Christopher Ward (songwriter)

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Christopher Ward
Birth nameChristopher William Ward
Born (1949-07-28) 28 July 1949 (age 74)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Piano
  • guitar

Christopher William Ward (born 28 July 1949) is a Canadian songwriter and broadcaster, known as a former long-standing on-air personality at MuchMusic, Canada's music video network, where he and J. D. Roberts were among the first video jockeys in 1984. Ward was a judge on The Next Star which was a Canadian reality television show on YTV.

Early career[edit]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Ward began his music career in the early 1970s while attending Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario where he was a member of the school's campus radio station.[1]


Some of Ward's early television appearances began in 1978 on the CBC children's series Catch Up, as leader of the show's band.[2] He also played a minor role as a musician in an episode of The Kids of Degrassi Street alongside Alannah Myles in 1984.[2]

Before MuchMusic launched, Ward hosted a weekend, all-night video program called City Limits on CITY-TV in Toronto.[2] On Friday and Saturdays, from midnight to 6 a.m., Ward broke ground as Canada's first "veejay".[3] The show was broadcast from CITY-TV's old Queen Street East studios and apart from playing the latest music videos, hosted guests. Bands such as Bon Jovi and actors like Mike Myers—playing his Wayne's World character[4] long before Saturday Night Live made it famous—added to the prototype of what MuchMusic would become.[3] The show also had "video clip" contest segments which gave winners prizes to special events like movie debuts.[citation needed] Broadcast only in the Toronto region, it was a major way music videos were introduced to the Southern Ontario public.[citation needed] (MTV, the American television network, was not broadcast in Canada due to regulatory laws protecting Canadian content until 2006.) When the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) granted a broadcast licence for an all-music channel to begin in 1984, CHUM-CITY won the lucrative rights. The application process to the Commission included Ward's current show as evidence of experience in broadcasting music video entertainment.[citation needed]

During five years on MuchMusic, Ward interviewed artists like Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel, Leonard Cohen, and Kate Bush.[citation needed] While with the network, he hosted another show titled City Limits that spotlighted alternative music.[citation needed] Even after his departure from MuchMusic in the late 1980s, he was still involved in the channel off-and-on, most notably as Charles de Camembert, host of the annual Fromage specials.[citation needed]

In 2008, Ward became a judge on YTV's The Next Star for its first four seasons until 2011.[5]


Ward has written many songs for artists such as Hilary Duff, Diana Ross, Backstreet Boys, Wynonna Judd, Amanda Marshall, Tina Arena, Peter Cetera, Anne Murray and Meredith Brooks.[6] His best-known song is the Billboard number one single "Black Velvet",[7][8] recorded by Alannah Myles. "Black Velvet" was named the No. 49 song in Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Singles.[5] Ward has released several of his own recordings, including the singles "Once in a Longtime" (1977) and "Maybe Your Heart" (1978) (both co-written with his longtime friend Stephen Stohn, executive producer of Degrassi: The Next Generation and Instant Star) and "Boys and Girls" (1987).[citation needed] The music video for "Boys and Girls" featured Alannah Myles, and Mike Myers in an early version of his "Wayne Campbell" character.[citation needed]

The promotional tour for Time Stands Still (released on House of Lords Records/distributed by WEA) included David Wipper on guitar and Billy Idol bassist Steven Webster, and featured pianist Antonio Salci on keyboards.[9][better source needed]

Starting in 1997, Ward became a member of Ming Tea, the tongue-in-cheek celebrity rock band assembled by fellow Canadian Mike Myers for the first and third Austin Powers films. Group members included Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet and performed the faux-sixties songs "BBC" and "Daddy Wasn't There".[citation needed]

Recent work (much of it in collaboration with Rob Wells Luke McMaster, Greg Johnston and Fred St-Gelais)[citation needed] includes songs for Alexz Johnson in the TV series Instant Star, with soundtrack albums for the four seasons of the show.[citation needed] Along with Rob Wells and Fred St-Gelais, he has worked with Lindsay Robins.[citation needed] Ward songs were featured on two Degrassi - The Next Generation projects, Degrassi Takes Manhattan and Degrassi Goes Hollywood.[citation needed] His songs were featured in Cirque du Soleil's tribute to Vaudeville, 'Banana Shpeel'.[5]




Year Album
1975 CBC Broadcast Recording - 4 Songs
1978 Spark of Desire
1981 Time Stands Still
1987 Christopher Ward (EP)[10]


Year Single Chart Positions Album
1976 "Lost in a Love Song"[11] 9[12] 69 10 Spark of Desire
1977 "Once in a Long Time" 19 38
1978 "Maybe Your Heart" 17 47
"Imagine a Song" 16 96
"No Time to Cry" 26 74
1981 "So Long Baby Jane" 17 Time Stands Still

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Christopher Ward Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Graham, Sandy (6 March 2014). "Proudly Canadian: Christopher Ward". Cashbox Magazine Canada. Cashbox Canada. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Interview of Chris Ward by Donald Fraser, The Trent Talks on Trent University Radio, broadcast July 6, 2015.
  4. ^ Ward, Christopher (2016). Is This Live?: Inside the Wild Early Years of Muchmusic: the Nation's Music Station. Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada. p. 6. ISBN 9780345810342.
  5. ^ a b c "Biography: Christopher Ward, songwriter". Canadian Film Centre. 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Artist: Ward, Christopher Biography". Jam!. 28 November 2004. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ ""Black Velvet" (music) : piano, vocal, guitar / words and music by Christopher Ward and David Tyson", Collections Canada, Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada, OCLC 262437702, AMICUS No. 21681114, retrieved 23 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Song Details (Song Number: 845394)". CMRRA. Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  9. ^ "". Antonio Salci. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  10. ^ ""Christopher Ward" (sound recording)", Collections Canada, Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada, OCLC 26765984, AMICUS No. 7463456, retrieved 23 April 2011.
  11. ^ ""Lost in a love song" (sound recording) ; "Play one for your mother" / Christopher Ward", Collections Canada, Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada, OCLC 666198012, AMICUS No. 37942546, retrieved 23 April 2011.
  12. ^ RPM (magazine) (31 March 2004). "Adult Contemporary - Volume 25, No. 3, April 17, 1976" (PDF). Collections Canada. (Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada). OCLC 352936026. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2011.

External links[edit]