Bob McBride

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Bob McBride
Born(1946-11-17)17 November 1946
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died20 February 1998(1998-02-20) (aged 51)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresRock, Jazz fusion, Soft Rock
Instrument(s)vocals, guitar
Years active1970–1992

Robert Bruce "Bob" McBride (17 November 1946 – 20 February 1998)[1] was a Canadian rock singer-songwriter. He is best known as lead vocalist for the Canadian band Lighthouse.

Early life and education[edit]

McBride was born in Toronto and graduated from North Toronto Collegiate Institute.[2]

Career[edit]

As a young man, McBride was part of Ronnie Hawkins' backup band for several years.[3] He joined the band Lighthouse in 1970, replacing original singer Pinky Dauvin.[4] His voice contributed to successful Lighthouse songs such as "Hats Off (To The Stranger)", "1849" and "One Fine Morning".[2][5][6] He also won a 1973 Juno Award in the Outstanding Male Performance category[7][8] and was nominated for 1974 Juno's in the Best Male Vocalist category, and as Male Vocalist of the Year.[9]

In October 1972, while still a member of Lighthouse, McBride embarked on a solo career, signing a record deal with Capitol and releasing his debut album Butterfly Days. The album was both a critical and commercial success, going gold in Canada (selling over 50,000 copies) and spawning the hit singles "Pretty City Lady", "Treasure Song", and the title track.

In summer 1973, McBride officially parted ways with the band, some of whom were upset after he failed to appear for a New York recording session for the album Can You Feel It. Fellow member Skip Prokop sang the band's hit song "Pretty Lady" in his place, although Prokop said in an interview that McBride "could have done it bigger and better".[1] It was reported in a 1998 Toronto Sun article that McBride was fired after a suicide attempt.[2]

McBride continued his solo career, releasing the album Sea of Dreams in 1973. Although it was another critical success, the album was a commercial disappointment to Capitol and he was dropped from the label soon after. With the exception of some live dates around Southern Ontario with a backup band named "Magic", he all but disappeared from the music scene for a few years.[10]

In 1976, McBride was allegedly approached to become the lead singer of Blood, Sweat & Tears, replacing David Clayton-Thomas. A few months later this was dismissed by Thomas' manager, Fred Heller, stating that this claim was "completely unfounded" and "Blood, Sweat & Tears with lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas will perform with him fronting the band. Thomas also did all the lead vocals on the band's new album."[11][12]

In 1978, McBride had a cocaine overdose.[2] After landing a new recording deal with London Records, he returned to the studio that same year with a different backup band he dubbed "Expedition". The result was his self-titled album, which produced a handful of singles and yielded a minor hit with "Wild Eyes". McBride set out on the road and a series of dates throughout central Canada ensued into the following spring.[13]

He returned with Here to Sing in the fall of 1979, with famed producer Jack Richardson. It generated more singles, and although the music's maturity was heralded by critics, none of the singles made the Top 40.

He reunited with many Lighthouse alumni in September, 1982 for a weekend of four concerts at Ontario Place, which drew 33,000 people; at the end of the weekend the musicians went their separate ways.

The band got together again in 1992 with a ten-member line-up, which included the founding members Prokop, Hoffert and Cole, with McBride on vocals. McBride had been addicted to heroin for over a decade, and the drug problems resulted in poor performances and erratic behaviour; by the end of the year he was once again gone from the band.

Legal troubles[edit]

In 1994, McBride was sentenced to 90 days in prison after he robbed an Ottawa drugstore twice for morphine. As part of his sentence, he organized two benefit concerts to raise awareness of the dangers of drugs.[14] In 1996, he was charged with a 1992 jewelry theft. A 1996 trial was postponed due to his ill health. It continued in December 1997, a mistrial was declared, and McBride was scheduled to return to court in March 1998, but never returned due to his death in February 1998.[2]

Illness and death[edit]

After his departure from Lighthouse, McBride succumbed to a number of illnesses, including diabetes and Hepatitis B, resulting from his years of substance abuse. He also received head injuries during a robbery at his parents' residence in 1996.[1] He died in February 1998 at North York General Hospital in Toronto after heart failure[2][3] and is buried at Westminster Memorial Gardens in Toronto.


Later in his life, McBride was married to Janice Fobert-Seaton, who died in 2003.[15] one son was raised by them

Albums[edit]

Year Album Album details Peak chart positions
CAN
[16]
1972 Butterfly Days
  • Released: October 1972 (Canada) / February 1973 (US)
  • Label: Capitol/EMI
59
1973 Sea of Dreams
  • Released: August 1973
  • Label: Capitol/EMI
1978 Bob McBride
1979 Here to Sing
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: MCA
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Singles[edit]

Year Name Peak chart positions Album
CAN CAN AC CANCON
1973 "Pretty City Lady" 16 12 17 Butterfly Days
"Butterfly Days" 77 94
"Treasure Song" 39 30 x
1974 "Do It Right" 48 88 Sea of Dreams
"Sea of Dreams"
1976 "Seasons" / "Doin' It" (exclusive 45 only release) Non-album single
1978 "Wild Eyes" 47 Bob McBride
"Hold On" / "Dancing 'Til Dawn"
"Roaring Twenties Queen"
1979 "Sail On Sailor (Through The Night)" / "White Sands" Here to Sing
"My World Is Empty Without You"
"Love Is A Four Letter Word"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.
"x" denotes a recording that was not published in given chart.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Macgowan, James (11 March 1998). "Lives Lived: Robert Bruce McBride". The Globe and Mail. p. A16.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Grant, Kieran (24 February 1998). "Singer lived tragic life". Jam!/Canoe. Archived from the original on 22 October 2000.
  3. ^ a b Nick Talevski. Rock Obituaries: Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus; 7 April 2010. ISBN 978-0-85712-117-2. p. 404–.
  4. ^ "Lighthouse (bio)". Jam!/Canoe. 5 December 2004. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  5. ^ "Lighthouse Sunny Days Again: The Best of Lighthouse". AllMusic, Review by Mike DeGagne
  6. ^ "Lighthouse: One Fine Legacy". September/October 2014 Odeum Magazine.
  7. ^ Nicholas Jennings. "Lighthouse co-founder Skip Prokop made rock history". The Globe and Mail, September 8, 2017
  8. ^ This Year's Winners. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 7 April 1973. pp. 56–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  9. ^ Juno Award Nominations Listed. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 9 March 1974. p. 54. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. ^ Bob McBride and Magic
  11. ^ Blood, Sweat & Tears Approach Information
  12. ^ Blood, Sweat & Tears Dismissal Information
  13. ^ Bob McBride Memorial
  14. ^ "Saturday in Broadcast History .. June the 3rd". Puget Sound Radio, June 2, 2017.
  15. ^ "CornwallRoots.info". Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Search: RPM". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 April 2019.