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Music

Remembering Toronto (the band!)

Posted by Derek Flack / September 3, 2010

toronto the bandIn the process of doing research for another post yesterday, I stumbled upon some information about a band that I'd never heard of. Clueless as this may be, until last night I was unaware of the existence of Toronto (the band that is). Now, to be fair, I wasn't old enough to be listening to music when Toronto were at the height of their popularity -- but, nevertheless, for someone who has a thing for 80s nostalgia, this discovery came as a pleasant little surprise.

Formed in 1978 by singer Holly Woods and guitarist Bria Allen (the rest of the line-up changed over the years), Toronto actually produced a number of legitimate hits over their approximately five year career with Solid Gold Records. In fact, their first three albums went platinum. Their most popular single remains "Your Daddy Don't Know," which I recognized immediately upon playing last night despite not ever connecting it to the band in question. In fact the New Pornographers actually covered the song in 2003 for the movie Fubar: The Album.

But Toronto's most popular song (by a landslide) is one that's rarely associated with them. When writing tracks for the their 1982 album, Get It On Credit, Allen, Sheron Alton (the other guitarist in the band) and production assistant Jim Vallance wrote "What About Love?" But, when it came time for the record company to finalize the track list, it was somehow left off the album.

Big mistake.

Three years later the song was offered to Heart, and they proceeded to turn it into a mega-hit. Although it was later added as a bonus track on the re-issue of Get It On Credit, the song will, no doubt, be forever affiliated with Heart rather than Toronto. And that's quite a shame. Although I'm not much of a fan of sweeping 80s rock ballads, Toronto's version of the song is every bit the equal of the more popular Heart version.

Perhaps the origin of this song is more widely known than I think. But, my sense is that this isn't the case. So while I'm certainly no Alan Cross, I thought this little bit of Toronto music history was worth sharing.

Check out Toronto's "What About Love?" and "Your Daddy Don't Know" below.

Discussion

49 Comments

Teena / September 3, 2010 at 09:26 am
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You've never heard of Toronto?! They were a great band! Thanks for making me feel old :)
wrinkles / September 3, 2010 at 09:29 am
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Even the score was another hit from them.
Old = me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_Ukiah6auA
EM / September 3, 2010 at 09:39 am
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"Looking for Trouble" is the song that comes to mind when I think of Toronto.
tripper / September 3, 2010 at 09:42 am
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I was in high school when Toronto were popular (yes, I'm THAT old) I was more into the punk and New Wave thing at the time, but Toronto was a guilty pleasure. Good solid power pop.
hbr / September 3, 2010 at 09:54 am
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This is when music had spirit , and Canada had an awesome music business and unique sound...
rick mcginnis / September 3, 2010 at 10:43 am
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Yr makin' me feel really old here, Derek.
scottd / September 3, 2010 at 11:10 am
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They were a terrible spandex band and the joke was that they should have been called Scarborough.
GaryJambo / September 3, 2010 at 11:31 am
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I saw them live, they were a fun band.
K. Alton / September 3, 2010 at 11:33 am
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My Step-Aunt is Sheron Alton.

Props to Toronto for hardwork and good music .
JP / September 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm
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Don't forget "Girls' Night Out" -- truly one of the cheesiest songs ever produced in this country! Q107 used to play Toronto singles all the time.
hbr replying to a comment from scottd / September 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm
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ya....too bad they didn't wear brown chords, dirty tshirts and sport beards eh?
5andman / September 3, 2010 at 02:42 pm
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The haters (scottd) can hate as much as they want.

Toronto (the band) were probably raking in the music royalties from Heart (and others) when there were "music royalties" to rake in!!!

I'm surprised that there aren't many more Canadian Indy bands doing more covers (like New Pornographers)?
There are a lot great past songs produced in the Great White North (Coney Hatch, Headpins, Helix, Zappacosta, etc.) that would translate well in todays music climate.
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 03:34 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 04:04 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
PLPawel / September 3, 2010 at 04:15 pm
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There was also a Polish band called Toronto that had a few big hits.
Pawel / September 3, 2010 at 04:16 pm
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There was also a Polish band called Toronto that had a few big hits in my native Poland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmER5Q9MN4k
Steve / September 3, 2010 at 04:29 pm
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Wow. Perspective required here. Toronto was not a "little bit of Toronto music history", they were a whole lot of Toronto music history. Sure, it's hard to remember, but in the early '80s they were huge in Canada.

They'd already scored several hits in (especially "Even the Score") when The "Get It On Credit" album was released -- a big, bit hit back in '82. You couldn't turn the radio on without hearing "You're Daddy Don't Know" or "Start Tellin' the Truth". And in those days, bands release a new album every 12 to 18 months, which Toronto did, scoring big hits again in '83 with "Girls Night Out" and "Ready to Make Up"

Holly Woods was an all-time great singer, who went on to a successful jazz/lounge singing career. She sang torch songs at the small cafe / club the father of a friend of mine owned, and I will never forget it. The club was called Cafe on the Park; it's now a Boom Breakfast diner.

Toronto were truly pioneers and have simply not got their due because of the bias against '80s rock, which admittedly doesn't hold up in some cases, but certainly does with Toronto. Include Darby Mills & The Headpins, Streetheart, Platinum Blonde, Goddo, April Wine, the Kings (Swtiching to Glide), Payolas, Harlequin, Eight Seconds (Kiss You When It's Dangrous) and yup, Coney Hatch among that lot. All deserved better and more acclaim.

For fun, check out your favourite old band in the Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia:
http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Pop_Encyclopedia/home.html
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 04:34 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 05:04 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 05:34 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 06:04 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 06:35 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 07:05 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Gabe replying to a comment from Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 11:33 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that you covered your post like 7 times, but don't worry, it's casual, it's casual...
Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Sasha replying to a comment from Dialog / September 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm
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Sorry I'm listening to Alabama, Boston, Chicago, Chilliwack, and Nazareth right now, (only got a 5 disc cd carousel) I'll throw Toronto back on in a few hours and get back to you...
Dialog / September 4, 2010 at 12:05 am
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
HUK / September 4, 2010 at 12:24 am
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BlogTO, you really should cover Jim Vallance's musical influence over international (rock) music.

Gabe replying to a comment from HUK / September 4, 2010 at 12:34 am
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You seem to know something about his musical influence...why don't you tell us about it?
Gabe replying to a comment from HUK / September 4, 2010 at 12:35 am
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You seem to know something about his musical influence...why don't you tell us about it?
Dialog / September 4, 2010 at 12:35 am
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Gabe replying to a comment from HUK / September 4, 2010 at 12:39 am
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You should just tell us HUK, instead of making BlogTo do a bunch of research just so you can tell them what they missed or what facts they got wrong. Really if you want to be that way, Toronto (the band) is lucky they got an article at all. I'm sure they appreciate it, you should too... tell us about the influence...
Dialog / September 4, 2010 at 01:05 am
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
Dialog / September 4, 2010 at 01:35 am
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I thought it was pretty cool that Crystal Castles covered Platinum Blonde's "Not In Love" on their most recent record. More CanCovers!
saltspring replying to a comment from JP / September 4, 2010 at 06:58 am
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Oh do I ever feel old....

"Q107...if you think this is too loud, then you're gettin' too old!"
Chris / September 4, 2010 at 09:06 am
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I bought a best of CD of theirs and it came with movie file of three of their videos. I used "When Can I See You Again" to test the movie playing software I've being working on. As proof that the player was working I posted pictures of the band on a message board last week. It was an international board so I had to explain who they were. Great band.
Posicionamiento / September 28, 2010 at 01:00 pm
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Hola, estoy dando servicios de Seo, somos expertos en el tema

[url=http://www.metamercadeo.net/?page_id=8]Posicionamiento web[/url]
Bruce Hale / November 15, 2010 at 02:41 am
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Toronto was a great Canadian band.
People can call them whatever they want but
Toronto made some great songs and I still crank their
tunes up in my car when I'm driving around.
The sad part is that when Toronto's record label
Solid Gold Records, went into receivership in late 1984
the band broke up and signed their rights away so they
don't get any royalties for the hard work they did
in to 80's. As a matter of fact even though Holly Woods &
Scott Kreyer went on to make another lp called Toronto
& Holly Woods " Assault & Flattery " they were shot down by the distributor CBS records and had most of the lp's recalled
from store shelves, destroyed and had their cross Canada tour
canceled. Holly & Scott went on to make another album but
hit more bad times when the producer working with them at the time passed away. It was not till 2007 that those songs written back in 1985 came to light on Holly's new cd
entitled " Live It Up " which was released on the Cyclone Records label in 2007.

Rock on Holly & long live the memory and music of Toronto.

Bruce Hale.

Toronto.Canada.

bruce1965 @bell.net
Cavan Kelly replying to a comment from K. Alton / November 28, 2010 at 07:22 pm
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I am trying to locate Sheron Alton. Ultimately, I would like to contact her mother, Colleen.

Colleen and my own mother were best friends and instructors at the Robert Morgan Dance Studio. Colleen was the matron-of-honour and Sheron was the flower girl at my parents' wedding. I have photos to prove this.

If anyone here (especially K. Alton) has contact with Sheron and could pass on this message with my contact info, I would very much appreciate it.

Cavan Kelly
(cavan) (at) (jckelly) (dot) (com)
Cavan Kelly replying to a comment from K. Alton / November 28, 2010 at 07:28 pm
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I am trying to locate Sheron Alton. Ultimately, I would like to contact her mother, Colleen.

Colleen and my own mother were best friends and instructors at the Robert Morgan Dance Studio. Colleen was the matron-of-honour and Sheron was the flower girl at my parents' wedding. I have photos to prove this.

If anyone here (especially K. Alton) has contact with Sheron and could pass on this message with my contact info, I would very much appreciate it.

Cavan Kelly
(cavan) (at) (jckelly) (dot) (com)
Liz / July 10, 2011 at 03:57 pm
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Can't wait to see TORONTO at the Rockpile on August 26th, 2011!
Shaun B / July 30, 2011 at 03:04 pm
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Brian and Sharon are my god parents! Long live the music of Toronto!!!!!
Bruce Hale replying to a comment from Shaun B / July 31, 2011 at 01:41 am
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Hey: Shaun B.

If you still have contact with Sheron, can you please say hi for me. Tell her I'm the fan who mailed her all the sealed Toronto albums several years ago. I would love to talk to Sheron again. Please pass my phone number on to her.
FOUR ONE SIX - FOUR TWO ONE - FOUR SEVEN ONE THREE.

Bruce.
tom / August 26, 2011 at 01:05 am
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Didn't the principle song writers of Toronto pen the Heart hit "What About Love"? They are playing in Cambridge Ont at the 515 Concert Club Sat Aug 27th.
barry / September 13, 2011 at 03:36 pm
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We, Holly Woods and TORONTO are back together with a FANTASTIC 'ALL STAR' band.

We play all the hits/favs and it is well worth seeing.
If you don't absolutely love it, coma and see me after the show...........
Darryl replying to a comment from Teena / January 27, 2013 at 12:48 am
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Making you feel old? You are old...and so am I...lol I never knew "what about love" was written by Toronto! Interesting...great band and great musicians/songwriters Toronto was.
Steph / February 19, 2014 at 03:48 pm
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Holly Woods and Sheron Alton made a shy girl from western Canada want to become a rockstar. Alas, I didn't but it was because of songs like 'Even The Score' and 'Your Daddy Don't Know' that I rocked out enough in my living room to ever be able to get up in front of a group of guys with guitars. Unfortunately, I never got to see them in the early 80's and even after moving to Toronto in the mid-80's I always seemed to just miss them. I'll never forget what an influence they had on me, I still own my vinyl copy of 'Head On'. Thanks to all of them for the time they spent making such great music. I'll never forget you.

'That good ol' spotlight's in my eyes again. I can't see past the second row. I know you're out there, I can feel you. I'm glad you all could make the show!'
Steph / February 19, 2014 at 03:52 pm
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Oh, and it was Sheron Alton who made me want to learn to play the guitar even before I knew about Joan Jett. (Never happened, teeny tiny hands...). But what a role model, Sheron was awesome!

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