Lighthouse (band)

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Lighthouse
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresRock, jazz rock
Years active1968–1974
1975
1976
1978–1979
1980
1982
1992–present[1]
LabelsRCA, GRT, Evolution, Vertigo, Polydor, Janus, Denon, Universal
Websitewww.lighthouserockson.com

Lighthouse is a Canadian rock band formed in 1968 in Toronto, Ontario. Their sound included horns, string instruments, and vibraphone; their music reflected elements of rock music, jazz, classical music, and swing. They won Juno Awards for Best Canadian Group of the Year in 1972, 1973,[2] and 1974.

Band history[edit]

Lighthouse was formed in 1968 in Toronto by vocalist/drummer Skip Prokop (formerly of the Paupers) and keyboardist Paul Hoffert.[3] The two met on a flight from New York City to Toronto, and discussed forming a band structured around a rock rhythm section, jazz horn section, and classical string section. Prokop had admired Ralph Cole's playing when they shared the bill at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, so he invited him to Toronto to be the band's guitarist. Prokop and Hoffert assembled the rest of the group from friends, studio session musicians, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra members, and proceeded to make a demo recording.

Prokop and Hoffert took the demo to MGM Records in New York, who signed the band. Two days later they had a manager, Vinnie Fusco, from Albert Grossman's office, who overturned the MGM contract and made a deal with RCA Victor.

Lighthouse made its performing debut on May 14, 1969, at the Rock Pile in Toronto, introduced by Duke Ellington with the words, "I'm beginning to see the Light...house".[4] The band originally consisted of 13 members:

One of the first Lighthouse concerts was at Carnegie Hall, and in its first year the band also played at Fillmore East, Fillmore West, Toronto, Boston, the Atlantic City Pop Festival, and the Monterey and Newport Jazz Festivals. A free concert at Toronto City Hall in the summer of 1969 drew a reported crowd of 25,000.[5] Their first album, Lighthouse, was released in 1969 by RCA from RCA's Toronto Eastern Sound Studio. It features "If There Ever Was a Time", which was a minor hit on CHUM 1050.

Their next album, Suite Feeling, was also released in 1969 at Toronto Eastern Sound Studio. It features two cover songs: The Band's "Chest Fever" and The Beatles' "A Day In The Life", along with the minor hit "Feel So Good". Lighthouse was invited to perform at Woodstock that year, but turned it down. Their third and final album for RCA was also the last one for original lead singer Pinky Dauvin. The album Peacing It All Together was recorded in RCA's Music Centre of the World Hollywood Studios. It includes the band's first nation wide Top 40 hit, "The Chant".

In the summer of 1970, Lighthouse represented Canada and Ontario at Expo '70 in Japan. The band appeared at the Strawberry Fields Festival in August 1970, followed by the Isle of Wight Festival where they performed two nights, along with The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Chicago, Miles Davis, and The Who.

At the end of 1970, Lighthouse moved to the record label Evolution (US)/GRT (Canada) and Toronto's Thunder Sound Studios. There were some lineup changes; the band dropped from thirteen musicians to eleven, including five original members (Prokop, Hoffert, Cole, Dinovo, and Shore), and Bob McBride became the band's new lead singer.[3]

In mid-1971, Lighthouse released One Fine Morning, and Thoughts of Movin' On later that year on Evolution/GRT. The title track from One Fine Morning was a hit in Canada, peaking at #2 on Canada's Singles Chart.[3][6] The song was also an international and American hit, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,[7] with both albums 'going gold' in Canada.[8] It was preceded on the Canadian charts by "Hats Off to the Stranger" (#9). That year the band performed at the anniversary celebration concert in the city of Hamilton.[9]

In between recording albums and touring 300 days a year, the band was involved in the first performances by a rock band with symphony orchestras, a collaboration with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet company, Ballet High, which toured across Canada,[10] and a CBC production of Prometheus Bound with actress Irene Worth.

During this period of recording from 1970 to 1972 with Evolution/GRT, RCA Records released a double album best-of in 1972 consisting of selections from the first three records recorded with RCA entitled One Fine Light.

Lighthouse Live! was recorded live at Carnegie Hall in February 1972 and released on Evolution/GRT. This was the first time a Canadian album qualified for platinum status. The band came back later that year with another gold album, Sunny Days, on Evolution/GRT. The title song became the band's second Top 5 Canadian hit single and second Hot 100 Top 40 single, peaking at #34 on 9 December 1972. Hoffert, tired of life on the road, left the band in 1973 but continued as the band's executive producer. Bob McBride failed to appear at the Record Plant in New York for the recording of their next album, Can You Feel It, and was fired. Prokop and Cole wanted to scrap the sessions but producer Jimmy Ienner insisted they continue. He decided that whoever wrote the song would sing it.[11] Evolution sold the band's recording contract to Polydor in the US, which reportedly cost the label "six figures". With the exception of "No More Searching", written and sung by new sax player Dale Hillary, Prokop and Cole sang all the vocals and harmonies on the album. The result was one of the band's biggest single releases, "Pretty Lady", which was a Top 10 Canadian hit and was their final Hot 100 hit in the US, reaching #53.

The band released Good Day, also on Polydor, in mid-September 1974. As with the previous album, the lead vocals were divided between Skip Prokop and Ralph Cole, but Prokop switched to guitar full-time and the drummer was Billy King. The album produced a minor hit with the title track, and contains "Wide-Eyed Lady", a song co-written by Bob McBride. At Thunder Sounds Recording Studios, the band began work on a new album, and had recorded several tracks when Prokop left the band. The album was never completed. Ralph Cole took the band out for another couple of tours with Doug Billard (formerly a member of Pepper Tree, Central Nervous System, and Five Sounds) as lead vocalist but in 1976 Lighthouse disbanded. Janus/GRT released Best of Lighthouse in January 1975 to capitalize on their past success. The album went gold in Canada. Ralph Cole toured as Lighthouse once again from 1978-1980 with a nearly completely new lineup consisting of only one other previous Lighthouse member, Dale Hillary.[12]

Prokop, Hoffert, Cole, and McBride reunited along with many of the Lighthouse alumni in September 1982 for a weekend of four large concerts at Ontario Place.[9] In 1989 Denon Records bought the rights to the Evolution/GRT recordings and released The Best of Lighthouse - Sunny Days Again (No U.S. Issue). The re-mix of the album was produced by Hoffert, Cole, Prokop, and McBride. In 1992 the band reunited with a ten-member line-up which included the founding members Prokop, Hoffert, and Cole with McBride on vocals. McBride was dismissed several months later.[citation needed] He was replaced by Dan Clancy. Three years later Breaking Records released Song of the Ages. The single, "Remember the Times", was a top-thirty hit in Canada. In 1998 the original master tapes of The Best of Lighthouse - Sunny Days Again were digitally re-mastered and released on CD by True North Records who also re-released Song of the Ages in 1999.

Recent activity[edit]

After Lighthouse disbanded in the '70s, many of the players continued with their musical careers while some went in different directions.

Paul Hoffert has continued his career as a film composer, winning a Genie Award in 1978 for his score for the cult-hit movie Outrageous!; headed up the Ontario Arts Council from 1994 to 1997; created and was the Director of CulTech from 1992 to 2000, a Research Centre at York University, and has written five books exploring the intersection of culture and technology. In 2004 he received the Order of Canada.

Prokop and Cole formed other bands with some success before hitting their stride in the advertising world and as record producers. Saxophonist Howard Shore became the music director for Saturday Night Live and began a career in film composition, emerging as one of Hollywood's most sought after composers. Shore won three Academy Awards for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Don DiNovo bought a church in Arthur, Ontario, and turned it into a recording studio. Dick Armin continued his work as a creator of electronic string instruments.

Russ Little has continued as a musician and composer. He can be heard on numerous releases including his own albums, Snapshot, Footwork, and On the Shoulders of Giants. He was voted Best Trombonist of 2007 by Canada's National Jazz Awards. John Naslen became a recording engineer (he engineered the 1994 Lighthouse "Song of the Ages" release). Grant Fullerton continues to perform with his own band.

Louie Yacknin opted out of music altogether and bought a tire installation company. Larry Smith moved to Israel and created a software company for language translation. Bob McBride became a top studio session singer and was heard on numerous commercials but he suffered from drug abuse and serious illness, and died February 20, 1998, of heart failure in Toronto. Arnie Chycoski, Don DiNovo, Keith Jollimore, Alan Wilmot, Dale Hillary, Freddie Stone, are all deceased.

Lighthouse has remained together since they reunited in 1992. Since that time they have recorded one new studio album, Song of the Ages, in 1996. The rhythm section for the ten-member group features the original founders, Prokop (drums), Hoffert (keyboards and vibraphone), and Cole (guitar) with Don Paulton (keyboard), Doug Moore (bass), and Dan Clancy (vocals). The horn section is made up of original member, trombonist Russ Little, Simon Wallis (saxophones and flute), Chris Howells (trumpet), and saxophonist Steve Kennedy who performed with the band at Ontario Place in 1982. Lighthouse continues to perform and create innovative works including a reunion concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra that was broadcast nationally, a tour of Brazil with an original multimedia stage show in collaboration with the Desrosiers Dance Theatre, and a series of concerts in which sections of the band performed in different locations across Toronto linked together by broadband cable. In 1995 Lighthouse was inducted into the Q107 Canadian Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Lighthouse songs have been used in films and covered by other artists including Three Dog Night, Shobha, and Carlos Santana. Rap artist Akon has sampled "I'd Be So Happy" and Japanese rock stars Theatre Brook perform "One Fine Morning" in their stage show.

For Lighthouse's 40th anniversary, Ole/Universal Records released 40 Years of Sunny Days, a retrospective of their biggest hits, featuring digitally remastered tracks, and a DVD of new performances recorded at Q Music in 5.1 Surround Sound.

On July 19, 2013, it was announced that the band would be appearing on the second annual Moody Blues Cruise in April, 2014 on the cruise ship MSC Ship Divina.

Skip Prokop died at the age of 73 on August 30, 2017 from heart complications. He was replaced by his son, Jamie Prokop.

The bands most recent compilation album, Icon, was released on August 10, 2018.

A 50th anniversary live album is planned and expected to be released before the end of 2019.

They continue to perform and tour extensively across Canada.

Band members[edit]

Horns[edit]

  • Paul Adamson
  • Sam Alongi
  • Joe Ambrosia
  • John Capon
  • Bruce Cassidy
  • Arnie Chycoski
  • Don Englert
  • Doug Gibson
  • Dale Hillary
  • Chris Howells
  • Keith Jollimore
  • Steve Kennedy
  • Russ Little
  • Mike Lucas
  • Mike Malone
  • John Naslen
  • Pete Pantaluk
  • Howard Shore
  • Larry E. Smith
  • Rick Stepton
  • Freddy Stone
  • Dave Tanner
  • Simon Wallis
  • Rick Waychesko
  • Thomas Brown

Strings[edit]

  • Donald Whitton
  • Dick Armin
  • Paul Armin
  • Don Dinovo
  • Ian Guenther
  • Myron Moskalyk
  • Taras Chornywal
  • John Ogilvie
  • Leslie Schneider
  • Howie Wiseman

Drums and percussion[edit]

  • John Dell
  • Billy King
  • Skip Prokop
  • Tom Wells
  • Ronny Schreff
  • Jamie Prokop
  • Michael Cervini
  • Gary Starling

Lead vocals[edit]

Bass[edit]

  • Grant Fullerton
  • Doug Moore
  • Dennis Pendrith
  • Terry Wilkins
  • Al Wilmot
  • Robert St. Clair Wilson
  • Gord Russell
  • Louie Yacknin

Keyboards[edit]

Guitar[edit]

  • Ralph Cole
  • Trevor Veitch
  • Fred Mandel
  • Skip Prokop (on Good Day)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work[13][14][15][16][17][18][19] Award Result
1970 RCA Best Overall Record Company Won
1971 Themselves Group of the Year Nominated
"One Fine Morning" Song of The Year Won
1972 Themselves Juno Award for Outstanding Performance of the Year – Group Won
GRT of Canada Ltd. Canadian Content Record Company of the Year Won
Bob McBride and Skip Prokop with "I Just Wanna Be Your Friend" BMI Canada Limited Certificate of Honor Won
Ralph Cole, Keith Jollimore, and Larry Smith with "Take It Slow (Out In The Country)" BMI Canada Limited Certificate of Honor Won
"Take It Slow (Out In The Country)" Moffat Award for Best Record Won
1973 Themselves Vocal Instrumental Group of the Year Won
Bob McBride Outstanding Performance - Male Won
Bob McBride with "Pretty City Lady" BMI Canada Limited Certificate of Honor Won
Skip Prokop with "Sunny Days" BMI Canada Limited Certificate of Honor Won
Skip Prokop with "You Girl" BMI Canada Limited Certificate of Honor Won
Bob McBride Billboard Country Genre Program Director of The Year Nominated
1974 Themselves Group of the Year Won
Skip Prokop with "Pretty Lady" Canadian Composer of The Year Nominated
Bob McBride Best Male Vocalist Nominated
GRT of Canada Ltd. Canadian Content Record Company of the Year Won
GRT of Canada Ltd. Canadian Record Company of the Year In Promotional Activities Nominated
GRT of Canada Ltd. Canadian Record Company of the Year (Manufacturer and Distributor) Nominated
Skip Prokop with "Pretty Lady" Canadian Contemporary Single of The Year Nominated
Can You Feel It Canadian Contemporary Album of the Year Nominated
"Pretty Lady" Billboard Talent in Action Award for Best Vocal and Instrumental Group Won
Bob McBride Billboard Talent in Action Award for Best Vocalist with Group Won
Skip Prokop with "Pretty Lady" BMI Canada Limited Certificate of Honor Won
Bob McBride with "Do It Right" BMI Canada Limited Certificate of Honor Won
1975 Themselves Group of the Year Nominated

Discography[edit]

Studio/live/compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Canada RPM US Top 200 US Cash Box US Record World Certifications[20]
1969 Lighthouse - - - - CAN: Gold
Suite Feeling - - - - CAN: Gold
1970 Peacing It All Together 73 133 unk 104 CAN: Gold
1971 One Fine Morning 14 80 48 58 CAN: Platinum
Thoughts of Movin' On 11 157 75 89 CAN: Platinum
One Fine Light (Double Best Of) No Issue - - -
1972 Lighthouse Live! 8 178 122 122 CAN: Platinum
Sunny Days 7 190 165 140 CAN: Gold
1973 Can You Feel It 8 - 145 - CAN: Gold
1974 Good Day 40    23[A] - - CAN: Gold
1975 Best of Lighthouse 56 - - - CAN: Gold
1978 K-Tel presents Lighthouse - 20 Great Hits - - - -
1989 Sunny Days Again: The Best of Lighthouse 80 No Issue
1991 Lighthouse Live! (CD re-release) - - - -
1994 Festival 94 (EP) - - - -
1996 Song of the Ages[21] - - - -
1998 Sunny Days Again: The Best of Lighthouse (CD re-release) - - - -
Lighthouse Live! (re-release) - - - -
1999 Song of the Ages (re-release) - - - -
2009 40 Years of Sunny Days - - - - CAN: Gold
2010 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lighthouse - - - - CAN: Gold
2018 Lighthouse Icon Series - - - -
2019 Lighthouse 50th Anniversary Live in Concert (TBA) To be released.

Singles[edit]

Year Song Canada
RPM 100
Canada
RPM AC
US BB US CB US AC Certifications Album
1969 "If There Ever Was A Time" - - - - - Lighthouse
"Chest Fever" France Only Suite Feeling
"Could You Be Concerned?" - - - - -
"Feel So Good" 55 - - - -
1970 "The Fiction Of Twenty-Six Million" Promo Only Peacing It All Together
"The Chant" 39 30 - - -
1971 "Hats Off (To The Stranger)" 9 - - - - CAN: Gold One Fine Morning
"One Fine Morning" 2 - 24 16 30 CAN: Platinum / US: Gold
"Take It Slow (Out In The Country)" 12 - 64 63 - CAN: Gold Thoughts of Movin' On
1972 "I Just Wanna Be Your Friend" 54 - 93 - -
"I'd Be So Happy" 32 - - - -
"One Fine Morning"/"Hats Off (To The Stranger)" Europe Only One Fine Morning
"Sunny Days" 4 11 34 37 - CAN: Platinum Sunny Days
1973 "You Girl" 17 -    114[B] 107 -
"Broken Guitar Blues" 34 - - - -
"Pretty Lady" [C] 9 - 53 31 38 CAN: Gold Can You Feel It
1974 "Can You Feel It?" 19 - - - -
"Magic's In The Dancing" - - - - -
"Good Day"    66[D] - - - - Good Day
"Eight Miles High"[E] - - - - - Best of Lighthouse/Good Day
1975 "One Fine Morning"/"Sunny Days" - - - - - Best of Lighthouse
1978 "One Fine Morning"/"Sunny Days" (re-issue) - - - - - One Fine Morning/Sunny Days
1996 "Remember The Times" - 22 - - - Song of the Ages
2017 "Tower of Song" - - - - - Non-album single
Notes[22][23][24][25][26]
  1. ^ Good Day did not enter the Billboard Top 200, but peaked at number 23 on Billboard's FM Action airplay chart.
  2. ^ You Girl did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 114 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
  3. ^ Pretty Lady made number one in Hawaii for 6 consecutive weeks.
  4. ^ Available RPM magazine chart data for Good Day is incomplete and peak position was likely higher.
  5. ^ Eight Miles High, taken from the band's Best of Lighthouse LP, was released as a single in November 1974. It was not included on Good Day, however the B-side, Got a Feeling, was included on Good Day.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lighthouse | The Canadian Encyclopedia". Thecanadianencyclopedia.ca.
  2. ^ This Year's Winners. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 7 April 1973. pp. 56–.
  3. ^ a b c Panontin, Michael. "Lighthouse : One Fine Morning". Canuckistanmusic.com. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Lighthouse shines as rock meets the classics," Toronto Star, May 26, 1969, p. 29.
  5. ^ "The Lighthouse is making it big by staying home", Toronto Star, February 7, 1970, p. 37.
  6. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 16, No. 12, November 06 1971". RPM. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  7. ^ "Lighthouse - Chart history - Billboard". Billboard.com. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  8. ^ Niester, Alan (11 November 1971). "One Fine Morning - Lighthouse (review)". Superseventies.com. Rolling Stone.
  9. ^ a b Ritchie York (17 July 1971). From the Music Capitals of the World. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 47–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. ^ "Lighthouse in Rock Ballet", Billboard, 29 Aug 1970
  11. ^ "Sunny Days Again: An Interview With Skip Prokop of Lighthouse". Archived from the original on 2015-09-11. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  12. ^ "johnkatsmc5: Lighthouse "Good Day" 1974 Canada Jazz Rock,Prog,Psych". August 11, 2016.
  13. ^ "Billboard 1974 Juno Award Nominees" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Billboard Talent in Action Awards" (PDF).
  15. ^ "1973 Certificates of Honor" (PDF).
  16. ^ "1972 Certificates of Honor" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Billboard Talent in Action Awards" (PDF).
  18. ^ "1973 Billboard Program Director of The Year Nominations" (PDF).
  19. ^ "1974 Certificates of Honor" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Canadian Bands.com - Lighthouse". Canadianbands.com.
  21. ^ "Song of the Ages". Lighthouse Rocks On. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  22. ^ "US Hot 100 Bubbling Under". Top40Weekly.com.
  23. ^ "Lighthouse - Eight Miles High". 45cat.com.
  24. ^ "Cash Box Magazine International News November 16, 1974" (PDF).
  25. ^ ""Eight Miles High" Single Information" (PDF).
  26. ^ Good Day Billboard FM Action Peak Position

External links[edit]