Windsor-born Rock Legend Jack Scott enters Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

Posted: February 9, 2011 by Windsor Zene in Band/Artist, Profiles
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Now I’m sure a lot of you younger folk are wondering who the hell is Jack Scott? Well, faithful Windsor Scene readers over the years (or listeners when I hosted the CJAM radio show) have probably seen/heard the name once or twice – he is one of the people I always claim to be part of “The Big 3”, a I don’t mean the auto companies or the band that Ron Leary briefly had with Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe and Scotty Hughes. I’m talking about the three biggest music stars Windsor produced pre-1970 that influences music. One is Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence, Windsor singer/songwriter who moved to San Francisco in the 1960’s and joined Jefferson Airplane (played and co-wrote on the first album) before leaving to form Moby Grape (and subsequently record his critically acclaimed solo record, Oar). Another is Dorothy Collins, a Windsor born jazz singer who went to the United States and became a huge star in 1940’s radio, singing on all the major radio programs of the time. A protege and then wife for famed Chicago bandleader Raymond Scott, Collins got her start on the popular TV-via-radio program Your Hit Parade.

And then there is Jack Scott.

A Canadian-Italian born Giovanni Dominco Scafone Jr. in Windsor, Ontario, he changed his name to Jack Scott by the age of 18, when he decided to pursue music as more than hobby. He formed a band called the Southern Drifters around 1954 and played with them around the area until signing with ABC Records in 1957. Although he recorded two well received singles for ABC, it wasn’t until he switched labels in 1958 that things took off. His first single “Leroy” hit #11 on the Billboard charts, but it was the B-Side, “My True Love”, that made him a star, hitting #3. Scott became the first nationally recognized white rock and roll star from the Detroit area. Despite relocating to Hazel Park, Michigan, he kept his backing band Canadian, employing another successful Windsor group, The Chantones, to back him up on these records. He recorded several more hits for Carlton, including “Goodbye Baby” (#8 on Billboard) and “The Way I Walk” (#35, which also became a minor indie hit for The Cramps), before he switched labels once again, to Top Rank Records in 1960.

His tenure at Top Rank added four more hit singles: “What In The World’s Come Over You” (#5), “Burning Bridges” (#3), it’s B-side “Oh Little One” (#34) and “It Only Happened Yesterday” (#38).

Although he initially began in the vein of early rock and roll, similar in style to singers like Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent, by the time the 60’s ended, he had steered closer to country music, following the roots of his earliest love, southern hillbilly (bluegrass) music. He jumped labels with more ease this time, recording for Captitol, Groove and Dot amongst others, even scoring a minor country hit with “You’re Just Getting Better” in 1974.

In 1977, famed BBC Radio 1 producer John Peel asked Scott to record a Peel Sessions – which he did. That may seem an odd fit, but keep in mind Jack Scott holds the distinction of having more U.S. singles chart (19) in a shorter period of time (41 months) than any other recording act except The Beatles. Pretty impressive company (although it pains me to think that the cast of Glee may eclipse this…).

Although he was simply a few years too soon to really get caught up in the rock and roll fever that dominated the Sixties, Scott has always remained busy in the music industry (he still plays periodically in the Detroit area). And music historians have not forgotten Scott’s impact during the early days of rock and roll. Bruce Eder, editor for All Music Guide to Rock (3rd Edition, 2003) commented that “with the exception of Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, no white rock and roller of the time ever developed a finer voice with a better range than Jack Scott, or cut a more convincing body of work in Rockabilly, Rock and Roll, Country-Soul, Gospel, Country-Pop or Blues”.

In 2007, he was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame and yesterday, he was announced as one of the newest inductees in the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame.

Congratulations Jack. It’s been a long time coming.

From the press release:

TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ – The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame/Le Panthéon des auteurs et compositeurs canadiens (CSHF/PACC) announced today their 2011 inductees, among them are Robbie Robertson, formerly of The Band, and French-Canadian songwriter Luc Plamondon. The 2011 inductees will be honoured at the CSHF’s 7th annual gala, presented by BMO Nesbitt Burns on Saturday, April 2, 2011, at the George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts. Tickets for theApril 2nd CSHF gala, starting at $55.00, are now on sale and are available through Ticketmaster at 416-872-8111, on-line at www.ticketmaster.ca, or in person at the Toronto Centre for the Arts box office. The full line-up of performers for the 7thannual gala will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to recognize and honour the accomplishments of our songwriters, and to educate Canadians about our rich songwriting legacy,” says Dominic Denny, Executive Director, CSHF. “The work we do would be impossible without the loyal support of our sponsors, including our presenting sponsor, BMO Nesbitt Burns.”

For the first time since its inception, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame will induct songwriters and their entire body of work. “In past years, the CSHF has inducted specific songs from Canadian songwriters, but we felt it was also important to acknowledge their entire portfolio of songs, and their overall contributions as Canadian songwriters and storytellers,” says Sylvia Tyson, President, CSHF.

This year, the following songwriters will be inducted into the CSHF: Robbie Robertson and Luc Plamondon (Modern Era 1970 – 1985); Pierre Létourneau and Jack Scott (Radio Era: 1939 – 1969); and Roméo Beaudry and John Stromberg (Pioneer Era: Up to 1938).

Here’s two clips of two great early songs. “My True Love” the song that really launched him and a personal fave, “The Way I Walk” (live from a TV appearance).

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Comments
  1. Mary-Lou says:

    Great Bio of a great CDN music legend!

  2. Derek says:

    Very cool. And a well-composed piece.

  3. Carol says:

    I saw Jack several times at the Park Lounge in Allen Park, MI (Fuzzie’s place) back in the late 60’s. Loved him then and still lovin him now!!

  4. One of my favorites!
    ~jim vanhollebeke (jim@canovan.com)

  5. I HAVE MOST OF THOSE SONGS HE WAS A FAVORITE OF MINE IN THE ROCK AND ROLL ARA WHEN IN THAT TIME

  6. Jamie Graham says:

    Jack Scott is one of a kind. Can’t imagine anyone singing his songs but him. Jamie Graham

  7. Jamie Graham says:

    Jack Scott is one of a kind. Can’t imagine anyone singing his songs but him. A great stylist with a great voice. Jamie

  8. Still an amazing singer at his age. It would be great if he could perform in Florida.

  9. Alan Watt...Brampton,Ontario. says:

    For the past 4 years I’ve nominated Jack for The Canada Walk of Fame…let’s hope he makes it this year,he’s a great musician,great performer and an all round great guy! C’mon everybody…clik onto the Walk of fame website and let them know that we,(Jacks’ fans)-are a force to be reckoned with!

  10. Bonnie Mouilleseaux says:

    It’s been a long time ..I ❤ his music…He's GRRRRRR 8 🙂

    • Love his music … hope he comes to Port sst. Lucie Florida 🙂

    • ALAN WATT says:

      Way t’go Windsor…I’ve been nominating Jack every year since 2009…but to no avail.Glad to see he made it to the Songwriters Hallof Fame.  Jack became my R’n’R hero way back in late ’58…whilst I was still living in Scotland.He’s still immensely popular in UK and for that matter…Europe,Japan,Australia and Russia!    Cheers from Alan Watt

      ________________________________

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