Saturday, October 2, 2010

DUCKLINGS, DIODES, KINGS AND RHEOS

As you have no doubt seen and heard, The Top 100 Canadian Singles is now here. The book was released on Thursday, Sept. 30th, and I can tell you there was tremendous media interest. I have spent almost every moment either doing an interviews, travelling to an interview, or writing answers to email questions. I'm behind on everything, especially blogging, and acknowledging all the friends and well-wishers who have been contacting me, so apologies to any and all I haven't talked to personally.

The official launch of the book was held Thursday night at Ben McNally's in Toronto. It's a wonderful bookstore, the kind you want to spend hours in, spacious and full of actual books, not chocolate, fridge magnets or DVD's.  I wanted to shop, but had to do TV interviews instead.  The place was filled with friends, family, people who voted in the book and musicians.

Dave Bidini was the MC, renowned author and recording artist, who appears in the Top 100 Canadian Singles at #42, with Rheostatic's "Claire".  Dave said some touching things about me, which he made up, and then regaled us with a list of the most obscure Canadian artists and singles with the strangest names imaginable.  It was so obscure, I had never heard of most of them.  The point was, of course, there are so many great Canadian songs, so let's not forget the ones who didn't make the Top 100.

After a standard boring speech from me, the really highlight happened.  Because I'm a music journalist, I wanted to show people what it is I do to make these books.  So I was joined on stage by my fellow East-Coaster, the great Newfoundland songwriter Ron Hynes.  Ron talked about the song of his in the Top 100, the folk classic "Sonny's Dream".  He wrote it in 10 minutes in a van full of musicians and comedians, rolling through the back highways of Newfoundland.  Then to everyone's pleasure and amazement, Ron broke out into song, a brilliant a capella rendition of "Sonny", which left folks gasping.

I was also honoured to see several of the musicians with songs in the book in attendance.  I got a chance to finally meet some talented people in person.  Mister Zero from the Kings was there, with the band's "Switchin' To Glide/This Beat Goes On" finishing at #72 in the book.  From The Diodes, members John Hamilton and Ian Mackay were in the house, catching their first glimpse of the book featuring the punk classic "Tired Of Waking Up Tired" at #23.  From the Ugly Ducklings, I finally got a chance to meet Dave Bingham, who has been a delight to speak to for both the Top 100 Canadian Albums and Singles books, via email.  At number 33, was their Toronto garage rock classic "Nothin".

On we go now..I'm already in Vancouver eating sushi, doing more interviews.  The next book launch is here, Sunday Oct. 3 at 4 PM at Zulu Records.  MC Grant Lawrence of CBC Radio 3 will pounce on me for a question and answer session, and we'll talk about the songs just like the music geeks we are.  It's open to all, and books are on sale.  I will sign but my writing is so bad, people will just think a 2-year old scribbled on it.

Don't forget to join the blog or facebook site, and join the discussion the songs featured in the book, and the many excellent ones that didn't make it.

Best, Bob

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