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Kay Taylor and the Regents perform at Club Bluenote, Toronto, 1960-1962. Courtesy of Russ Strathdee and Gary Copeland.

Advertisement for Kathy Pitre and Kay Taylor and the Regents at Club Bluenote. December 1961. The Globe and Mail.

Yonge Street Loves Music plaque unveiling and concert, Hard Rock Cafe, Yonge and Dundas Square, December 2016.

  • Known for its late night jam sessions

    Musicians and audiences had an opportunity to hear from some of the great Motown acts such as The Supremes and Stevie Wonder, who would come enjoy a set after their shows at larger Toronto venues. The Bluenote also provided a place where young Toronto musicians could gather and learn from each other, but the crowd could be merciless. David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat, and Tears wrote that “many wannabe singers left that club with their illusions shattered forever.”

    In the fall of 1964, the Rogues became the new house band at the Bluenote with Domenic Troiano on the guitar. During his lengthy career, Troiano also played for Ronnie Hawkins and the Guess Who. The Rogues eventually changed their name to Mandala, releasing the top ten hit “Love-Itis” in 1968.

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  • A New Bluenote

    Although the original Club Bluenote closed in 1969, the Club lived on in Yorkville. From 1982 to 1992, George Olliver, vocalist for the Rogues (later Mandala), owned and managed a new Club Bluenote at 128 Pears Avenue. Like its predecessor on Yonge Street, R&B defined the sound of the new Bluenote. Etta James and Wilson Pickett were among several music luminaries who headlined at the new club. Local R&B bands like the Lincolns also could be regularly found on the Bluenote stage, belting out hits like “The R&B Anthology”.

    “It was like it was our music, we were entertaining each other . . . there would be half a dozen different singers there on a Friday or Saturday night . . . All those wonderful Canadian talents that ended up stepping out into the world and making a name for themselves.”

    – Eric “Mouse” Johnson, drummer

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