The Music Industry Association of Newfoundland & Labrador is proud to announce that the legendary songwriter and country music star Dick Nolan will be honoured with the MIANL Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Awards Show to be held in Grand Falls-Windsor Sunday November 6th, 2005.
Please find below a bio and discography of Dick Nolan.
Dick Nolan - Biography
Dick Nolan was born in Corner Brook in 1939. He began performing country songs on CBC radio programs in his home town in 1954. Throughout his teens, he continued to perform country music in the local area with his group, the Blue Valley Boys.
Like many other Newfoundlanders, Dick left his home as a youth to seek work in Toronto. His exceptional deep bass voice was appreciated by lovers of country music and it soon landed him in the recording studio. He released two albums of Johnny Cash covers and Dick and the Blue Valley Boys became the house band at the prestigious Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto’s mecca of country music. At the Horseshoe, Dick accompanied country music greats such as Dave Dudley, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Charlie Pride and Loretta Lynn. He continued to make albums and in 1965, his recording of Golden Rocket from the album Truck Driving Man peaked at No. 2 on the national RPM country charts.
Dick loves country music and he loves Newfoundland and Labrador. He found expression for these two passions in the early 1960s when he fused country music with traditional Newfoundland, maritime and Irish folk music. This synthesis was widely acclaimed and appealed especially to ordinary workers with whom Dick felt a particular affinity such as truck-drivers, fishers, miners and loggers. Throughout the 1960s he recorded a mix of albums - some of “Newfoundland-Country” and some dedicated to his first love - pure country music. At this time he performed primarily in the Toronto area, often for homesick Newfoundlanders and maritimers.
1972 was a turning point for Dick. His popularity peaked when he released a traditional ballad with contemporary Newfoundland references in its lyrics. Aunt Martha’s Sheep quickly became a major regional hit and charted nationally. It earned him his first gold record for the album Fisherman’s Boy. This success brought him new fame and allowed him to perform regularly throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Two more gold records followed and many doors in the music business opened. He performed at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, hosted his own television program in Newfoundland, appeared on national television programs, was nominated for a Juno Award, and was Apache Communications Male Performer of the Year for 1973.
For several years Dick’s performances of Newfoundland-Country music remained popular throughout the province. But by the late 1970s, he found it difficult to earn a living here so he returned to Toronto where he entertained a large and enthusiastic audience of expatriate down-easters for the next few decades. In 1992, he teamed up with other Newfoundland recording artists and released the CD Singers For Fisherman in response to the hardships resulting from the closure of the cod fishery. In 1995, his recording Company, Heritage Music awarded Dick a “Certificate of Merit” and donated their master tapes of his recordings to the National Archives of Canada. In the summer of 2004 at the age of 65, Dick returned home to Newfoundland. He is now semi-retired and living on Bell Island with his wife Marie. A special tribute to Dick is being planned for August 7, 2005 as part of Bell Island’s ‘Come Home Year’ celebration.
Dick Nolan -
1. February 4, 1939 – Dick was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland
2. Mid to late 1950s - Performed country music on two CBC radio programs
3. Circa 1959 – Recorded his first album (Johnny Cash covers) in Toronto
4. Early 1960s – Performed with the Blue Valley Boys as the house band at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto.
5. 1965 – The Golden Rocket peaked at No. 2 on the RPM national country music charts.
6. 1972 – Release of Dick’s first two gold albums Fisherman’s Boy & Home Again This Year.
7. Oct. 1972 - Aunt Martha’s Sheep peaked at No. 35 on the RPM country music charts
8. Dec. 1972 - The single Home Again This Year peaked at No. 9 on the RPM country charts.
9. 1973 – Named Apache Communications Male Performer of the Year
10. 1973 – Release of the album Happy Newfoundlanders, Dick’s third gold record.
11. 1973 – Appeared at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville
12. Dec. 1973 – Me and Brother Bill peaked at No. 88 on the RPM national country music charts
13. Early to mid 1970s:
- Hosted his own weekly television program in Newfoundland on CJON-TV
- Appeared on national television: the Tommy Hunter Show, the Elwood Glover Show and Stompin’ Tom’s Canada
- Awarded the BMI Certificate of Honour for song writing (with Ellis Coles)
14 1975 – Nominated for a Juno Award as country male vocalist of the year
15. Feb. 1981 - The Old Fishing Hole (with Roy Payne) peaked at No. 21 on the RPM charts
16 1992 - Participated with other Newfoundland recording artists to release the album Singers for Fisherman in response to closure of the Newfoundland cod fishery
17. 1995 – Awarded Heritage Music’s “Certificate of Merit”
18. 2004 – 50th anniversary of Dick’s first country music performance
19. 2004 – Dick returned home from Toronto to settle in Newfoundland
Dick Nolan - Discography
1) “I Walk the Line”, Arc A543, Toronto, circa 1959
2) “Home of the Blues”, Olympic Records, DM-203, Scarborough, ON, c. 1959
3) “Dick Nolan Sings”, London, EB.82, c. 1959
4) “On Stage At The Drake”, Dick Nolan & the Blue Valley Boys, Arc A579, c. 1962-3
5) “Atlantic Lullaby”, Arc A-627, Toronto c. 1962-3
6) “Echoes of the Atlantic”, Dick Nolan & the Blue Valley Boys, CML 1005/CMS1005, Continental Maple Leaf Records, circa 1962-3
7) “Truck Driving Man”, Arc A-633 & AS-633, Toronto c. 1964
8) “I’se the B’y What Catches Da Fish”, Arc A-694 & AS-694, Toronto 1966
9) “Moving Out”, Arc A-740 & AS-740, Toronto c. 1966
10) “Arc Country Hits”, (with various artists), Arc A-743 & AS-743, Toronto c. 1966
11) “I Want To Live”, Arc AS-776, Toronto c. 1967
12) “Atlantic Christmas”, (with Bonnie Lou Nolan) Arc AC-20, Toronto 1967
13) “Be True Newfoundlanders”, Arc ACS-5024, Toronto c. 1968
14) “Folsom Prison & Other Johnny Cash Songs”, Arc AS-807, Toronto c. 1968
(Also ARC A 2012 released in Australia)
15) “Lukey’s Boat”, Arc AS-810, Toronto, c. 1968
16) “Newfie Hits”, Arc NH-6 c.1968
17) “Country”, (with Marlene Beaudry), Arc AS-819, Toronto c. 1969
18) “Duet”, (with Marlene Beaudry), Arc AS-822, Toronto c. 1969
19) “Fisherman’s Boy”, RCA CS-2576, St. John’s, 1972
20) “Home Again This Year”, RCA CASX 2603, 1972
21) “Happy Newfoundlanders”, RCA KCC1-0012, 1973, Toronto
22) “Happy Anniversary Newfoundland”, RCA KCL1-0050, 1974, Toronto
23) “Folk Songs of Newfoundland”, (with Harry Hibbs), Radio Canada International,
RCI 414, Montreal, 1974
24) “Dick Nolan”, RCA KXL1-0096, 1975, Toronto
25) “A Country Song”, Boot BTM 2001, 1976, Toronto
26) “Best of Dick Nolan” RCA (Pure Gold Series) KNL1-7062, 1977, Don Mills, ON
27) “Side By Each”, (with Roy Payne) Starpak, SK 132, 1980
28) “Dick Nolan’s Greatest Hits of Newfoundland”, Starpak 134, c. 1980
29) “Welcome Aboard”, Boot BTM 2008, Maritime Series, 1984
30) “My East Coast”, Condor 1519
31) “My Beautiful Island”, Condor 1500
32) “Home At Christmas”, OAK XM57
33) “More”, Condor 1509
34) “My East Coast”, Condor HCD 4423 (different from cassette of same title)
35) “Side by Each”, (with Roy Payne) Condor HCD 4437 (different from lp of same title)
36) “Singers For Fisherman”, (with various artists) Newfoundland Records, 02 50110, 1992
37) “Family Bible”, Condor HCD 4412, circa 1994
38) “Pretty Girls of Newfoundland”, Condor HCD 4418, 1996
39) “Down By the Sea”, Condor HCD 4433, 1998
40) “Christmas Morn In Newfoundland”, (with Eddie Coffey), Condor XMCD 58, 1998
41) “Newfoundland Good Times”, Condor HCD 4449, 1999
Notes: 1) Items 1-29 are vinyl albums, 30-33 are cassette tapes, & 34-41 are compact discs.
2) Dick also appeared on albums by Red Sovine, Big Slim and Bonnie Lou Nolan.