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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Whatever Happened to Glass Tiger?

All right, so this is our final week of "Whatever Happened To..." in the Sunday Jukebox, and I have to say that I enjoyed doing this feature a lot!  It's something that I might consider doing again at some point.

So, I thought to myself...what can I do to close this feature off? 

I decided that I would keep with the theme of Canadiana, because let's face it - there were a lot of Canadian bands that thrived during the 1980s and 1990s.  And since I put the feature on a couple of solo artists the last two weeks, I wanted to close off with a band.

Now, depending on where you live in the world, you may either consider them one of the biggest Canadian bands of the 1980s, or you might consider them at most to be a two-hit-wonder.  One thing is for certain - this band that was founded in Newmarket, Ontario had their big breakthrough in the year 1986, and it was with this particular single that they doiminated the radio airwaves in both Canada and the United States.



ARTIST:  Glass Tiger
SONG:  Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
ALBUM: The Thin Red Line
DATE RELEASED:  January 1986
PEAK POSITION ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS:  #2

I should mention that in Canada, this song reached #1.  In fact, by the time that Glass Tiger's heyday was over, the group had released a total of fourteen Top 40 hits between 1986 and 1993.  Not bad for a band whose success was mostly limited to Canadian radio.



That's not to say that Glass Tiger didn't have any hits in the U.S.A. other than the one I just posted.  "Someday" also did very well on the American charts, as did "I'm Still Searching". 

But still, this Canadian band did well for themselves here at home - which makes it interesting to note that the lead singer of the band - Alan Frew - is Scottish.

And would you believe that before the band released their debut album that they considered naming themselves "Tokyo"?  It's true!  I'm not entirely sure why the band instead opted to call themselves Glass Tiger, but you have to admit - the name they went with was a lot better than their first option.

I have to say that their debut single "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone) was probably my favourite Glass Tiger song.  There were actually two different videos shot for the single.  There's one where the band is performing in a concert venue, and there's one where the video is quite lighthearted in tone and children between the ages of eight and fourteen are seen goofing around.  I tend to like the children video better because the song isn't drowned out by the audience screaming and clapping.

And if you can listen to the song very closely, you might be able to pick out the vocal stylings of another Canadian artist by the name of Bryan Adams.  Maybe you've heard of him?



Now, that single was just a taste of some of the stuff that they released over the years.  Their debut album spawned hits like "Someday", "The Thin Red Line", and "I Will Be There". (And it also gave Glass Tiger three Juno Award wins that same year).  And their sophomore effort, "Diamond Sun" gave us "I'm Still Searching" as well as the beautiful title track - which I have to say is another favourite of mine.  I'll post a link to that song as well.



And in 1991, the band released album #3 - "Simple Mission".  Admittedly, the band's third offering wasn't as well received as their previous two albums were, though one single "My Town" did quite well in the UK, reaching the Top 40.  Oh, and on that single was another guest vocalist by the name of Rod Stewart.  Perhaps you've heard of him?

By 1993, the band Glass Tiger was on the verge of splitting up, and their final single, "Touch of Your Hand" barely cracked the Canadian Top 40.  That's not to say that the members of the band stopped performing music at all.  Lead singer Alan Frew had a Top 10 hit in 1994 with the single "Healing Hands" - which I have to admit is a great song.  Seriously, if you can find it, it's worth a listen.



In fact, let me post a video of that song right now!  Trust me.  It's that good.

So, it's been twenty-three years since Glass Tiger had their last hit on the charts.  The question remains...whatever happened to Glass Tiger?

Well, there's some news about the band.  Some of it is great...and some of it is not so great.  But first, I'll go ahead with the great.

Although Glass Tiger seemingly went on permanent hiatus following their final album release in 1993, the band regrouped in 2003 and have been performing ever since.  In 2009, the band visited Canadian forces in Afghanistan along with some alumni from the NHL, and over the last few years have performed as special guests for Canada Day events and local festivals.

Though lead singer Alan Frew suffered a serious setback in the middle of 2015.  While he was working on another solo album, he suffered a serious stroke that left him completely paralyzed on the right side of his body.  It was a devastating blow for the 59-year-old singer, but over time he eventually healed from the stroke.  He still has some feeling of numbness in some parts of his body, but for the most part he has bounced back and he is still able to sing. 

And, that's the brief story of what happened to Glass Tiger!

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