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Myles Goodwyn, Frontman With Canadian Classic Rockers April Wine, Dies Aged 75

Myles Goodwyn, who fronted the popular Canadian classic rock band April Wine from its formation in 1969 until earlier this year, has died aged 75. His death was announced by his publicist, who did not give the cause but heralded Goodwyn’s “distinctive and immediately recognisable” voice and prolific songwriting.

Goodwyn formed the band in Nova Scotia, after suffering the death of his mother to brain cancer as a boy alongside his two brothers. “Four males living under the same roof, but there were never any hugs, never any communication,” he later said of his home life. “We were four lost souls roaming around that household. So I took to music. It was music that saved me.”

April Wine featured three members of another family: brothers David and Ritchie Henman and their cousin Jim. They moved to Montreal and released their self-titled debut album in 1971. It’s follow-up, On Record, became their breakthrough the next year, powered by the US Top 40 hit You Could Have Been a Lady (a cover of Hot Chocolate’s original), and the band netted support slots with acts as varied as Ike and Tina Turner, Badfinger and Stevie Wonder. The Henmans left, and were replaced by various other musicians over the years, with Goodwyn remaining as the band mainstay.

Pleasing a broach church of fans with a variously hard-rocking, country-tinged, occasionally funky style which also took in epic balladry, their Canadian success was assured. Stand Back (1975) was their first platinum record there, their fifth album, The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy, reached No 1 in 1976, and they supported the Rolling Stones in 1977. Further US success took a little longer but 1979’s Harder … Faster broke the band into the US Top 100 albums for the first time, and their biggest hit came in 1981 with the full-bodied power ballad Just Between You and Me and its accompanying album The Nature of the Beast, which went platinum in both the US and Canada.

Success dwindled by the middle of the decade and band relations fractured. Goodwyn began living in the Bahamas. April Wine split in 1985, and Goodwyn returned to Canada and put out a self-titled solo album in 1988. The band later reformed and put out a return album together, 1993’s Attitude, followed by three more, the most recent being 2006’s Roughly Speaking.

Goodwyn was hospitalised for months the following year, due to internal bleeding caused by long-term alcoholism. He spent time in a rehab facility following his recovery. “There was one moment that changed the course of things, and for me, that was it: realising my mortality, realising I was dying and I didn’t know it,” Goodwyn later said.

April Wine continued touring, with Goodwyn eventually announcing his retirement in 2022, saying: “Touring has been very difficult in recent years because of my diabetes and my health comes first, so unfortunately, my touring days are officially over.” He returned to live in Nova Scotia.

Goodwyn also published two books: a memoir, Just Between You and Me, and the novel Elvis and Tiger. Earlier this year he was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is survived by wife Kim Goodwyn and their two children, plus another child from a previous marriage.

Source: The Guardian