Canadian Music Industry Mourns Death Of Doug Chappell

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Doug Chappell, a prominent figure in the Canadian music industry, died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 77.

“His life was well lived, his love for music and support for musicians at all levels was unwavering,” his daughter Lori Chappell-Scarborough wrote in a Facebook message.

Tim Burgess, a former member of English group T’Pau, tweeted that Chappell was “a seriously good guy; loved and respected by pretty much everyone who worked with him."

Chappell fell in love with music as a young teen watching Elvis Presley play Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in 1957 and started playing guitar in bands while attending York Memorial Collegiate. In 1961, he became bassist for Richie Knight & The Mid-Knights, who had a hit in 1963 with their cover of The Sevilles track “Charlena."

The song’s success – it was the first No. 1 hit by a Canadian band on the CHUM chart – meant Chappell was able to return to Maple Leaf Gardens as a performer. The Mid-Knights were part of Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars in 1963 at the arena and opened for the Rolling Stones there in 1965.

He joined A&M Records of Canada in 1971 and went on to serve as president of the Canadian divisions of Island Records, Virgin Records and Mercury/Polydor before retiring in 1997.

The first band he signed, in December 1986, was The Northern Pikes.

Chappell was a longtime board member at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and Canadian Country Music Association.

Allan Reid, president & CEO of CARAS and the JUNO Awards, said Chappell served on the Canadian Music Hall of Fame committee and was “instrumental in helping us induct multiple artists last year at our first ceremony at the National Music Centre in Calgary.”

Denise Donlon, former president of Sony Music Canada, wrote of Chappell: “His love for music and joie de vivre for our industry was unparalleled. Such a drag his friends can’t gather to tell tall tales.”

Chappell is survived by his wife of 56 years Ann, their children Christopher and Lori and grandsons Derrick, Sean and Ryan.

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