"Jarvis House" - Toronto - July, 1977
"Moustache Club" - Montreal - September, 1974
Bitter Blue - "Studio Recordings" - January, 1977
Bitter Blue - "Practice Recordings" - March 25, 1973
Tom, John, Julian - "First Recording" - September, 1972
"Final Performance" - March 4, 1978
"Happy Valley Inn" - Sarnia - January 20, 1977
(Includes "Abbey Road Medley")
(Includes "Lucky Man" - "Sgt. Pepper's Medley")
(Includes "Jesus Christ Superstar Medley")
(Includes "Tommy Medley")
(Includes "Bohemian Rhapsody")
(Includes "Moody Blues Medley")
(Includes "Closer To Home" (I'm Your Captain)
(Includes "Watcher Of The Skies" - Genesis)
"Classic Rock Band" - October 1972 - March 1978
(Includes "Carry On Wayward Son" - Kansas)
Bitter Blue - a "Classic Rock" band that was from Ontario, Canada, based out of Toronto, and toured venues from 1973 to 1978. The band was managed by Castle Management (Bill Townsend, Jim McBain). Known for Medleys: Jesus Christ Superstar, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Elton John, Moody Blues, Tommy as well as artists such as Super Tramp, Genesis, Paul McCartney, Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody) Kansas, Steely Dan, King Crimson. The original band members consisted of Lead Singer: Paul Fletcher, Lead Guitar: Tom Hoy, Piano/Synthesizer/Vocals: Brent Moss, Drums: Julian Chojnacki, Rhythm Guitar/Vocals: Stephen Parsons, Bass/Vocals: John Hoy. Other members: John Ciccone, Steve Coombs, Ron Phole. Bitter Blue Ontario Tour included: Renfrew (White House Tavern, Butson's Bar), Windsor (Elmwood Casino), Chatham (Turf Room), London (Fryfogles Tavern), Oakville (Riverside Tavern, The Flamingo Bar), Guelph (Choo Choo Club), Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, North Bay (Continental Hotel), Sault Ste. Marie (The Water Tower), Sudbury (Belton Hotel, Ambassador Hotel), Brantford (Graham Bell Inn), Belleville, Hanover, McMaster University, Hamilton (Jockey Club), Kingston, Delhi, Mississauga (Whipple Tree), Owen Sound (Downtowner Hotel), Midland, Huntsville, Sarnia (Happy Valley Inn), St. Catharines (Sugar's Bar, Montebello Bar), Orangeville (Hockley Hills Resort), Timmins (Wattagawi Hotel), Kapuskasing (Kapuskasing Inn), Toronto (Jarvis House, Park Plaza Hotel, Olympic Tavern, Seaway Towers, Harbour Castle, Royal York Hotel, Nickelodeon), Woodstock, Ottawa, Ontario Science Center.
Bitter Blue Eastern Tour included: Montreal (Norm's Moustache Club, McGill University), Hull, Quebec (Chaudiere Club), Vermont: Burlington, U.S.A. (Yankee Trader Hotel), New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown, (The Show Boat), Nova Scotia: Port Hawkesbury, Moncton (Moncton Junction), Halifax (Zapata's Inn, Gainsborough Pub), Newfoundland: Grand Falls, Corner Brook.
The Crazy Bar Scene Of The 1970's: Prior to 1971 a rock band might get one gig a month in the gymnasium of a high school for a couple of hundred dollars a night. But then in 1971 the drinking age in Ontario was lowered from 21 to 18 years of age. So it was goodbye to school gyms and hello to bars where the real action was! (The drinking age was later raised to 19 years old in 1972).
Not only were the "Boomers" coming of age, but now 19 and 20 year old's could legally drink in bars. This was the set-up for a huge explosion in the nightlife of bars across the province. Instead of monthly gigs, now rock bands would play 6 nights a week plus Saturday afternoon matinees and make $1000's of dollars a week! (through a steady stream of blue cigarette smoke; there were no anti-smoking laws back then) The bar owners loved it, especially when they could charge a "cover charge" just for people to get into the club. There were so many new bars opening up in the 1970's that a good band could easily get booked for 52 weeks of the year every year. However, you could not be a "Garage Band" and try to fake it. Competition between the rock groups was intense. You had to be tight and professional to get onto the 1970's bar circuit. Band members would always be checking other acts out to gauge their level of performance and they would often compete in "Battle Of The Bands" events held in large arenas. No young person would even enter a bar unless there was a very good rock band playing. Every band was part of the Musician's Union and there were contracts and conditions to ensure that they were paid promptly and fairly. The bar owners depended on these musicians to draw the crowds in and make them a lot of money and that's exactly what they did. Some of the many big names that got their start playing in the packed bars were: The Guess Who, Rush, Neil Young, Lighthouse, April Wine, Triumph, Rough Trade, Max Webster and Five Man Electrical Band to name a few. (Shania Twain was singing in bars in Timmins, Ontario in 1973 at the age of eight between Midnight and 1:00 A.M. when they stopped serving liquor) But alas the Golden Age of Ontario Rock Bands would come to an end. The bars would empty out. By 1980 the boomers had gotten married, had kids and stayed home. The Ontario Rock Music Bar Scene was gone. But it was one helluva ride while it lasted!
Bitter Blue Rock Band
Chatham Toronto Ontario Canada
(Includes "Take Me Back To Yesterday" - "The Lady's a Dreamer")
Randy PondSaturday, 5/22/21, 12:57 PM
I can remember seeing you way back in the early-mid 70's in Grand Falls, NL. Can't remember the name of the bar (in the Mall). Could have been Camp 24? Anyway, we were blown away by your covers. I can remember the JC Superstar medley especially. Always wondered what happened to you. Now I sort of know!!
From:Lewisporte, NL (Newfoundland)
The History Of Bitter Blue
The Turf Room - Bitter Blue - Chatham, Ontario - 1977
Bitter Blue rolling out to the first gig - April 8th, 1973
Blue Boy - Unofficial Mascot
If you were part of the Boomers who frequented the Ontario rock band bar scene in the 70's or if you saw our band "Bitter Blue" then please leave us a comment in our Guest Book. We would greatly appreciated that!