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Canada’s First A&R Man Paul White Has Passed Away

TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) Former Capitol Records of Canada executive Paul White passed away peacefully today at 3 P.M. at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

White had earlier suffered several cardiac arrests in the morning.

His wife Valerie passed away in 2016.

Born in Weston-Super-Mare, a seaside town in Somerset, England, on the Bristol Channel in 1933, White had just turned 85 on March 6th.

“Paul White was one of the most remarkable people to work in the Canadian music industry,” says CelebrityAccess senior editor Larry LeBlanc who first met the A&R pioneer in 1965. “He championed both the artists of his UK homeland—from Sir Cliff Richard to the Beatles–as well as being pivotal in developing the first wave of Canadian popular artists in the ‘60s to be recognized internationally.”

When White arrived in Canada from England in 1957, he was an out-of-work reporter with dreams of working at the Toronto Star or The Toronto Telegram. However, he was rejected and informed that he had no journalistic experience.

Instead, he found a shipping job at Capitol Records of Canada where he worked his way up to the order desk and then into a promotions position.

From 1957 to 1978, White worked at different jobs at Capitol Canada, including as marketing manager, and as head of the A&R department. In the early years of the A&R division, White wore two hats, acting as both the promotions manager and A&R manager.

It was White who signed Anne Murray, Edward Bear, Jack London & the Sparrow (later renamed Steppenwolf), the Staccatos (renamed Five Man Electrical Band, Pierre Lalonde, the Ugly Ducklings, and David Clayton-Thomas.

White signed Murray to a five-year deal with Capitol Records Canada, and released her multi-million selling album, “This Way Is My Way,” featuring the international hit “Snowbird.”

Following Capitol Canada, White worked at Murray-owned Balmur Ltd, and at BMG Music Canada in executive positions.

It was White who first positioned Canada as a global music trendsetter.

As part of his A&R duties at Capitol Canada, White reviewed releases from EMI Records in the U.K. for possible release in Canada. In Jan., 1963, he received a stack of singles, including the Beatles’ “Love Me Do” which had been released on Parlophone Records in the U.K. on Oct. 5, 1962.

Bolstered by White’s support, Capitol Canada released “Love Me Do” on Feb. 4, 1963.

It was the first true Beatles’ single released in North America.

It flopped.

Two more Beatles’ singles, “Please Please Me” and “From Me To You” followed, but sales were also tepid.

The next single “She Loves You”—actually rejected by Capitol U.S.–became a huge seller in Canada.

Capitol Canada had resisted releasing the Beatles’ first album, “Please Please Me.” However, with the success of “She Loves You,” a reworked version of their second album, “With The Beatles,” was issued in Canada as “Beatlemania! With The Beatles” on Nov. 25, 1963,

It was the first Beatles album released in North America.

Sandy Gardiner, an editor and entertainment writer for the Ottawa Journal, was responsible for the name of the album, and provided a colorful quote on the jacket: “A new disease is sweeping through Britain… and doctors are powerless to stop it…it’s Beatlemania! This Liverpool group play to packed houses wherever they go…”

Gardiner, a native of Glasgow, had visited Britain in early 1963 and had written an article spotted by Paul White which suggested that the Beatles were poised to take the world by storm. He called the phenomenon, “Beatlemania.”

As part of the first A&R division in Canada, White established the Capitol 6000 series. The series featured Matt Monro, Helen Shapiro, Frank Ifield, the Shadows, the Yardbirds, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Hollies, and the Animals.