The Nothern Pikes – “Hits”

The Northern Pikes were founded in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1983 out of the relics of such three Canadian prairie bands, The Idols, Seventeen Envelope, and Doris Daye. The band released two self-financed independent albums: ‘The Northern Pikes’ and ‘Scene In North America’ that attracted the attention of Virgin Records Canada who were in the process of expanding into Canada and looking for some Canadian acts to sign to the label. Signed to a 6 album international deal in 1985, their major label debut was the album, ‘Big Blue Sky’ and it contained the first single and video “Teenland” followed by “The Things I Do For Money”. In that same year the band opened for headlining tours by Duran Duran, David Bowie and The Fixx vaulting them into the world of international stardom.

The band’s next album, ‘Secrets Of The Alibi’ was ignored by critics and given less than complimentary reviews but British pop star, Robert Palmer saw potential in the band and had them as opening slot on his 1989 North American tour. In 1990, ‘Snow In June’ was the third major release and this album was sort of a comeback boasted three Top-40 hits/videos “She Ain’t Pretty”, “Girl With A Problem”, and “Kiss Me You Fool”. This album pulled out all the stops with mixes by Hugh Padgham & Bob Clearmountain and production by Rick Hutt, Fraser Hill & the Pikes themselves. The album also an impressive roster special guest performers including Garth Hudson (The Band) and John Sebastian (Lovin’ Spoonful). Despite all of the attention the album received, Virgin America passed on the US release of the album and the band ended up having it released by Scotti Brothers in 1991. The album would go on to sell double platinum much to Virgin’s loss.

In 1992 the band released the album ‘Neptune’ to very little fanfare as the popularity of the Pikes began to dwindle. The album sank without a trace but at the end of 1993 they released a live album called ‘Gig’ with songs taken from a set of the band’s last shows together.

In 1993 band leader Jay Semko quit in frustration and the Northern Pikes were no more. Hits and Assorted secrets compiles eighteen songs from the band’s Virgin label recording career as released between 1984 to 1993. All of the band’s hit singles are included on this album along with three previously unreleased tracks and two live songs from their independent days recorded in 1993. This is the first compilation of Northern Pikes material and it is a fitting reminder of how good this band really was on both sides of the border. The detailed liner notes with this package gives the background of each song as well as reproductions of original album covers and a complete band discography is included.

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