The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) and the Festival international de la chanson de Granby (FICG) are proud to announce that the song “Bleu et blanc” – written by Franco-Ontarian songwriter Robert Paquette – will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. The induction will happen on Aug. 26, 2018, live from the Scène Desjardins, during the closing concert of the 50th edition of FICG. “I’ve always maintained good relations with the Festival,” says Paquette, who was a finalist during the 1971 edition, before winning the People’s Choice Award in 1972. “I’m super-happy that the induction will take place there!”

“Bleu et blanc” was deemed a SOCAN Classic in 2001, for having aired more than 25,000 times on the radio. It was also included in a list of 150 popular songs compiled by Le Journal de Montréal for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

“This year, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is collaborating with the country’s most dynamic festivals and music-related events to pay homage to the musical legacy of those various regions,” said CSHF Executive Director Vanessa Thomas. “We’re delighted to induct Robert Paquette’s iconic song ‘Bleu et blanc,’ and to be right there —  alongside our partners at the Festival international de la chanson de Granby – to celebrate that induction with him.”

Paquette was the first Franco-Ontarian to record a professional studio album. The singer-songwriter was driving home to play a concert in Sudbury in 1976 – from his base in Montréal, where he was pursuing a solo career – when the song came to him in its entirety. Paquette was so struck by it that he stopped at a pay phone to call home, saying, “I’ve just come up with a really good song.”

To Paquette’s surprise, two Montréal radio stations, CKOI and CHOM, both included it in their rotation. “Because the song was unusually long, at more than six minutes, I didn’t think it would get commercial radio airplay, but the public reaction was really good. Listeners began asking CKOI and CHOM to air it, and it took off.”  “Bleu et blanc” was on its way to becoming a classic of the French-Canadian music scene.

“Bleu et blanc” deals with passion and emotional symbols. The song begins with the singer re-telling his chance encounter with an old, down-and-out hobo, in which he asks if the old man has given up hope. His wise reply proves to be a valuable life lesson that both surprises and influences the singer. Paquette intended the colourful kites in the chorus (“Bleu et blanc, vert et rouge/Sont les couleurs des cerfs-volants,” or in English, “blue and white, green and red, are the colours of kites”) to represent flags: red for the Canadian flag, blue and white for Québec’s fleur-de-lis, and green and white for a new flag that had recently been proposed for Franco-Ontarians; white represents purity and red represents passion. The song’s kite imagery also suggests freedom – freedom to go with the wind and freedom from practical necessities.

Paquette was born in 1949 in Sudbury, Ontario. From the mid-1980s he wrote music for theatre and did television work. His song “Jamaica is another SOCAN Classic, and Radio-Canada ranked him No. 1 on its list of the most important Franco-Ontarian musicians.

In an interview with SOCAN, Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy briefly discusses his number-one rule of songwriting, and the band’s songs where he thought that he and co-writer Greg Keelor best hit the mark for which they were aiming.

SOCAN is mourning the passing of our member Brad Daymond, best known for co-writing the hits “Broken Bones” and “You’re a Superstar” as a member of JUNO Award-winning dance trio Love Inc., and also known in the music industry for his work with boy-band ‘N Sync at the height of their popularity. Daymond, originally from Barrie, Ontario, passed away August 3, 2018, at age 48, from complications due to cardiac arrest.

Daymond worked alongside DJ Chris Sheppard and singer Simone Denny in Love Inc., who earned two JUNO Awards, both for Best Dance Recording, in 1999 for “Broken Bones” and in 2001 for “Into the Night.” The group topped the charts with a handful of dance singles that garnered heavy rotation on MuchMusic, and achieved an unexpected second wave of popularity in Europe years later. “You’re a Superstar,” a co-write with Sheppard and Vince Degiorgio – who co-wrote extensively with Daymond for Love Inc. – has become an enduring favourite to this day in the U.K., resonating deeply with people there.

After Love Inc. disbanded, Daymond formed a production duo with Alex Greggs, Riprock ‘n’ Alex G – for which Degiorgio served as the A&R representative – and rode a wave of teen pop to great success. Together, the duo produced remixes for the likes of Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, Jessica Simpson, and Christina Aguilera, that often appeared on their singles. Some remixes of ‘N Sync’s early singles were noticed by the group, and Daymond was hired to co-write two songs for their second album No Strings Attached in 2000. He also co-created three songs for their third album, Celebrity, in 2001. Daymond continued to write, on projects including Schizophrenic, ‘N Sync member JC Chasez’s debut album. He also served as a judge on the television singing competition Popstars 2.

“It didn’t matter what the project, Brad was always my first pick for working on everything from Republica to ‘N Sync,” says Degiorgio, a longtime music publisher who founded, owns and operates Cymba Music Publishing, and now serves as President of the Board of Directors of The Canadian Music Publishers Association. “He was incredibly generous in the studio. When you wrote with him, you really did write with him. He had talent to burn, and half the time we were laughing in the studio. Whenever we wrote, he just wanted to win the day, and on most days, we did. For me, ‘Superstar’ was only a part of Brad’s story; as a writer, he composed hooks and melodies like a meteor, and made it easy for his co-writers. He was that good. Whether in my capacity as a songwriter, or an A&R guy when he teamed up with his partner Alex Greggs, I could always trust him to get what I wanted.”

SOCAN extends its deepest condolences to Daymond’s family and friends, both inside and outside of the music industry.