Rhonda Silver’s New Album Features Jeff Healey, Doug Riley
RHONDA SILVER’S new album, “Twelve Pieces of Silver”, is an alchemist’s dream of Canadian jazz and blues giants. DOUG RILEY plays piano and organ, JEFF HEALEY and REG SCHWAGER, guitars, DON THOMPSON and GLENN OLIVE, bass, and TERRY CLARKE and
When The Willows opened several Canadian shows for The Beach Boys, an enamored Mike Love’s introduction of Rhonda to group leader Dennis Wilson backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens generated the remark that she would be “our Rhonda”. Later, when her high school buddies heard “Help Me, Rhonda” on the radio, they were certain she was THE Rhonda! “The Lady did not protest too much!” says Silver with a mischievous smile. Just before turning 18, the group sang their first national commercial for a popular teen beauty treatment, starting a long-term relationship between Rhonda and advertisers of every kind of product in North America.
She met Doug Riley on the set of a TV show and he taught her to play the piano, recruiting her for a group he was putting together for yet another show. Rhonda became a charter member of Dr. Music. With Dianne Brooks, Steve Kennedy, Trudy Desmond, Terry Black, and Brenda Russell, among others, and for two years they performed regularly on TV with artists like Jerry Reed, Mama Cass, Lulu, Steve Martin, Mel Torme, Dusty Springfield and BB King. She also met and became close friends with Alan Thicke, who would help her out later in Hollywood, and Gilda Radner, who was in Toronto playing in the original Godspell, and Riley hired her to sing on the soundtrack to Ivan Reitman’s first film, Foxy Lady. When Dr. Music disbanded, Rhonda held court at Toronto’s Mr. Tony’s Nightclub before heading to Miami for an audition that stretched into a yearlong stint at world renowned Joe Rico’s jazz club in Coral Gables. Then it was off to Vancouver for more TV and commercials and more piano and song at the infamous Cave.
In the early ‘80s, Rhonda followed a dream to California where late night TV was a natural as were regular gigs at the Bonaventure Hotel and the Century Plaza. In 1985, she was lured back to Canada to headline a revue at the Deerhurst Inn and Resort and establish a presence in their piano bar. Before long, she and Mike Degazio, backed by the management of Deerhurst, signed a contract with A&M Records as Silver & Degazio and enjoyed success in Canadian country radio. During this time, she helped an aspiring singer named Eileen Twain secure work in the show where they sang side by side for two years.
In 1991 she, Marc Connors and Claude Morrison wrote and recorded a song with lifelong friend and early AIDS victim Allan Greenspoon called “The Human Family”. The song was never heard and the video never seen until now, years later, where it is available on Rhonda’s website. The Human Family, which included Dan Hill, Shania Twain, Alien Zappacosta, Salome Bey, Veronique Beliveau, Molly Johnson and Deborah Cox, Ian Thomas and many more Canadian music royalty will finally have its chance to pay tribute to those who’ve lost and those who continue to battle in the fight against AIDS.
Rhonda continued to appear in many clubs including The Fifth Quarter and Tootsie’s in Nashville and the Guild Inn in Toronto. Of late, she's been drawing capacity crowds at La Castile. Rhonda, familiar to millions of Canadians for more than a decade as the original ‘keep them guessing’ girl for Oil of Olay, leaves no room nor reason for guessing with “Twelve Pieces of Silver”, available on Prism Records, distributed by Fontana North and Universal Music Canada. Recorded at METALWORKS STUDIO and mastered by NICK BLAGONA the exceptional cast lends a rare substance and style to the dozen Rhonda Silver/BILL BASSAKYROS compositions.
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