FCLMA Presents: 2022’s Best Of The Best Hall Of Fame Inductees – Part 1

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A showcase of Inductee Plaques at the London Music Hall Of Fame
Credit: Ryan Labreche

The entrance to the London Music Hall Of Fame, located at 182 Dundas Street.

If you haven’t guessed by now, London is full of celebrated industry figures and talent from the past to the present day. With the expanded area of representation to the Forest City London Music Awards, there will be more names in the surrounding area worth celebrating. Some are included in this showcase.

At any rate, each year, the Forest City London Music Awards inducts distinguished music personnel into the London Music Hall Of Fame as part of its London Music Week celebrations. Past inductees include: Saul Holiff, Gordie Tapp, The Niosi Brothers, Tommy Hunter, Garth Hudson, Kittie, Joey Hollingsworth, Jack Richardson and a slew of other musicians and stars of repute!

This year, for the 2022 awards ceremony, London will be celebrating 7 new inductees who have gone above and beyond in terms of musical achievement and support.

Without further ado, let’s get to know them!

Image supplied by Forest City London Music Awards

BRIAN MORTIMER

– 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award

Brian Mortimer is the king of London’s blues and roots scene, having managed, owned and operated several successful venues over the decades. Beyond his work as a venue operator, he has also founded music societies and is behind some of the most successful festivals surrounding the blues and roots genres.

Born in Ottawa, Mortimer relocated to London in 1972 in his early 20s. With his father purchasing the Clifton Arms Hotel, Mortimer became the live music booker and promoter for the hotel’s music lounge, known as Alfie’s Room. This, in turn, led to his involvement managing other music venues as well.

Promotional image for the Talbot Inn, dating back to 1983.
Image from London Ontario Blast Past / Twitter.

With hard work, dedication and passion, Mortimer launched his own operation, The Talbot Inn, which is fondly remembered by London music scene veterans. The Talbot Inn featured three separate entertainment sections: Mingles, the designated rock room, The Firehall, which hosted blues and roots music and The Cookery, a stage for local and touring acoustic acts. The roster of renowned musicians hosted at the Talbot Inn is impressive, having had the likes of David Wilcox, Kim Mitchell, Matt “Guitar” Murphy (of Blues Brothers), Jeff Healey, DOA, Colin James and more shake its walls over the years.

Over time, Mortimer’s resume grew to include co-founding the Great Lakes Blues Society and the Canada South Blues Society, running a series of successful blues festivals and cultivated some of London’s finest rock, blues and roots musicians in the process. Brian Mortimer also had a hand in starting many charity events as well, including The Balloon Festival, The Corporate Challenge and the Unity Project.

With roughly 40 years of support for the London music scene and culture at large, it’s safe to say London’s music scene and community just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Image supplied by Forest City London Music Awards

CHERRILL RAE YATES

– 2022 London Music Hall Of Fame Inductee –

Cherrill Rae Yates rose to prominence in the 70s touring the United Kingdom. Upon marrying Welsh-born UK singer and TV host, Robbie Rae, the two formed a duo and became an international sensation. She still continues to perform as a solo artist to this day.

Born in the United Kingdom, Cherrill Rae Yates spent her childhood in London, Ontario where she would begin singing at a young age. At the age of 17, she moved to study music at the Cardiff College of Music.

Soon after, she would begin touring across the UK, which led her to being booked on a BBC variety show hosted by Welsh singer, Robbie Rae. Having fallen in love, the two were married and they began performing together as The Raes.

Upon moving to Canada, the duo would tour the country, winding up back in London. Through Cherrill’s hometown performance, at Ye Olde City Hall, they were picked up by A&M Records in 1976. Parting from their cabaret-esque roots, The Raes adapted to the trending disco fever that was going around at the time. The Raes released a dance cover of Doris Day’s “Que Sera Sera”, which went #1 in Canada. This also led to a JUNO nomination for Best Single that year.

The Raes, Robbie and Cherrill Rae
Image from CherrillRaeYates.com

From the strength of their single, The Raes released their self-titled debut album in 1978, which was certified gold. Their sophomore album, Dancing Up A Storm was released the following year and featured the hit single, “A Little Lovin’ (Keeps the Doctor Away)”. At this point, The Raes reached stardom. They would tour North America and Europe, as well as appear on American Bandstand, Soul Train and The Midnight Special. The duo would also host their own variety show on CBC, called The Raes Variety.

In 1980, the landscape of music began changing. The Raes would go on to release their final album, Two Hearts and receive a JUNO nomination for Most Promising Group. Afterwards, the duo were dropped from A&M Records and Cherrill and Robbie’s marriage would come to an end. Robbie Rae would find himself in Thailand but would tragically pass away in 2003.

Cherrill Rae Yates has since been remarried, currently resides in Florida and still performs. Given her accomplishments, as well as her star-studded grace and charm, Cherrill Rae is considered one of Canada’s most cherished pop and disco acts of her time.

Image supplied by Forest City London Music Awards

LARRY MERCEY

– 2022 London Music Hall Of Fame Inductee –

Larry Mercey is a Canadian country music icon having started his music career in the late 50s and his risen to North American country stardom with his band, The Mercey Brothers. While the band of brothers is no longer in effect, they are a decorated and celebrated part of Canada’s country music culture, with Larry still performing.

The iconic Larry Mercey was born and raised in Hanover, Ontario. Playing music from a young age, he and his brother Ray would form a country duo and would make their professional debut in 1957.

Larry and Ray Mercey would become regulars on Wingham, Ontario’s CKNX radio show, Barn Dance and would later be featured on CKNX TV. Their first hit, “Just the Snap of Your Fingers” was released in 1961, and would see the duo signed to Chateau Records.

The Mercey Brothers, Larry, Ray and Lloyd Mercey with medals celebrating their induction into the Canadian Country Music Association Hall Of Fame.
Credit: Canadian Country Music Association

1966 was the year their third brother, Lloyd, would join The Mercey Brothers and would go on to perform together for the next 30 years. In that time, the brothers would launch their own record label (MBS – Mercey Brothers Sound), release 12 albums and 35 singles. Of their singles, 6 reached #1 on the Canadian country music charts, with 18 of them charting in the top 10.

Over the span of their career, The Mercey Brothers received 15 JUNO nominations, winning 7 of them. Something of note is that The Mercey Brothers won a Golden Leaf (Golden Leaf would later become known as the JUNOs) award during the first-ever national music awards show. Just as well, they were named Group of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association in 1985 and 1986, consecutively. In their heyday, The Mercey Brothers toured North America and Europe extensively, graced the stage of the legendary Grand Ole Opry and have been featured regularly on Canadian broadcasting networks, CTV and CBC.

Being a prominent songwriter for the band, Larry Mercey’s contributions played a significant role in their success. He has even co-written a song that was recorded by the legendary Charlie Pride, “America the Great”. While The Mercey Brothers haven’t been together for some time, Larry continues to perform with the Larry Mercey Trio at the age of 82.

Credit: Ann Cutting

LOREENA McKENNITT

– 2022 London Music Hall Of Fame Inductee –

Loreena McKennitt, is by and large, one of Canada’s most accomplished Celtic folk artists, having sold over 14 million albums worldwide. McKennitt’s work has garnered her international praise, receiving gold and platinum status in 15 different countries and has performed for Queen Elizabeth II. Through her music, she would be awarded 2 JUNO awards, as well as 2 Grammy nominations.

Taking up an interest in music in the 70s, it wasn’t until McKennitt’s trip to Ireland that she became enthralled. Discovering her profound love and interest for Celtic folklore and music, she began writing her own multifaceted brand of Celtic music as well as playing the Celtic harp. By 1981, she would relocate from her home in Manitoba to Stratford, Ontario, where she still resides to this day.

Loreena McKennitt playing the Celtic harp during a performance.
Credit: Getty Images

Releasing her debut album, Elemental in 1985 through her own label, Quinlan Road, Loreena McKennitt would go on to release 5 more globally praised albums before the tragic drowning of her fiance, which led to her hiatus in 1998. Through the tragedy, McKennitt launched the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety. She also established the The Three Oaks Foundation, which is aimed at supporting cultural, environmental, historical social groups. McKennitt also purchased a vacant school in Stratford, transforming it into the Falstaff Family Centre, which services families and children in need.

Loreena McKennitt made her return to music in 2006 and released 4 more celebrated albums since. Beyond her accolades in music, McKennitt has been given several awards, orders and appointments through her activism and advocacy of human rights. Such accolades include Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medal, appointed the Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France. She is also a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba.

Click here for Part 2!

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