Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A&M Records Canada Reunion

Back in August, a number of former A&M Records Canada staff decided to get together for a mini reunion at a pub in Toronto. Unfortunately I was unable to attend. However, with my vacation plans forming for the first week of October to go to Toronto and Gatineau to visit with my family, I got in touch with a couple of long time friends to let them know I was going to be in Toronto and wondered if a few of us could get together even if only for a coffee.

From that one facebook exchange, Michelle Henderson, with whom I worked at A&M, spoke with her dad and mom, Joe and Gloria Summers. Joe was Senior Vice-President of A&M during my time at A&M running the A&R department. Joe and Gloria decided to host a Reunion party at their gorgeous heritage home near Oshawa. Michelle then started a new facebook group, "Michael Godin's in Town - Time for Another Get-Together". And it happened Thursday, October 4th - a day I will remember for a very long time.

It was a by-invitation-only event that was attended by so many of my lifelong friends. Joe and Gloria have always been such welcoming and gracious hosts, and it was great to have a chance to visit with them at their home once again after all these years.

I can't say how A&Mazing it was to have a chance to visit with my former boss, Gerry Lacoursiere and his wife Gay. Gerry hired me in 1975 as a 23 year old kid fresh out of radio as music director and DJ. His confidence resulted in a wonderful record industry career for me and much success for our company. Bill and Dawn Ott had just returned from vacation in France a few days earlier. I've known Bill since I was in high school. We became fast friends throughout my radio years when he worked in sales and promotion for several independent record companies.

Susan Brearton, who was my assistant and A&R Administrator, was at the party. We worked together as quite a team for many years at A&M and have maintained our friendship. She's still doing well as Manager A&R Administration at Universal Music.

I'm going to do my utmost to name everyone who was also at the party. Vern Gibson, Pat Ryan, Heidi Eschbach, Susan Coles and her husband Joe (they had a two hour drive to get to the party!), Hank Koch (who has the accolade of selling 50,000 copies of an album to one customer - a GOLD record's worth!), another sales rep, Joe Toews and his wife, Dave Watt with his wife, and of course Cathy Lovell! I had not seen some of these friends for 26 years!

The only unfortunate part of the event was that Michelle Henderson, who organized the entire invitation list, was unable to attend at the very last minute. I truly missed not seeing Michelle. Next time for sure.

The incredible thing about all these people is that we were at the right place at the right time. We were a bunch of music fanatics who were passionate about the artists on A&M Records and who were committed to working together to spread that enthusiasm to radio, TV, retail, newspapers, magazines, etc. The real connection is we liked each other a lot, as witnessed by remaining in touch with each other after all these years.

I also had the chance for a wonderful visit earlier in the day with Doug and Ann Chappell, who were unable to attend the party that evening. So we got together at their home for a great visit and lunch. Doug was not only Vice-President of Promotion, but went on to become President of Island Records, Virgin Records and Mercury Records. What a career and what a friend.

The food was delicious, as was the music that was played throughout the evening, all A&M artists such as Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (Herb is the A of A&M), Bryan Adams, Supertramp, Styx, Paul Janz,  Cat Stevens, Procol Harum, The Carpenters, Gino Vannelli, The Payolas, 38 Special, The Arrows, The Police, Chris de Burgh, Squeeze, Pablo Cruise, Joan Armatrading, and so, so many more!

I will forever be grateful to Michelle Henderson for organizing the party and to Joe and Gloria Summers for hosting such a fantastic reunion in my honour.

Thank you everyone - it was so good to see each of you again.


P.S. The next day, I took a drive with my son David to see the old A&M Records office building. It was quite sad to see this magnificent building falling into its current not well maintained state. The inside of what is now a deep discount furniture store was gutted right back to the walls of the building. Nonetheless, David took a picture of me standing outside the window of what was my former office.