The Music of April Wine


Introduction to April Wine

April Wine is a Canadian classic rock band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, featuring the singing and songwriting of Myles Goodwyn.  The original band consisted of Goodwyn himself, brothers Ritchie and David Henman, along with their cousin Jim Henman.  Jim left after the first album “April Wine”, while Ritchie and David left during the recording of their third album “Electric Jewels.”  Myles Goodwyn put a new band together consisting of Myles, Gary Moffet, Jerry Mercer, and Jim Clench.  Right before their big years of gold and platinum records in 1978, one more change  was made, Jim Clench left the group and was replaced by Steve Lang.  Starting with their 1977 album The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy their next three albums were very successful reaching platinum status in Canada and gold status in the US.  In 1981 they had their biggest US hit single (#21 Billboard Hot 100) “Just Between You and Me.”  Other April Wine songs reaching the Hot 100 include “You Could Have Been a Lady,” “Roller,” “I Like to Rock,” “Sign of the Gypsy Queen,” “Enough is Enough” and “This Could Be the Right One.”  After a drop in popularity the band disbanded in 1985.  April Wine reunited in 1993 with former members Jim Clench, Jerry Mercer, Myles Goodwyn, Brian Greenway and Steve Segal.  The band’s last album was in 2006 and they continue to be a popular touring band drawing large crowds throughout the world.  Other April Wine Hit Song Include:  “Fast Train,” “Bad Side of the Moon,” “Lady Run, Lady Hide,” “I Wouldn’t Want to Lose Your Love,” “Tonight is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love,” “Oowatanite,” “The Whole World’s Gone Crazy,” “You Won’t Dance With Me,” “Say Hello,” “If You Believe in Me,” “That’s Love,” “Voice in My Heart,” “Night Life,” “Holiday,” “Talk to Me,” “Drivin’ with My Eyes Closed,” “I Am a Rock,” “Get Ready for Love,” Comin’ Down Right on Top of Me,” “Rock and Roll is a Vicious Game,” “Electric Jewels,” “Weeping Widow,” “I’m on Fire for You Baby,” “Like a Lover, Like a Song,” “Forever for Now” & “Rock Myself to Sleep.”

April Wine’s early musical years

Canadian rock band April Wine achieved commercial success especially in the 70s music and 80s music era, scoring hits such as “You Could Have Been a Lady” (1972), “Roller” (1979) and “Just Between You and Me” (1981) which was the band’s best known single. The founding members comprised of the Henman brothers David (guitarist) and Richie (drummer), their cousin Jim Henman (bassist) and Myles Goodwyn (vocalist, guitarist). Formed in late 1969 in Waverley, Nova Scotia (a suburb of Halifx), April Wine later moved to Montreal in the following year. They signed a recording contract with Aquarius Records and released their self-titled debut album. Its carrier single “Fast Train” became a favorite across the country, being constantly played on most radio stations.

April Wine making it big in the US

April Wine started to get attention when they issued their cover version Hot Chocolate’s original “You Could Have Been a Lady” in 1972. Prior to that, Jim Henman left the group and replaced by Jim Clench later in 1971. From their sophomore effort On Record, the song was the band’s first entry on the American Billboard Hot 100, making at #32. “You Could Have Been a Lady,” as expected, became a bigger hit in Canada as it went to #5 on the national charts. Elton John and his best songwriting partner Bernie Taupin penned the band’s next single “Bad Side of the Moon.” It became minor hit both in the US and Canada in late 1972. However, the album gained a gold record award in their native country.

Personnel changes occurred in the band’s formation during the third album’s recording process in 1973. Subsequently, the Henman brothers left the group when the album was about to finish. The remaining members Goodwyn and Clench had an audition and picked Jerry Mercer and Gary Moffet as their new drummer While the band was in the midst of recording their third album, the Henman brothers left. Because of this, Goodwyn and Clench held auditions and subsequently recruited Jerry Mercer and Gary Moffet as April Wine’s new drummer and guitarist, respectively. With the new formation, they went on to finish their third album which was to be titled Electric Jewels.

In 1973, April Wine issued their fourth album Stand Back which included the singles “Tonight Is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love” and “I Wouldn’t Want to Lose Your Love.” These songs helped the album to achieve the double platinum award in Canada. After a long time being in the band, Clench resigned and worked with other acts such as Loverboy and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. His position was filled by Steve Lang. The next two albums achieved platinum status as well: The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy (1976), Forever for Now (1977).

April Wine’s international success began in 1979, starting from the release of their seventh record First Glance. The two singles from the album became smash hits in Canada while the third single “Roller” made to Billboard Hot 100 at #34. The album also gained a slot on the Billboard album chart as well. Their previous album’s success helped their ninth studio album Harder… Faster to become another certified platinum seller.

As far as the band’s career is concerned, it looks like April Wine’s success would be sustained, at least in the first half of the 1980s. They were trying to follow up the success of the their album Harder… Faster. In 1981, they broke through with the song “Just between You and Me.” It ranked at #21 on the US chart that it made as April Wine most successful single, and has become an oldies music/rock classic. Their ninth album The Nature of the Beast was the band’s first album to achieve platinum status outside Canada. In 1982, their tenth album Power Play was released. While it failed to match the success of the band’s previous albums, their Power Play tour turned out to be one of the most successful live gigs in their career.

Their next album Animal Grace didn’t fare well either, as did its single “This Could Be the Right One.” Seeing that things would come to an end for the group, April Wine held their last series of concerts named The Farewell Tour. Surprisingly, the tour did well enough to be issued as a live album (One for the Word). By the time they released their final album  Walking Through Fire, the members had already been doing their own affairs.

Later years

April Wine performed in one stage once again in 1992 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. They continued to release several records from the early 1990’s to mid-2000’s: Attitude (1993), Frigate (1994), Back to the Mansion (2001) and Greatest Hits Live 2000. In 2006, Aquarius Records issued a compilation of the band’s greatest songs called April Wine Rocks! In 2010, they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The long-time member of April Wine Jim Clench was claimed by stage 4 lung cancer on November 3, 2010. Nonetheless, the band has continued to perform up to the present, with newer members.

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