Anyone involved in the Canadian music industry for any length of time inevitably ran into Deane Cameron. Few people championed homegrown music as much as he did.
Once a drummer with a band called Harvest, he later transitioned to the business side of things, beginning with a job in in the warehouse of EMI Music Canada. He steadily worked his way up to become VP of A&R where he went on a signing spree of domestic talent.
Econoline Crush, The Tea Party, I Mother Earth, The Watchmen, Moist, Johnny Reid, 13 Engines, John McDermott, Kim Stockwood, The Rankin Family and many more ended up with successful careers on EMI.
By 1988, Deane was president and CEO of EMI, a position he held until 2012. After the label’s demise (thanks to the incompetence of its masters in the UK), Deane became the president and CEO of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, where he became the driving force behind Massey Hall’s current massive renovation project.
Most recently, I worked with Deane when he was a member of the board of directors of the music video channel, Vintage-TV. No wonder people called him “Captain Canada.” And no wonder he was made a Member of the Order of Canada for all he did for the arts and music.
Yesterday, Deane was out for a walk near his cottage last week when he was felled by a massive heart attack. He was 65.
Deane was a true gentleman, a friend of Canadian music and supporter of all things Canadian. He will be missed very, very badly.
His funeral is today (Friday, May 24) at (appropriately) Roy Thompson Hall. His family requested all donations go to MusiCounts, the organization that puts musical instruments in schools.