Wayne St. John

On episode 97 I played Fightin' On The Side of Love by THP Orchestra, featuring vocalist Wayne St. John, on my time capsule special for the month of November 1976. Vince Aletti tipped the song in his November 20th Disco File column, writing that it

is a solid message song (could have been done by the Trammps) with a full, driving production that sounds especially hot on the instrumental side. Both sides are very strong and the lead vocals have a Boz Scaggs edge. Worth searching for.

You can check out the short, long, and instrumental versions on YouTube.

Of course, THP Orchestra was one of the major Canadian disco acts, lead by producers Willi Morrison and Ian Guenther. Curiously, this song never made it onto one of their albums, maybe because it included a featured vocalist, but the single sold 90,000 units, according to Wayne St. John's website.

Wayne St. John has enjoyed a long career as a working musician in Canada (detailed bio on his archived website) right up to today (Toronto's Jingle King still crooning | Toronto Star 2016). Among the highlights in the early part of career are playing the leads in the Toronto production of the musical Hair between 1969 and 1971 (Toronto Star photo 1 and photo 2) and singing in the ensemble of Keith Hampshire's Music Machine on CBC. You can see him take some solos in this video at 9:36. Giving you a sense of his artistic orientation, I love this quote from the 2016 Toronto Star article:

“I’m wide open,” he says, pointing to a Chinese gong hanging in the corner of his apartment. It’s from the set of Hair. “If you get a chance to hit a gong, I say take it. It helps you soak things up. Like a jingle.”

Comments