|Also known as||Canada's party band|
|Labels||MCA, RCA, Great Pacific Records|
|Past members||Ra McGuire|
Trooper is a Canadian rock band formed by vocalist Ra McGuire and guitarist Brian Smith in 1975. The group is best known for its hits "Raise a Little Hell", "We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)", "The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car", "General Hand Grenade", "3 Dressed Up as a 9", "Janine", "Two for the Show", "Oh, Pretty Lady" and "Santa Maria".
Winter's Green, Applejack, and the 1970s
In 1967, Ra McGuire and Brian Smith played in a band called Winter's Green, which recorded two songs, "Are You a Monkey" and "Jump in the River Blues", on the Rumble Records Label. "Are You a Monkey" later appeared on a rock collection: 1983's "The History of Vancouver Rock and Roll, Vol. 3".
In the early seventies, Winter's Green changed their name to Applejack and added drummer Tommy Stewart and bassist Harry Kalensky to their line-up. Applejack became a very popular band in the Vancouver area, and began touring extensively in British Columbia. The band played a few original tunes such as "Raise a Little Hell" and "Oh, Pretty Lady", as well as Top 40 songs by artists such as Neil Young and Chicago.
After hearing Applejack perform, Randy Bachman of Bachman–Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who signed the band to his "Legend" label. The band changed their name to Trooper, and Bachman produced the band's self-titled debut album, Trooper, which contained the Canadian hits "Baby Woncha Please Come Home" and "General Hand Grenade". Managed by Sam Feldman, Trooper began touring extensively in both Canada and the United States.
After moving from Legend Records to MCA Records, Trooper added Frank Ludwig on keyboards. Their 1975 debut album was followed by Two for the Show in 1976, which was certified Gold in Canada. The album contained the hits "Two for the Show", and "Santa Maria". The latter of the two hits was inspired from a trip by boat to Tugwell Island, near Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
Bassist Harry Kalensky was replaced by Doni Underhill before the recording of Trooper's third studio album. Knock 'Em Dead Kid, was released in 1977 and became the group's first Canadian Platinum record. This album contained the hits "We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)", and "Oh, Pretty Lady".
In 1978, Thick as Thieves went double-platinum and featured the group's only successful U.S. single, "Raise A Little Hell". This album also contained the hits "Round, Round We Go" and "The Moment That It Takes", both of which were sung by keyboardist Frank Ludwig.
The band's 1979 album, Hot Shots, broke all records for Canadian sales of a Canadian album, reaching Quadruple-Platinum status. Hot Shots was a greatest hits album containing remixes of all of the most popular songs from Trooper's first four studio albums. "The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car" (originally released on Two for the Show in 1976), became a hit single upon the release of Hot Shots.
Trooper's fifth studio album, Flying Colors, was released in 1979, and contained the hits "Three Dressed Up as a Nine", and the band's highest-charting single to date, "Janine", which pushed the album to attain Double-Platinum status.
In April 1980, Trooper was honoured with a Juno Award for "Group of the Year". Two of their albums (Hot Shots and Flying Colors, both released in 1979) were also nominated that year for "Album of the Year".
In 1980, Trooper severed their artist–producer relationship with Randy Bachman.
Also in 1980, Frank Ludwig was replaced by Rob Deans, who performed on the next two albums: Trooper's self-produced seventh album Untitled, released in October 1980, and Money Talks which was released in 1982 and produced by Heart producer Mike Flicker and released on the RCA Label.
In 1986, Trooper was without a permanent keyboardist, and Frank Ludwig re-joined the band as a temporary replacement on their summer tour.
The Last of the Gypsies was released in 1989 on the band's self-owned Great Pacific Records label and distributed by Warner Music Canada. This was Trooper's first studio album in six years, and was certified Canadian Gold. It appeared on the RPM Top 100 Albums chart that year. It contained the hits "Boy With the Beat", and "The Best Way (to Hold A Man)".
Ten, released in 1991, contained the regional hit "American Dream", and was the group's tenth studio album. Drummer John Stoltz played with the band from 1990 to 1995, when Lance Chalmers took his place and played with the band for eight years. In 1995, Gogo replaced Blaine Smith, becoming Trooper's keyboardist and in 1996, bassist Scott Brown joined the band. Both Gogo and Brown continue to tour and perform with Trooper today.
At the 1999 SOCAN Awards, Trooper received SOCAN Classic Awards for "We're Here for a Good Time" and "Santa Maria", presented for songs that have received over 100,000 documented radio plays, becoming deeply embedded in the fabric of Canadian radio and culture. Ra McGuire also received a Classic Award for the Trooper hit "Two for the Show".
In 2001, Shot Spots, a punk tribute to Trooper, was released on Visionary Records. It contains 30 Trooper songs performed by 30 Canadian punk bands (D.O.A., SNFU, Dirty Bird, Dayglo Abortions and others) and an introduction by Canadian comedian Rick Mercer. As detailed in a four-page 2004 photo essay by Todd Korol in Maclean's Magazine and a two-page 2005 story in The Globe and Mail by Peter Cheney, Trooper is still very active and popular as a touring band, performing as many as 100 shows a year across Canada.
In Fall 2006, drummer Clayton Hill joined the band, and continues to tour and perform with Trooper today.
2010 saw Trooper celebrating their 35th Anniversary – starting with their performance at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Victory Ceremony on February 21, which was broadcast across Canada and the world on networks such as CTV and MuchMusic, and ending with their performance on November 28 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton for the 98th Grey Cup, with shows throughout the year and coast to coast, many which broke attendance records.
Trooper's first official compilation album Hits From 10 Albums was released on July 1, 2010. The totally updated and re-mastered collection featured songs spanning the entirety of their recording career. John Kereiff of Gonzo Magazine called it "THE summer album of 2010." Universal Music's official Press Release named Trooper as "one of Canada's top five selling bands of all time".
On August 11, 2010, the members of Trooper enjoyed a private tour of the Gatineau Preservation Centre to see where Library and Archives Canada houses its collected Trooper archives. The Trooper archives consist of 401 photographs and a stack of textual records such as financial records, which McGuire and Smith donated in 2004, hoping to provide some insight to the Canadian music industry of the '70s and '80s. McGuire, "now 60, bald, and bespectacled" had a chance to laugh when he read aloud from an old Toronto Sun clipping among the collection which described McGuire as "a new teen idol." The band later made another donation to the archive, including some of their early demo recordings, lyrics sheets, and master tapes.
In 2012, Ra McGuire and Brian Smith were presented with the SOCAN National Achievement Award, which is presented to members who have had outstanding success, predominantly in the Canadian music industry, over the span of their career. They also received three SOCAN Classic Awards for "Raise a Little Hell", "General Hand Grenade", and "Janine".
In November 2021, founding members Ra McGuire and Brian Smith announced their retirement. With Smith and McGuire's encouragement and blessing, Trooper continues to perform with Gogo, Scott Brown, and Clayton Hill, the longest running members of the band. Longtime Trooper guitar tech Steve Crane takes the lead guitar position, and well-known west coast singer David Steele performs lead vocals.
On May 18, 2023 at the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Trooper was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Trooper was also inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame at the Rock of Fame event on September 28, 2023 at Massey Hall, Toronto.
- Gogo – keyboards, harmonica, acoustic guitar (1995–present)
- Scott Brown – bass (1996–present)
- Clayton Hill – drums (2006–present)
- Steve Crane – guitar (2021–present)
- David Steele – vocals (2021–present)
- Ra McGuire – vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar (founding member)
- Brian Smith – guitar (founding member)
- Tommy Stewart – drums
- Harry Kalensky – bass
- Frank Ludwig – keyboards
- Doni Underhill – bass
- Rob Deans – keyboards
- Marc LaFrance – drums
- Ronnie Baran – drums
- John Dryden – bass
- Richard Sera – keyboards
- Aaron Anderson – drums
- Blaine Smith – keyboards
- Larry Church – bass
- Mike Schmidt – drums
- John Stoltz – drums
- Tony Ferraro – drums
- Timothy B. Hewitt – bass
- Lance Chalmers – drums
- Frankie Baker – drums
|Two for the Show||
|Knock 'Em Dead Kid||
|Thick as Thieves||
|The Last of the Gypsies||
At least one unauthorized compilation album has been released featuring Trooper's hits. Trooper's second official compilation album was released on July 1, 2010, celebrating the band's 35th anniversary.
|Hits from 10 Albums||
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1975||"Baby Woncha Please Come Home"||45||—||Trooper|
|1976||"General Hand Grenade"||14||—|
|"Two for the Show"||32||—||Two for the Show|
|1977||"We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)"||43||—||Knock 'Em Dead Kid|
|1978||"Oh, Pretty Lady"||42||—|
|"Raise a Little Hell"||27||59||Thick as Thieves|
|"Round, Round We Go"||22||—|
|1979||"The Moment That It Takes"||14||—|
|"The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car"||25||—||Hot Shots|
|"3 Dressed Up as 9"||24||—||Flying Colors|
|"Good Clean Fun"||81||—|
|"Are You Still My Baby"||—||—|
|1982||"Only a Fool"||44||—||Money Talks|
|"Ready for the Nite"||—||—|
|"Could've Been Me"||—||—|
|1989||"Boy with a Beat"||33||—||The Last of the Gypsies|
|"The Best Way (to Hold a Man)"||70||—|
|"Thin White Line"||—||—|
|1991||"The American Dream"||26||—||Ten|
|"Kids in Love"||—||—|
- Canadian rock
- Music of Canada
- Music of Vancouver
- Category:Canadian rock music groups
- List of Canadian musicians
- List of bands from Canada
- List of bands from British Columbia
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