Top 40. Head On (1981) followed, after which Costello and Fox left the band to be replaced by Gary Lalonde (later of Honeymoon Suite) and Barry Connors (later of Coney Hatch). The band was nominated for a Juno in 1981 for “Most Promising Group of the Year” along with Loverboy, Martha & the Muffins, Red Rider and Powder Blues Band (winner).(Wikipedia)
But it wasn’t long before Holly Woods would become the focus of attention. This sextet recorded Get It on Credit (1982), with lead single “Your Daddy Don’t Know” reaching top 5 in Canada, and hitting No. 77 in the US. It remains their best-known hit. “Your Daddy Don’t Know” was also nominated for a Juno Award in 1983 for Composer of the Year (the song was written by Geoff Iwamoto and Michael Roth). Lalonde was then replaced by Mike Gingrich for 1983’s Girls’ Night Out in 1983. This album also received attention, as did the band’s Greatest Hits album of 1984. In 1984, Holly Woods was nominated for a Juno for “Female Vocalist of the Year” along with Dalbello, Shari Ulrich and Anne Murray (winner). (Wikipedia)
Here’s a trio of songs from that time period:
Then Brian Leaves
But all good things must come to an end, regrettably. There were subsequently several exits and entrances in 1984/85, with founding members Allen and Alton leaving, along with drummer Connors. They were replaced by Marty Walsh (guitars), Daryl Alvara (guitars) and Paul Hanna (drums), and the band rechristened themselves Holly Woods and Toronto. In 1985, the re-vamped sextet released their final album, Assault and Flattery. It featured the single “New Romance”, written by Holly Knight and Anton Fig.
In 1985, the band was forced into breaking up when Solid Gold Records filed for bankruptcy protection. Woods and Kreyer ended up relocating to Atlanta, where they went into Lowery Studios to record a solo album by Woods. However, the album was shelved for over 20 years, until Cyclone Records acquired the rights to the “lost” masters and released the album in 2007. (Wikipedia)
Here’s the final single.
Missed by Their Fans
A common theme on YouTube is the comment that their fans still miss them. But what surprises me is that Rose fans also lament the lack of their music as well.
For my part, I have two copies of each of Rose’s original albums. I have also converted them to MP3 format, so that I can play them on my computer.
Toronto fans can still buy all of their albums as CDs, culminating in a greatest hits album that contains their previously unreleased “What About Love”, famously recorded by Heart to massive sales.
For my part, I have tried to contact Ron Glatley through Facebook and Google +, but I suspect he doesn’t visit those sites very often. It appears, though, that he’s still in the music business. Hi, Ron, how’s it going?
Rose courtesy of http://www.progarchives.com
Holly Woods courtesy of cyclonerecords.ca
Toronto courtesy of cashboxcanada.ca
Ron Glatley courtesy of his Google+ account