Blue Peter in concert in September 2009
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Rock, new wave, synthpop, alternative rock|
|Labels||Ready Records, Universal Records|
Blue Peter is a Canadian new wave synthpop band founded in 1978 in Markham, Ontario by Chris Wardman and Paul Humphrey. In their heyday, Blue Peter opened for major international acts such as the Police and Simple Minds. The video for "Don't Walk Past", directed by Rob Quartly, was No. 85 on MuchMusic's top videos of the century list, and was played on MTV in the United States, in spite of the lack of American record distribution for the band. The band continues to perform, on occasion.
Blue Peter was founded by guitarist/songwriter Chris Wardman and lead singer Paul Humphrey in the late 1970s, as a high school band. The initial lineup was rounded out by bassist Geoff McOuat and drummer Ron Tomlinson; this ensemble recorded Blue Peter's first EP, Test Patterns for Living, in 1979. In 1980, Mike Bambrick replaced Tomlinson on drums, and in the same year, the band released their first full-length album, Radio Silence.
Over the next couple of years, Blue Peter ran into difficulties with record labels and management, which led to them briefly releasing material on their own label, including "Chinese Graffiti" in 1981. Around this same time, McOuat left the band and was replaced by new bassist Ric Joudrey. After a year without label representation, Blue Peter returned to Ready Records in 1982, in time to release Up To You. "Chinese Graffiti" was included on the Up To You release, and won the band a CASBY Award (then known as the "U-Knows") for Single Of The Year in 1982.
When Falling was recorded, the band was fleshed out by the addition of Jason Sniderman on keyboards, and new drummer Owen Tennyson (replacing Bambrick). The album was their most successful, and would also prove to be their last. It spawned their biggest single, "Don't Walk Past", and its companion video, which won awards including "Best Video of 1983" from the Canadian Film and Television Association.Falling ranked 24th on CFNY's Top 83 of '83. "Don't Walk Past", was ranked at number 92 in CFNY's Best 102 of the Decade, published in 1990. After Falling, Blue Peter had some of the tracks, including "Don't Walk Past", remixed by engineer Kevin Doyle and released these remixes as Version in 1984. That same year, Blue Peter won another CASBY, this time for Male Vocalist of the Year, for Paul Humphrey.
Later in 1984, Blue Peter demoed several tracks for a proposed new album (tentatively entitled Vertigo), but the band broke up before the tracks were completed or released. In 1997, the band issued the "best-of" compilation All Through The Night which featured one newly overdubbed and mixed track from the Vertigo demo sessions called "Equalizer".
In 2006, Blue Peter reunited for a concert to commemorate the release of The Best of Ready :: 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection. The following year, the band reissued their catalog as three compilation CDs. The re-release of Falling included 8 of the Vertigo demos as bonus tracks.
Since then, the band has played a couple of concerts a year, including appearances at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009 to promote the movie Suck, which featured music by them on its soundtrack. In January 2011, Blue Peter performed at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto as part of Juno Decades: Songs of the '80s.
Blue Peter performed across Canada from 1979-1985. Some notable opening slots included the Boomtown Rats (Toronto at El Mocambo),the Jam (Toronto at the Concert Hall, and Ottawa), Simple Minds at (Massey Hall in Toronto, and Montreal) and The Police at "The Police Picnic '83" in Toronto. In 1984 the band played a sold out show at Toronto's Ontario Place Forum.