The early 80s was an important time for Canadian music. After a decade of building the necessary infrastructure for a strong domestic music industry, we started producing more and more acts capable of not just doing well within our borders but also internationally. It would take a few more years before Canada really busted out onto the world stage, but the bands of the early 80s pointed towards something great.
One of those bands was Blue Peter, a Toronto synthpop group that came to be identified with the Queen Street West scene. Headed by Paul Humphrey and Chris Wardman, they had a series of alt-rock hits between 1979 and 1983. Back in the day, they were staples of the CFNY playlist (Paul won a CASBY for Best Male Vocalist in 1984) while they found opening slots for everyone from the Boomtown Rats to Simple Minds to The Police.
Unfortunately, record label problems and internal issues brought the band to an end in the middle 80s. There were a few reunion dates since then, but everyone went on to other projects. Chris Wardman became one of the city’s most in-demand indie producers while Paul recorded a series of solo projects, including one with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He also worked as an actor in a few TV series.
Paul then ran into health issues with something called multiple system atrophy, a rare degenerative neurological condition that plagued him for years. On April 4, 2021, he passed away.
The tributes came quickly.