Hi friends & music lovers.
Working for a commercial rock-radio station, you know I love my Led Zeppelin and my Hendrix, my Weezer and my Red Hot Chili Peppers, my I Mother Earth and Monster Truck. Obviously, there are a TON of bands out there, some of which are local and amazing, that we don’t play on our radio station at this time. That can be tough for the average music lover, and I get that. I try to keep my eyes and ears peeled for local musicans and bands as well, even though you may not hear about them enough on-air.
Music is important on so many levels, but especially at a local level.
My introduction to the London music scene began while completing a project for Fanshawe College after a few years in town, but not necessarily out of my UWO “university bubble.” Fanshawe forced me out of my comfort zone, especially with one professor, Bob Smith (a name you’ll recognize from A-Channel & Rogers) who required us to produce a few feature documentaries on subjects of our choice during a certain class learning rotation. He encouraged us to cover subjects we were passionate about…which eventually lead me to interview former chair, and co-founder of the Jack Richardson Music Awards, Mario Circelli. You’ve probably met him at some point in this city too, as a musician, film maker and broadcast journalist.
Before long, I was well versed on the story of Jack Richardson.
In the Canadian music industry he was “Jack the Bear” – a music industry giant who receives the dedication of the Jack Richardson Music Award ceremonies.
From musician to advertising agency account executive to music producer to record company founder and CIRPA president and instructor of Music Industry Arts, Jack Richardson has covered the music industry from all angles.
In the 1950’s Jack performed with many of Canada’s most famous orchestras. Mart Kenny, Ellis McClintock, Art Hallman, Bert Niosi and was a member of the Billy O’Connor show who, with his pet Juliette became a Saturday night institution for CBC television across Canada.
In 1960 while working with the McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency he became the account supervisor for the radio and tv side of the Coca-Cola Ltd. account. He was instrumental in the creation and development of the award winning “youth radio” advertising campaign for Coke. The concept involved using current Canadian talent, which was starting to make itself heard. He recorded Bobby Curtola, David Clayton Thomas, J.B. and the Playboys, The Collectors (Chiliwack), Robbie Lane, Jack London and others and of course, The Guess Who, all for Coca-Cola commercials.
In 1968, with three business partners, he founded Nimbus 9 Productions and signed their first artist, The Guess Who. In 1972 he designed and built Nimbus 9’s Soundstage Recording Studio, and did the same two years later for the J.A.M.F. disc mastering facility. In 1974/75 Richardson introduced Direct-to-disc audiophile recordings when Nimbus 9 launched the world famous Umbrella Records label.
During this time, Richardson work, as a record producer included a diverse roster of Canadian, American and international acts including: The Guess Who, Alice Cooper, The Boss Brass, Bob Seger, Poco, Christopher Ward, Rough Trade, The Association, Badfinger, The Toronto Chamber Orchestra, The Brecker Brothers, Poppa John Creach, Hagood Hardy and the Canadian Brass.
Of his 14 albums for The Guess Who alone, 11 were Canadian gold, five were Canadian platinum with five gold and three platinum records in the United States. His records with Alice Cooper and Bob Seger also achieved gold and platinum status in Canada and the U.S. In all, Jack Richardson has produced 27 Billboard charted singles, over 20 Billboard charted albums and has received 38 gold and platinum awards.
He was a driving force in the birth of FACTOR (The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings) and in the establishment of CIRPA (The Canadian Independent Record Producers Association) and became its first president. He was chair of the industry advisory board for the Music Industry Arts Project at Fanshawe College, London Ontario in the late 1970’s. In 1985 he became the audio production instructor for the MIA program at the college until his retirement in the mid-2000’s.
In 1986 the CARAS/Juno, Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award was presented to him and he is currently a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. SOCAN presented Richardson with their Special Achievement Award in 1988. In 2002 the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences renamed the Juno Producer of the Year Award as the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year. The pinnacle of his career came in 2003 when Jack Richardson was awarded the Order of Canada.
On May 13, 2011 at age 81, Mr. Jack Richardson died peacefully in the hospital.
I was lucky enough to interview him for my project and I will never forget the conversation. The Jack Richardson Music Awards honour him and our local music scene annually, and this year’s date was just announced. I encourage you to join us at the London Music Hall, even if you’re not familiar with any of the acts, you’ll leave as a fan of someone new. The event is free and the special guest has MANY connections with the music you hear on FM96.
Here’s the press release for the event April 17th, 2016. Hope to see you there:
2016 Jack Richardson London Music Awards Ready to Roll
The date is set and the London Music Hall will be ready to celebrate the best in London music. Sunday April 17th, 2016 over 20 awards will be handed out, including the Life Time Achievement Award and the naming of the 2016 inductees to the Jack Richardson London Music Hall of Fame. In addition, live performances by London and area musicians will highlight the gala awards show which is free to the public.
Garth Richardson, son of legendary music producer Jack Richardson, will be the guest of honour and keynote speaker at the 12th annual Jack Richardson London Music Awards seminar day and tradeshow at the London Music Club on April 16th, 2016.
Like his father, the younger Richardson is a music production mastermind in his own right, having produced recordings for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Hedley, among others. Based in Vancouver, he is also co-owner of the Nimbus School of Recording Arts in Vancouver with Jack Richardson protégé Bob Ezrin.
Garth Richardson will be front and centre at both the awards ceremony taking place on Sunday, April 17th at The London Music Hall – 185 Queens Street (doors open at 6:00 p.m. – show starts at 7:00 p.m.) and at the music industry seminar and trade show day at the London Music Club, 470 Colborne Street, on Saturday, April 16th. The trade show is also free for the public.
For more information, please visit: http://www.jrma.ca/index.php