Continuing on with our showcase of the London Music Hall Of Fame’s inductees, we’ll be highlighting the last three individuals to be inducted as part of the Forest City London Music Awards’s London Music Week celebrations.
Last week, we covered the esteemed supporters and musicians, Brian Mortimer, Cherrill Rae Yates, Larry Mercey (of The Mercey Brothers) and Loreena McKennitt. If you haven’t had a chance to check that out, click here for Part 1.
Otherwise, let’s go!
– 2022 London Music Hall Of Fame Inductee –
From humble London beginnings in the 80s to spinning at some of the world’s largest electronic festivals, John Acquaviva has done it all. From DJ’ing to producing, talent development to label owner, it’s hard not to have come across his name in the world of electronic music.
Born in Italy, Acquaviva and his family immigrated to Canada when he was just 4 years old. Enamoured by the sounds of new wave dance music in the 80s, he would find himself performing at London’s Dr. Disc. In 1989, he In 1991, he began DJ’ing at Western University. Aside from performing, Acquaviva began producing music at EMAC, in London and, before long, connected with the Detroit electronic scene, performing under the name J’acquaviva+8.
Things really took off when he had met fellow DJ and soon-to-be business partner, DJ Richie Hawtin. Their combined passion for the genre and culture led them to founding the world-renowned Plus 8 Records. The duo would release the records Elements Of Tone and We Shall Overcome under the name of States Of Mind under this label. From this, their presence in the emerging international electronic music scene would be cemented, playing the world over.
Beyond his fame as a DJ, John Acquaviva is regarded as a pioneer in the evolution and advancement of the electronic music genre. His involvement since the early days of techno music into the modern era has helped other artists transcend the gap from analogue to digital recording. Acquaviva is also the co-founder of the Final Scratch software, with partner Richie Hawkins. This sampling software enables DJs to conveniently use sound samples from digital libraries instead of relying on physical records.
Other successful endeavours of his include founding Beatport.com – the world’s largest hosting site for dance music as well as launching Definitive Records – a co-venture which fosters new talent in the electronic field.
There’s no denying that, four decades in, John Acquaviva’s presence is felt all throughout the electronic music culture, a culture he played a key role in shaping.
– 2022 London Music Hall Of Fame Inductee –
While you might not recognize his name offhand, you probably recognize his voice. Rory Dodd, the Port Dover-born Simcoe-based singer, has graced some of the biggest hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s!
Singing Irish folk songs with his brother Cal at a young age, the Dodd brothers eventually relocated to New York City during their teenage years. There, they performed in the Broadway hit, Rock-A-Bye Hamlet where they met the late, great Meat Loaf. Being impressed with Rory’s 4-octave vocal range and falsetto, Meat Loaf had him perform on the Bat Out Of Hell – the biggest selling album of Meat Loaf’s career, which went 14x platinum in the US alone!
Through this relationship, he was introduced to the late legend, Jim Steinman – songwriter and composer for the stars. For those unaware, Jim Steinman has worked with the who’s-who of the music industry and is behind some of the biggest songs from the 70s to the 90s.
Given Dodd’s incredible vocal talent, he became the go-to vocalist for a slew of Steinman’s projects. Through this affiliation, Dodd found himself swimming in a sea of collaborative gigs with some of the world’s biggest stars.
Throughout his career, Rory Dodd has accomplished many incredible feats with his vocal abilities. Meat Loaf and Steinman aside, Dodd has worked with greats such as Barry Manilow, Jon Bon Jovi, Lou Reed, Celine Dion, James Taylor and many more!
In 1981, Dodd reached #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 as lead vocalist on the Jim Steinman song “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through”. Two years later, in 1983, he performed on the top 3 songs in the US: Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at #1, “Making Love out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply at #2 and “Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel at #3.
Aside from singing with the stars, Rory Dodd was the singing voice for Rex and Tex, from the children’s show, Shiningtime Station, as well as several voiceovers in commercials, including Hungry Hungry Hippos.
– 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award –
John Smale is recognized for two important things in London’s art community: his passion for the arts as well as the support to foster it. In 1970, he opened SmalesPace, an iconic venue that blended his passion for the arts and his love for coffee. Its presence and values rippled throughout the community for generations to come.
Upon attending Western University (then known as the University Of Western Ontario) at the age of 17, he became enamoured by The Hub, an on-campus coffee shop. This inspired him to open a coffee shop of his own. John eyed a vacant garage located on Clarence St and it took it upon himself to rent the space, along with the support and backing of his brothers, Jim and Bob. Thus, SmalesPace came to be!
Unlike other shops of its ilk, this coffee shop offered something different. It was a speakeasy of sorts. An alcohol-free establishment for poets, singers, songwriters and artists of all sorts to come together and share ideas. It fostered a culture as enriching as the coffee itself and became a popular spot for coffee-goers to enjoy live music performances, poetry slams and other art-based spectacles by seasoned performers and newcomers alike.
After a solid five-year run, John relinquished SmalesPace to an interested party in 1975. They carried on the traditions and culture he started under a new name Change Of Pace, which ran for a few more years more. Throughout John’s tenure, the iconic cafe hosted Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLaughlin, Stan Rodgers, David Essig, The Good Brothers, Jackie Washington, Willie P. Bennett, among other esteemed folk performers.
In fact, London’s Home County Music And Festival, which began in 1974, drew upon SmalesPace’s roster of emerging folk artists for its inaugural performance. It’s safe to say SmalesPace’s legacy played a pivotal role in Home County’s humble beginnings, which is one of London’s largest festivals and economic forces for its art and entertainment industry. In fact, this year will mark Home County’s 48th summer in operation.
You can listen to John Smale’s YouTube podcast – SmalesPace – which takes a deep dive into London’s immeasurably rich art culture as well as providing insight into the historic venue itself.
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If you’d like to know more about London’s rich, musical history (of which there is plenty), check out the London Music Hall Of Fame, home to the Forest City London Music Awards.
Saturdays from 12:00pm – 5:00pm
182 Dundas Street,
Forest City London Music Awards
London Music Hall Of Fame