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Hagood Hardy
26.2. 1937
1.1. 1997


Hardy, Hagood. Composer, arranger, vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, b Angola, Indiana, of a Canadian father and a US mother, 26 Feb 1937, d Hamilton, Ont, 1 Jan 1997; BA (Toronto) 1958. Taken to Canada as an infant, he was raised in Oakville, Ont, where he studied piano with Edna Lawrence and Ellen Scott. In the mid-1950s he began playing the vibraphone and, while studying political science and economics at the University of Toronto, performed in local jazz clubs and on CBC TV, leading his own group 1957-61. In 1961 he went to the USA, where he played vibraphone for Gigi Gryce (New York 1961), Herbie Mann (on tour 1961-2), Martin Denny (Hawaii and Las Vegas 1962-4), and George Shearing (on tour 1964-7). Returning to Toronto, Hardy led a jazz trio (initially, Ian Henstridge, bass, and Ricky Marcus, drums) which, with the addition in 1969 of the singers Stephanie Taylor and Carrie Romano, became the Montage, a pop group with jazz and Latin American leanings. Continuing until 1974 with changing personnel, the Montage appeared infrequently in Canada but was successful in US nightclubs and also toured Europe.

Around 1968 Hardy began Hagood Hardy Productions, specializing in commercial jingles for companies such as Kelloggs, General Motors, London Life, and Canadian Pacific. He also began to concentrate on composing and recording music for TV, radio, and films, starting in the early 1970s. He returned to public notice almost immediately when he revised and recorded 'The Homecoming,' originally composed in 1972 as a Salada Tea jingle. Released by Hardy on his own Isis Records label as a single in 1975, and subsequently by Attic, it became an international hit. Its success brought Hardy Juno awards as composer and instrumental artist of 1975; he also was named instrumental artist of the year (1976) by Billboard magazine. Hardy received a Juno as instrumental artist of 1976, and was given the Wm Harold Moon Award from BMI Canada (SOCAN) in 1977. 'The Homecoming' was followed by "Love Theme from 'Missouri Breaks,'" a moderate hit in Canada. Sales of his LP The Homecoming exceeded 200,000 copies in Canada.

Hardy's 'The Homecoming' was the object of the first music plagiarism legal case in Canada, Gondos v. Hardy and Toth. The unsuccessful suit, which alleged copyright infringement, was brought in November 1980, and was dismissed with costs in July 1982. Despite being vindicated, Hardy found his composing career was temporarily interrupted. He ceased jingle writing in 1983.

Hardy also wrote scores for the feature films Second Wind (1975), Rituals (1976), and Klondike Fever (1979), and for many Canadian and US TV productions, most notably CBC-TV's 'Anne of Green Gables' in 1985 (bringing the composer a Gemini award for best musical score) and its sequel in 1987. Hardy's other TV credits include the movies An American Christmas Carol (ABC, 1979), Anatomy of a Seduction (CBS, 1979), Portrait of an Escort (CBS, 1981), Forbidden Love (CBS, 1982), and Liberace (CBS, 1988). He also wrote scores for The Silent Sky, (his first score, the independently produced TV series 'The Amateur Naturalist' (1983), 'Durrell in Russia' (1985, 'The Wizard of Oz' (1987), and 'Road to Avonlea' (1989-90), and for ABC's 'Passion and Paradise' (1989).

In 1976 Hardy began to appear in concerts across Canada either at the head of a small ensemble or as a soloist with symphony orchestras in programs of his best-known jingles and film music. During the 1980s and 1990s he continued to record, and performed on occasion in Toronto clubs with a jazz group and in 1990 introduced a hard-bop sextet on record (Morocco) and in concert. He composed 'In My Heart,' which premiered in Halifax, for the Canada 125 celebrations in 1992. The following year, he established the Elora Fireside Jazz series in Elora, Ont. Also in 1993 with his quartet, he recorded Between Friends, later released by Avalon in 1996.

Hardy held positions on numerous boards such as the SOCAN Foundation; was honorary chairman of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1984; and was a UNICEF ambassador, among other charitable commitments. In 1995, he ran unsuccessfully as the Liberal candidate in the Ontario provincial electoral district of York South. In 1992 he was named to the Order of Canada, and in 1996 he received the Toronto Arts Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. The SOCAN Hagood Hardy Jazz/Instrumental Music Award was renamed in his honour in 1997.

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