Bernie LaBarge

Bernie LaBarge

Bernie LaBarge (born Ottawa, Ontario on March 11 1953) is a Canadian guitarist, singer, and songwriter.


Bernie LaBarge began studying guitar at age 11, shortly after seeing The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 9 1964. Bernie has been playing professionally since 1967. He was the frontman and/or guitarist for many popular bands in Ontario, Canada (Bond, Rain, Sweet Blindness, Zwol, Stem, Stingaree, George Olliver). Bernie was nominated for Most Promising Male Vocalist at the 1984 Juno Awards for his album entitled "Barging In" (Sony). That album is currently available in Europe on Long Island Records. Bernie has released records on Warner Bros., Sony, BMG, and various independent labels, and performed on tour and recordings with The Irish Rovers, Kim Mitchell, Ian Tyson, Frank Biner of Tower of Power, Long John Baldry, Doug Riley, Dione Taylor, George Canyon, Cassandra Vasik, Joel Feeney, David Clayton-Thomas, and others. Bernie has composed and/or performed on many North American and Worldwide jingles i.e. Coke, Pepsi, GM, Ford, and Nissan (his singing can be heard on the Coke jingle which opens up the original Batman Video). Bernie has written songs for Long John Baldry, The Irish Rovers, Lisa Price, The Good Brothers, and many others. Bernie won the Canadian Songwriting Contest in 1986 (Best R&B Song category). "Dream Away" (produced by Daniel Lanois) was one of the most-played songs of 1981, and still receives extensive airplay. Bernie played guitar on TV shows shown worldwide such as Fraggle Rock (a Jim Henson production), Care Bears (with John Sebastian), Twilight Zone (with David Cassidy), Danger Bay, Smith & Smith (starring Steve Smith (comedian)), and Party with The Rovers, backing up artists such as Roger Miller, B.J. Thomas, Andy Gibb, Boxcar Willie and many others. Bernie has worked extensively with Jack Richardson (record producer), who produced The Guess Who, Alice Cooper, The Irish Rovers, Bob Seger, and Poco. As lead guitarist for The Dexters, Off The Record, Stem, and The Stickmen, Bernie performed at The Orbit Room in Toronto from 1994 until 2004. The Orbit Room is co-owned by Alex Lifeson, one of the founders of Rush. Bernie holds the record for the most performances at The Orbit Room...more than 1,000 appearances. Bernie is also the guitarist for The Doodlebops TV show, which is released worldwide, and he also plays on the new Hockey Night in Canada anthem, chosen on October 11, 2008.


Bernie LaBarge's influences include Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, James Burton, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Albert King, Domenic Troiano, Steve Cropper, Jeff Beck, Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, Robin Trower, Howard Roberts, Elliott Randall, Rick Derringer, Elliot Easton, Peter Frampton, Gary Moore, and Peter Green.

Partial discography

* Catwalk - Rain (1972 single Axe Records)
* Louise - Rain (1973 single Axe Records)
* Dream Away - Bernie LaBarge (1981 WEA single, produced by Daniel Lanois)
* Long John Baldry - Long John Baldry (EMI 1980)
* Effective Immediately - Zwol (EMI 1981)
* Time Stands Still - Christopher Ward (1981)
* Thrillz - Zwol - (A&M 1982)
* Gowan - Lawrence Gowan (1982)
* Two Hound Blues - King Biscuit Boy (1982)
* Love Me Closer - Hagood Hardy (1982 Attic Records)
* Priceless - Lisa Price (1983)
* Barging In - Bernie LaBarge (Sony 1983)
* Can't Hold On Forever - Bernie LaBarge (1983 single)
* Champions - Canadian Brass (1983 Sony)
* Overnight Sensation - Bernie LaBarge (1984 single)
* 2W0 - Strange Advance (1984)
* Listen to a Boy In Love - Bernie LaBarge (1985 single)
* Heartbeat - Priscilla Wright (1985 Attic Records)
* The Passerby - Tony Kosinec (1985)
* Turn On the Lights Before You Leave - Bernie LaBarge (1987 RCA single)
* Aural Fixations - Kim Mitchell (1992)
* Some Other Time - Tim Thorney (1993)
* Mothers of Hope - John James (Attic 1994)
* Hip to the Tip - The Dexters (1995)
* Feels Like Home - Cassandra Vasik (1995)
* Greatest Hits - Kim Mitchell 1996
* All The Good'uns - Ian Tyson (1996)
* Much Too Late - The Danny B Blues Band (1996)
* Life is But a Dream - Joel Feeney (1996)
* Mother and Child - Paige Stroman (2000)
* Side One - The Stickmen (2002)
* Suzana Da Câmara- Suzana Da Câmara (2003)
* Different - Cassandra Vasik (2003)
* Side Two - The Stickmen (2003)
* A Musical Biography - David Clayton-Thomas (2006)
* I Love Being Here With You - Dione Taylor (2006)
* Christmas Lullabies - Paige Stroman (2007)
* Jon Levine Band - Jon Levine Band (2007)
* Classics - George Canyon (2007)
* You Can't Make Peace - Riley / B / LaBarge (2007)
* Sing - Theo Tams (Sony/BMG 2008)


* Bernie is the nephew of Canadian historian Margaret Wade Labarge.
* Bernie's stage name with The Dexters is 'Bernie Dexter'. Alex Lifeson and Bernie often play together at The Orbit Room. Bernie nicknamed Alex "Big Al Dexter". (Alex is co-owner of The Orbit Room).
* Bernie is a huge fan of The Simpsons.
* Bernie is a card-carrying member of Mensa International.
* Bernie is left-handed, but he plays the guitar right-handed. The guitar is strung in the traditional method. "Before I held my first real guitar, I played the broomstick left-handed, but the moment I was given my first guitar it sat in my lap in the right-handed position", says Bernie.
* Bernie played a Gibson Les Paul and Fender Rhodes piano on "Dream Away". The bass player was Jeff Jones (musician), now famous for his work with Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. The drummer was Jim Vallance, now a famous songwriter / producer for the likes of Bryan Adams and Aerosmith. Just imagine..on that one session...Daniel Lanois, Bernie LaBarge, Jim Vallance, and Jeff Jones (musician). Now "that's" how you make a hit record!
* In the 1980s, Bernie was the only Toronto session man who made his living by singing and also playing guitar on jingles and recording sessions.

Bernie's Bands

1967 - The Underground Taxi Service

1968 - 1969 - The Royal Banke

1969 - 1972 - Stem

1972 - 1973 - Rain

1973 - 1974 - The Jax 'n Lynda

1974 - George Olliver's Blue-Eyed Brotherhood

1974 - 1975 - Hot Dog

1975 - 1976 - Whizz

1976 - 1977 - Stingaree

1978 - 1979 - Bond

1979 - Sweet Blindness

1980 - Zwol

1980 - 1981 - Kearney, King, McBride & LaBarge

1983 - 1990 - The Irish Rovers

1987 - Mind Over Matter

1989 - 1996 - The Danny B Blues Band

1992 - 1994 - Cassandra Vasik

1994 - 2006 - The Dexters

1999 - 2000 - The Incontinentals

1999 - 2002 - Off The Record

2002 - 2006 - The Stickmen

2005 - present - David Clayton-Thomas

External links

* [ Bernie LaBarge Official Site]
* [ Bernie LaBarge at The Canadian Encyclopedia]

NAME = Labarge, Bernie
DATE OF BIRTH = March 11 1953
PLACE OF BIRTH = Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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