As the driving force behind Chilliwack during their illustrious career, Bill Henderson
knew that music was his calling early in life. The native of Vancouver was already
a working musician while still in high school. He was a student at UBC in 1964 when
he formed the group, The Classics. Two years would pass before he then founded The
Collectors and was signed to a record deal. After two records and a string of radio
singles between 1967 and 1970, including "Lydia Purple" and "Early Morning" which
found them touring with the likes of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, The Collectors
were dead and Chilliwack was born, consisting of drummer Ron Turney, Clair Lawrence
on sax and keyboards and Glen Miller on bass.
The group cut their self-titled debut in late '70 on the independant Parrot Records
and released two singles, "Chain Train" and "Rain O". Other noteable tracks included
"Sundown" and "Everyday". The band came back the next year with a double album set.
Releasing a "self-titled debut" turned out to have more success the second time
around featuring the timeless "Lonesome Mary" and "Music For A Quiet Time".
ALL OVER YOU came out in '72 and contained the hit "Groundhog", which showcased
Henderson's incredible slide-guitar work, and the cool little ditty "Chickenshit
Man". Next up for the band was RIDING HIGH, which hit the stores in the spring of
'74. Featuring newcomer Howard Froese as a second guitarist, the record was released
on Terry Jacks' Goldfish Records label. Jacks also brought his experience in the
business, co-founder of The Poppy Family and his solo hit "Seasons In The Sun" that
same year among others, to the studio and served as album co-producer. By the end
of the year Chilliwack practically owned the airwaves, with the title-track, "Come
On Over" and the absolute classics "Crazy Talk" and the raucous "There's Something
I Like About That".
Next up was ROCKERBOX in '75. The band switched to another independant label, Casino
Records and produced another masterfully-crafted album, highlighted by "If You Want
My Love". Another switch with labels the next year saw the release of DREAMS DREAMS
DREAMS on Mushroom Records. Backed by the mega hits "California Girl" and "Fly At
Night", Henderson and company had firmly established themselves as one of Canada's
top acts, touring the world in support of the album. Other hits included "Something
Better", "Baby Blue" and "Mary Lou And Me".
1977 saw the debut of one of Canadian rock's highest regarded collaberations. With
the departure of Froese, Henderson found himself looking for another guitarist and
took a chance on a young local sensation - - Brian 'Too Loud' MacLeod. LIGHTS FROM
THE VALLEY hit the stores in early '78 and the band was again met by rave reviews.
MacLeod's unbridled passion for his craft mixed with the raw energy that earned
him his nickname were showcased in the hit "Arms Of Mary", considered as one of
the best Canadian songs that year, if not the decade. "Never Be The Same", and "We
Don't Have To Fall In Love" also exemplified solid Canadian rock at its finest.
BREAKDOWN IN PARADISE came out a year later and saw a re-vamped lineup. Ab Bryant
had replaced Miller on bass, Rick Taylor assumed the drummer's role and John Roles
was added on guitars. The record contained the hits "Road To Paradise" and the classic
"Communication Breakdown", while other noteable mentions included "So Strong" and
"Let It All Begin" .
Again the band found themselves shopping for a label following the demise of Mushroom
Records in 1980. This led to Bryant and MacLeod venturing off and starting The Headpins,
initially as a sideline project. After signing with Solid Gold, a slight shift in
gears was heard when Chilliwack's next lp, WANNA BE A STAR came out in '81. Roles
and Taylor had left, basically leaving Chilliwack a trio. "My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)"
was gold practically on arrival at the radio stations. Other hits from WBAS included
"I Believe" and "Don't Wanna Live For A Living".
OPUS X was unleashed in '82 and contained the smash hits "Whatcha Gonna Do (When
I'm Gone)?" and "Secret Information", which earned MacLeod and Henderson a Juno
for producer of the year. Also on the record was the sleeper hit "Don't It Make
You Feel Good". Bryant & MacLeod left the band to pursue the Headpins full-time
after its release. Despite this, the record re-affirmed Chilliwack as undeniably
one of the country's top draws, while Henderson was firmly establishing himself
as one of rock's most sought-after engineer/producers.
A compilation of their hits was on the shelves in '83 with the release of SEGUE.
Henderson put out Chilliwack's final studio album in the summer of '84. LOOK IN
LOOK OUT quickly went gold, backed by the success of the single "Got You On My Mind".
With an entirely new lineup, other great tracks included "Getting Better", "Who's
Winning" and the soulful "Dream Of You". Henderson's outside commitments caused
the unofficial breakup of the group later that year.
Chilliwack's name wasn't heard for nearly a decade, as Henderson was dabbling in
an outside project of his own, UHF, with Shari Ulrich and Roy Forbes. Initially
as little more than 'something to do in their spare time' , the trio would get together
to record their debut in 1990, and their follow-up in '93, whose artistic tones
instantly earned them favour with the critics.
Bill Henderson is the guiding light of Chilliwack, and one of our most treasured
musical talents, contributing in the studios to such artists as Junior Gone Wild,
Toronto, Long John Baldry, The Nylons and The Irish Rovers, among others. His work
in UHF is also a constant fave of the critics, and he's also written material for
stage and screen, and became one of the people in your neighborhood during the '90's
while working on material for 'Sesame Street'. In Chilliwack, fans of "Too Loud"
MacLeod are treated to the early work of one of Canada's greatest talents, God rest
his soul. Superb musicianship and a strong pop-sensibility are common threads of
all Chilliwack records, weaving together arguably one of this country's greatest
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