Thirteen Canadian rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s rolled back the clock on Thursday as they were inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame with a night chock full of good memories and even greater radio hits.
Glass Tiger, Loverboy and Trooper were among the bands toasted at Toronto’s Massey Hall as part of a “mega-induction” ceremony dubbed “Rock of Fame,” which celebrated a time when the country’s rock pulse was pounding.
Between a packed lineup of live performances and acceptance speeches, the night was loaded with laughs about time passed, hair lost and the follies of aging.
“We’re all here on the same ride tonight,” Loverboy’s Mike Reno proclaimed early in the ceremony.
His sentiment was shared by many of his fellow inductees on the pre-show red carpet, where they described the familiar faces they passed backstage.
“We’re certainly among friends here,” noted guitarist Al Harlow, who was honoured as part of Vancouver rockers Prism.
“So we’re just saying, ‘Well, hi! How are the grandkids?'”
Chilliwack’s bassist Ab Bryant said that with the combination of summer music festivals and casino gigs, many of the honourees see each other quite often.
“But it’s fantastic to have everyone come together and all be honoured in the same place,” the inductee added.
Even with so many Canadian musicians of the era together in one place, there were still notable absences, Bryant added. In the Vancouver band’s case, several former Chilliwack members died in recent years.
“You think about them when you get here,” he said.
Onstage, the notion of mortality peeked through the festivities every so often.
Rocket Norton of Prism led the crowd in a defiant and expletive-charged chant against cancer, a fight he’s been waging in recent years.
Rough Trade’s Carole Pope addressed leaving a positive impact for the LGBTQ+ community after drag queen Brooke Lynn Hytes commended Pope’s bravery during the Toronto band’s induction.
“I’ve always been out, I’ve always been myself,” said the High School Confidential singer.
“So I just encourage everyone to be themselves.”
Among the surprises, former The New Music host J.D. Roberts made a live video appearance from Washington to trade memories with the evening’s co-host Jeanne Beker, who used to work with him on MuchMusic.
“I know that we’ve lost so many great artists along the road, but to see so many artists play tonight just warms my heart,” said Roberts, who now goes by John Roberts on the Fox News Channel.
‘Just happy I got to be in a band’
For all the talk about legacies, Max Webster bassist Mike Tilka said the night was more about seeing friends and having a good time than worrying about his Toronto band’s spot in history.
“Legacy is something that other people impart on you,”‘ he said.
“I’m just happy I got to be in a band — and that I got to play in a good band.”
Other honourees of the night included April Wine, Platinum Blonde, the Parachute Club and Lighthouse, as well as solo female rock singer Lee Aaron and Montreal’s Michel Pagliaro.
Organizers say the rock inductions are part of bigger plans to mark the Walk of Fame’s 25th anniversary.
The music-themed bash will be followed by the annual induction ceremony set for Dec. 2, when hockey superstar Connor McDavid and satirist Rick Mercer will be among the honourees.