Tobias, Ken

Ken (Kenneth Wayne Paul) Tobias. Songwriter, popular singer, b Saint John, NB, 25 July 1945. Raised in Saint John, Ken Tobias briefly worked as a draftsman and from 1961 played guitar in the local folk band The Ramblers, and drums in the rock band Badd Cedes. Moving to Halifax in 1965, he appeared often on CBC television's Music Hop, and was a cast member of Singalong Jubilee 1966-8, singing his own compositions and duets with Anne Murray. In 1968 he met Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, who took him to Los Angeles. Tobias worked there as a salaried songwriter, returned to Canada (Montreal), then re-established himself in Los Angeles with MGM/Verve, despite his intense dislike of major recording companies. In 1970 he penned the ballad "Stay Awhile," which as recorded by Montreal group The Bells sold over two million copies and went No. 1 in Canada and No. 7 in the US.

Tobias settled in Toronto in 1972, playing with various backing bands in Ontario and New York clubs, and also appearing with the Everly Brothers. With his brother and manager Tony Tobias, he established the publishing company Gloosecap Music and embarked on a brief but successful career as recording artist. He toured in Canada in the 1970s and undertook a European tour in 1978. His many Canadian television appearances include the René Simard and Denny Doherty shows.

Recordings

Tobias recorded his first solo album, Tobias/Dream No. 2, and the successful single "Dream No. 2" in 1972. His single, "I Just Want to Make Music," a statement of the songwriter's work ethic, became a Canadian top ten hit in 1973. Tobias recorded his next album, the country-rock The Magic's in the Music, in London, England for George Martin's AIR Studios in 1973. For Attic Records, Tobias next recorded the albums Every Bit of Love (1975), Siren Spell (1976), and Street Ballet (1977). The Ken Tobias Collection - So Far... So Good was issued in 1978; the 1984 recordings Ken Tobias - Friends (a children's record) and Gallery were his last albums.

Tobias's albums typically contained his own compositions, sung in a naturally-produced tenor especially suited to light rock. His hit songs painted attractive aural landscapes featuring memorable melodies, evocative imagery, creative subject matter, and skilful construction. Although Tobias was often called a folk singer, he is more accurately categorized as an adult contemporary singer-songwriter. His influences included Donovan, Neil Sedaka, Elvis Presley and Vera Lynn.

Later Years
Ken Tobias had ceased recording by 1984. He wrote film and television scores through the 1980s-90s, occasionally produced recordings, and successfully took up painting. He returned to live in Saint John in 2004 and makes festival appearances throughout the Maritime provinces.

Recognition
Ken Tobias's songs were recorded by Cliff Edwards; Anne Murray ("Some Birds," on her first album); Susan Jacks ("Dream No. 2"); US actress Lindsey Wagner; and by British, French, and Italian musicians. He received numerous BMI certificates; PRO Canada's 1988 Crystal Award; and SOCAN Classic awards for 100,000 airplays on domestic radio ("Give a Little Love," "Dream No. 2," "Every Bit of Love," "Stay Awhile," and "I Just Want to Make Music").