Life


Life in RPM magazine, June 16, 1969
Neil Sheppard (Producer) line up AB
Michael Ship (Keyboards, Vocals) line up AB
Marty Simon (Drums, Keyboards, Vocals) line up AB
Danny Zimmerman (Bass) line up AB
Jean Pierre Lauzon (Guitar) line up AB
Barry Albert (Guitar) line up AB
Clockwise from top: Danny Zimmerman, Marty Simon, Mike Ship and Barry AlbertNeil Sheppard (real name Neil Ship) was a Brill Building songwriter who was trying to get his songs promoted with a group. Sheppard wrote all of the songs and produced Life’s lone album, released in spring 1970.

In the early 1960s, Simon and Zimmerman had worked together in Montreal group, Marty Simon and The Capris and The Humdingers before forming The Scene.

Formed from the ashes of The Scene, the original line up was completed with Sheppard’s brother Michael Ship on keyboards and lead vocals, guitarist J P Lauzon (ex-Carnival Connection) and former Bartholomew Plus Three guitarist Barry Albert. Lauzon and Albert alternated lead guitar and rhythm on the band’s recordings.

The group’s debut single, a cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”, with an arrangement by Marty Simon, was a fascinating record with jazzy feel and featured Lauzon’s exquisite flamenco guitar solo. However, it did not do much chart wise (entered RPM on May 9, 1970, reached number 83 and charted for 5 weeks). Its follow up, “Hands of The Clock”, featuring Albert’s lead guitar intro, was the band’s only hit, reaching #19 on the RPM chart in August 1969, and charted for 12 weeks.

Life played at the First Montreal Bi-Cultural Pop Festival in June 1969, which was held at the Montreal Forum and featured Triangle, Robert Charlebois and headliner Steppenwolf.

The group’s lone album, which features contributions from Englishman Malcolm Tomlinson on flute from Milkwood, was recorded on four-track and then transferred to the first eight track in Canada by Andre Perry.

Towards the end of 1969, Simon left Life and moved to Los Angeles to work with a new group. The rest of the band carried on as After Life but split up in early 1970.

Simon and Lauzon reunited in Mylon Le Fevre. Simon later moved to the UK and formed Sharks with former Free bass player Andy Fraser.

Recordings
45 Strawberry Fields Forever/Come Into My Life (Polydor 540-005) 1969
45 Hands of The Clock/Ain’t I Told You Before (Polydor 540-009) 1969
45 Sweet Lovin’/Desire (Polydor 540-013) 1970
45 Needing You/Loving Time (Polydor 540-017) 1970
LP Life (Polydor 2424-001) 1970

Copyright © Nick Warburton, January 2009 All Rights Reserved

Many thanks to Marty Simon for his contributions. Hands of the Clock sleeve, RPM and CFCF scans courtesy of Ivan Amirault.

Photo of the band from Marc Denis’ Rock Radio Scrapbook


U.S. release
 


RPM, April 14, 1969
RPM, April 21, 1969
RPM, May 5, 1969

CFCF, April 25, 1969

CFCF, May 9, 1969

CFCF, July 4, 1969

CFCF, July 11, 1969

Life on the cover of RPM, July 14, 1969

CFCF, August 8, 1969

CFCF, November 7, 1969

RPM, November 29, 1969

2 thoughts on “Life”

  1. Wonderful job researching these obscure Montreal act! I really enjoyed your insights on Life (The Scene), Influence & Marble Hall!!

    I’ll try posting the second Distric Ouest on Patrimoine PQ later this month. It’s much smoother and poppier than the 1st and was written under a new lineup. Fun fact: When “Disques Soleil” was forced by Montreal’s headchurch to withdraw any exisiting copies of Le District Ouest 1st 45, due to the b-side “Le Cardinal” (somehow then-judged “blasphemous” towards the popular Cardinal Léger), they were reused as promotional items by Quebec’s Yum-Yum potato chips brand. You’d buy a large bag and find a surprise mint copy of it inside! Sweet!

    Cheers,

    S.ebastien
    Patrimoine PQ

  2. Great info. I enjoy reading and sharing these with my buddies. As a former cover band member (like so many were in the 60s), it’s always of interest to learn more about the origins and the whereabouts of all the bands than came and went during the fabulous 60s and 70s!

    Thanks!
    Bill Wilkat

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