LaRiviere, Hank (Hank Rivers)
Origin: Hawkesbury, Ontario
Awarded for his outstanding contribution to the Canadian Country Music Industry by the CMA/Canadian Music Association
"I’ve roamed this wide country boys, both near and far, wherever I travel I take my guitar..." from Hank's Centennial Travels
Born in Hawkesbury ON. and raised in Ottawa from the age of 3, his mother bought him his first guitar for his 12th birthday. Hank LaRiviere began his music career at 17, and recorded his first record in 1933.
One of Canada’s top notch artist/composer/singer, radio and television recording star, he was first signed by Hugh Joseph to RCA Victor in Montreal in 1939. While in the army Hank’s first stint on 78 records led him to become “ The Singing Soldier” and to recording "Hurrah for Camp Borden", "Oh, But I’am Happy in the Army", "Northern Cannon Ball", and "Soldiers Farewell".
Three artists were signed in the 40’s to RCA Victor Blue Bird Records: Hank Snow, Wilf Carter, Hank LaRiviere. Wilf Carter featured Gene Autry , Hawkshaw Hawkins, Hank Snow, Hank LaRiviere on the “ Wilf Carter Tour” in the 50’s. While on tour in the early 80’s Wilf stopped in the Ottawa Valley, which brought two great artist’s together once again.
"Maple Sugar Sweetheart" was Hank's top song which was also recorded by Mac Wiseman, Doc Williams, and Ramblin' Lou. Ward Allen wrote the music and called it “Maple Sugar”, and Hank wrote the words and called it Maple Sugar Sweetheart. Go to YouTube , key in Hank LaRiviere. His song is played along with Mac Wiseman rendition.
In the 1950s the hit ” Stop Look & Listen” was born for Hank. The recording featured a “B” side sung in French. "Stop, Look and Listen", along with “ Sister Mary”, were re-recorded by Ted Daigle, CKBY program director and writer/musician. Ted, who was also Associate Producer on Hank’s album “Centennial Travels”, was Hank’s dearest friend and encouraged him throughout his career, thank you Ted.
Hank and Sneezy Waters were also featured with Paul Henry Dallaire on a song called "For You My Love, My Canada".
In 1948, Hank was the featured vocalist on the CBC Dominion radio network program The Western Five, broadcast from the Chateau Laurier Building in Ottawa, doing 2 shows a week for 2 yrs. The program was broadcast throughout the world on the CBC band which brought him fan mail from England, Scotland, Germany, France, Australia, Texas and Canada.
Hank played at the Calgary Stampede and was featured on the morning radio show for 15 minutes opening up with a song he wrote "Were Heading for the Calgary Stampede”.
The most rewarding period of his career was in the 1960's which saw him promoting another hit “Confederation Train" by playing the Exhibitions in Ottawa and Toronto, at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern, and at Montreal’s Expo 67. His travels brought about another album, “ Hank’s Centennial Travels”. The album contained a collection of songs, one from each province . It was used in "Canada - The First One Hundred Years” which was featured on the Centennial Caravan train that traveled the country from coast to coast. At the same time The Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67, with its myriad of international visitors and tourists, featured the music of “ Centennial Travels”.
Grateful appreciation is extended to the many people contributing to Hank Rivers career , for their assistance and cooperation in keeping Hank’s name alive. Hank would have shared with you, first and foremost, the love of his fans and the people who followed his career in the Country Music World allowing him to live his dream in the country he loved so dearly.
Our deepest thank you to the Royal Canadian Legion, Montgomery branch #351 c/o Luke Harris & Performing Artists, for their presentation, “A Tribute to the Singing Soldier, Hank Rivers/LaRiviere 50 yrs. a Legend", on February 11,1996. Donations from the show went to support the Alzheimer Society, for people like Hank.
Excerpts and pictures taken from Hank’s archives owned by his daughter Sue, also, written excerpts taken from The Ottawa Citizen correspondent Susan Beyer.
● Hank Rivers Repertoire 01/23/1917 - 05/07/1996 includes:
- 4-78 records
- 5 Albums
- 10 singles on 45 records - 8 of which were not on albums
- 1 MP3
● Honors and Written Tributes:
- The Honorable, then Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, Feb.11-1996
- Awarded: Inductee into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame, 1984 / Archives of Canada.
- Nomination: The Order of Canada, late 80s. By a dear and long time friend, Robert Gilchrist / 90’s.
- The Canadian Press by: Sylvia Strojek names Hank Rivers/LaRiviere as one of Canada’s top singer/yodelers.
- Book news: Harris B. Productions- 50 yrs. a Great Legend, 1985.
- Street news: Honored by, Minto Homes: Hank Rivers Dr. Ottawa Ontario.
- Wilf Carter, Tommy Hunter, Larry Payne, producer of the Hank Williams, film "The Show he Never Gave" all in c/o Luke Harris.
- K.B. Productions - featured on 5 of diamonds, deck of cards, a unique collection of 52 Canadian Country Music Artists, Deck of cards 1985
● Ted Daigle of CKBY radio presents: Christmas in the Valley, Hank was featured in one of 5 hour segments singing songs he wrote including
"Santa Claus Rides To-night and "A Christmas Dream"
● The National Film Board of Canada, featured Hank, in a film, producer: Peter Evanchuck, presented “Platinum”, at the “ Montreal World Film
● TV appearances in the 1960’S & 1970'S:
- Carl Smith Show,
- Tommy Hunter Show,
- The Family Brown Show CJOH-60’S & 70”S
● Radio & News paper interviews and reviews too numerous to acknowledge individually
● Photo, Courtesy of Bill Legere, "Hank Williams meets Hank Rivers", Ottawa Citizen. 1980’s: by Irene Williams Smith, “Hanks corner.”
Dedication : Let my father’s new song "Chan Bronte’ Meets Billy the Kid" (now available on iTunes) be dedicated to our Mother Marion LaRiviere. She asked, on behalf of the family, that all proceeds from the song of be forwarded to The Alzheimer Society of Canada in Hank’s name, Hank Rivers/LaRiviere.
God bless you’ Mother.
Many, many, thanks for your support over the years.
- Biography by: Sue Rivers