Ken Tobias

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Ken Tobias
Ken Tobias.png
Ken Tobias in 1973
Background information
Birth name Kenneth Wayne Paul Tobias
Born Saint John, New Brunswick
Genres Folk, Rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1961–
Labels MGM, Attic
Associated acts The Bells

Kenneth Wayne Paul Tobias (born July 25, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. He is noted for penning the 1971 chart-topping hit for The Bells, "Stay Awhile", and for several top-selling recordings of his own.

Early career[edit]

Born and raised in Saint John, New Brunswick, Tobias worked as a draftsman in the early 1960s while also appearing as a musician at local venues in Saint John. He joined a folk group named the Ramblers in 1961, playing guitar, and he later played drums in a rock band called the Badd Cedes. He moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1965 and became a cast member for a local CBC Television show called Music Hop. He was a regular performer from 1966 to 1968 on the national variety program called Singalong Jubilee, which was also produced in Halifax. His duets with fellow cast-member and later recording star Anne Murray were well regarded. Also appearing on the show were such recognized performers as Gene MacLellan and John Allan Cameron. After three seasons in Halifax and Montreal, in 1968, Tobias met Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers who invited him to Los Angeles to record and write as a salaried songwriter. Under the management of Medley's company, Tobias recorded his first single "You’re Not Even Going to the Fair" on Bell Records; like many of his early releases it was credited just to "Tobias".[1] The song won him his first Canadian BMI award for airplay. This was the first of many BMI, Procan and SOCAN awards.

In 1970, he penned "Stay Awhile". Though originally conceived as a country-tinged solo piece, the song would emerge as a sensual duet by The Bells and became a soft rock classic of the early 1970s, peaking in 1971 at #1 in Canada and #7 on the US Billboard charts. "Stay Awhile" sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Solo artist[edit]

After travelling back and forth between Los Angeles and Montreal, in 1972, Tobias settled in Toronto where he played as a backing musician with various bands. With his brother Tony Tobias, he established Glooscap Music and released several solo recordings that enjoyed extensive airplay in Canada, including "Fly Me High", and "Lady Luck". Ken Tobias is one of the few Canadians to receive the Socan Classics Award for 100,000 airplays of a given song, of which he has five awards, for "Stay Awhile", "I Just Want to Make Music", "Every Bit of Love", "Give a Little Love" and "Dream #2". To date, Ken Tobias has released eight albums and one radio sampler on various record labels. He has also released about twenty singles.

In 1978, he toured Europe, and while there he collaborated on the soundtrack of the Italian spaghetti western Sella d'Argento (Silver Saddle/They Died with Their Boots On), directed by Lucio Fulci.

Recent career[edit]

Tobias lived in Toronto through the 1990s before returning to his native Saint John, where he now lives, painting and continuing to write and perform music, and encouraging younger talents through the Songwriters Association of Canada. In 2002, he produced the debut album for upcoming Canadian artist Kim Jarrett. He has also collaborated with local Saint John artist Jessica Rhaye.[2]

After more than 20 years, production of a new album began in the fall of 2007, tentatively titled "Prince Edward Street".


  • Dream #2 (1972), MGM/Verve
  • Siren Spell (1976), Attic
  • The Magic's in the Music (1973), MGM
  • Every Bit of Love (1975), Attic
  • Street Ballet (1977), Attic
  • The Ken Tobias Collection - So Far... So Good (1978) Attic
  • Gallery (1984), CBC Enterprises
  • Ken Tobias – Friends (Children’s album, 1984) Kiddin' Round Records


  • "You're Not Even Going to the Fair" (Bell, 1969) (#78 CAN)
  • "Now I'm in Love" (1971) (#82 CAN)
  • "I'd Like to Know" (1971)
  • "Dream #2" (MGM/Verve 1972) (#23 CAN)
  • "I Just Want to Make Music" (1973) (#9 CAN)
  • "Fly Me High" (1973) (#24 CAN)
  • "On the Other Side" (1974)
  • "Lover Come Quickly" (1974)
  • "Lady Luck" (1975) (#31 CAN)
  • "Run Away with Me" (1975) (#52 CAN)
  • "Every Bit of Love" (1975) (#17 CAN)
  • "Give a Little Love" (1976) (#21 CAN)
  • "Oh Lynda" (1976)
  • "Lovin' Fever" (1976)
  • "Dancer" (1977) (#53 CAN)
  • "Lovelight" (1977) (#54 CAN)
  • "I Don't Want to Be Alone" (1978) (#80 CAN)
  • "New York City" (1978) (#88 CAN)
  • "Here You Are Today" (1983)


Further reading[edit]

  • Dave Bidini, On a Cold Road: Tales of Adventure in Canadian Rock (1998) Toronto: McClelland & Stewart

External links[edit]