TORONTO — 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, 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 of the era's Canadian musicians together, there were still notable absences, Bryant added. In the Vancouver band's case, some former Chilliwack members have died over the 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, while 75-year-old Myles Goodwyn supposed that April Wine's induction might be the last time he's in the room with so many Canadian legends of his career.
Rough Trade's Carole Pope addressed leaving a positive impact on 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 television.
"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.
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 Platinum Blonde, the Parachute Club and Lighthouse, as well as solo female rock singer Lee Aaron and Montreal's Michel Pagliaro.
The event was co-hosted by Beker and radio and TV personality Terry David Mulligan, once the creator and face of the "Much West" series on MuchMusic. Together they reappeared throughout the show to conduct brief casual interviews with the inductees about their memories.
Fellow MuchMusic VJs Steve Anthony, Erica Ehm, Christopher Ward and Michael Williams were presenters alongside a number of radio personalities.
A mixture of performances from the inducted musicians and tributes to them carried on throughout the night.
The Trews members Colin MacDonald and John-Angus MacDonald opened the show with a faithful rendition of Trooper's "Raise a Little Hell," while pop-rock singer Fefe Dobson joined Aaron in a growling duet of "Whatcha Do to My Body."
Members of Glass Tiger, Platinum Blonde and Rough Trade were among those who played their own songs.
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.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2023.
David Friend, The Canadian Press