“The Toronto Sound”…what? There can be endless arguments about whether or not there was a distinct “Toronto Sound” in the 1960s, in the same vein as “surf music”, “the British Invasion”, or “the San Francisco psychedelic sound”. There is a strong case to be made that the Yonge Street club scene did, for a few years, generate a recognizable sound.
For a brief period in the mid-1960s In both Canada and Australia, a sub-industry grew up of local performers covering international hit records. In some instances the local outfit was able to record and release their version before the original single made it to the domestic market. This phenomenon was closely associated with the 1964 – 1966 “beat boom” era; earlier, the domestic groups, recording industry, and radio environment were still rather primitive and could not compete with international (particularly US) product, while later in the decade the premium placed on originality pushed the “cover band” to the fringes. Furthermore, performers realized that recording an original song would create much more net revenue than sending royalties off to a foreign songwriter.
Let’s take a look at the Canadian performers who had entries on the US, UK, and Australian hit singles charts in the 1960s – click here to open the PDF – as a subset of the Canadian Hit Singles Chart (coming soon).
The Canadian music industry through much of the 1960s was simply treated as a US branch plant. The quality of the recording studios, availability of skilled musicians and technicians, and radio support were all lacking.
By Snjihcs Nehpets
The novelty effect of working with tape in the 1950s and 60s occasionally made it on record; tape could be sped up (e.g. The Chipmunks), slowed down, or run backwards for extra effect (e.g. The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” or Tomorrow’s “My White Bicycle”). Of course, running the tape backwards might yield an unlistenable mess of gibberish, or it could create a surprisingly melodic new tune. But rarely did a whole “backwards” song get released.