You Should See: The Last Pogo Jumps Again

Well, thank fuck: it seems as if people may finally be ready to start paying a bit more attention to the history of music in Toronto. It's about bloody time. Recently, there have been a whole series of popular projects exploring the city's music scenes from days gone by: from the sounds of 1960s Yorkville (Before The Gold Rush) to the rock and soul of the Yonge Street Strip (Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll Stories) to 1970s Queen Street punk (Treat Me Like Dirt). Not to mention, *ahem*, the Toronto Historical Jukebox.

And now there's the epic, three-hour punk doc The Last Pogo Jumps Again. It's playing on the big screen this week for what may very well be the last time. You can catch it at the Royal tonight (Feb. 26 at 9pm) and on Sunday afternoon (March 2 at 4pm).

[continue to read the full review on the Toronto Historical Ephemera Blog]

"High School Confidential" by Rough Trade

1980s New Wave pop

Carol Pope and Kevan Staples first started playing together in Yorkville in 1968, but it would be another six years before they officially became the New Wave group Rough Trade. They quickly developed a reputation for their sexual live shows at Grossman's Tavern (on Spadina south of College) and later at the Horseshoe (on Queen West). Pope made a habit of wearing bondage gear on stage and made no secret of her homosexuality.

"High School Confidential" became their biggest hit in 1981. It's hailed as a landmark in Canadian music history — it told the story of a lesbian high school crush at a time when that was still a ridiculously controversial thing to do. Plenty of radio stations banned the song or censored the lyrics, but it still climbed all the way up into the Top 20 on the Canadian charts.


You can buy Rough Trade's album Avoid Freud here.

Listen to more Toronto New Wave here.

"Mr. Heartache" by Pat Hervey

LISTEN: "Mr. Heartache" by Pat Hervey

1960s Toronto pop

Pat Hervey was still just a teenager in the early 1960s, but she was about to become one of the biggest pop stars in Canada. She'd been born and raised in Toronto, where she sang at high school dances until she finally caught the attention of Al Boliska, the popular morning DJ on 1050 CHUM. Hervey was only 5'3" but she had a powerful voice — it earned plenty of favourable comparisons to the American superstar Brenda Lee. Before long, she was a regular on the CBC, making repeated appearances on six of the TV network's music shows.

Her Canadian success, in turn, helped to attract the attention of one of the most famous guitarists of all-time: Chet Atkins. He was now a record executive at RCA Victor, responsible for signing some of the biggest country music stars in the world, including Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Waylan Jennings. He signed Hervey, too; even produced a bunch of her singles himself, along with her full-length debut.

Hervey recorded a wide variety of songs over the course of her career, everything from bubble-gum pop to fiery soul to melancholy country ballads. But one of her biggest hits was the very first single she ever released: "Mr. Heartache". It soared up the CHUM Charts during the summer of 1962.


You can buy Pat Hervey's Girl Next Door here.

All songs are posted to promote the artist and the history of Toronto. When possible, I've sought permission from artists, but if you're the copyright-holder and would like the song removed, please contact me here.