Origin: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Harlequin. Winnipeg rock band, formed in 1975. Personnel in its heyday, the early 1980s, comprised founding members Gary Golden (keyboards), Ralph James (bass) and David Budzak (drums) as well as the vocalist George Belanger and the guitarist Glen Willows. Harlequin's first three LPs for Epic, Victim of a Song (PEC-90566), Love Crimes (PEC-80048) and One False Move (PEC-80066), released 1979-82, sold in total more than 350,000 copies. The band performed in clubs and concerts across Canada during this period and appeared in the USA (touring on its own and opening for Triumph and John Waite), Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Harlequin, whose music was described as 'inoffensive, nice-guy rock' and 'clean, catchy and marketable' (Roman Cooney, Calgary Herald, 27 Sep 1982), had minor Canadian hits with the singles 'Innocence' (1981) and 'Superstitious Feeling' and 'I Did It for Love' (1982). Two further Epic LPs followed, Harlequin (PEC-80096) in 1984 and a greatest-hits package, Radio Romances (PEC-80115), in 1986; the latter was expanded and re-issued on CD (Greatest Hits, CBS WEK-80134) in 1989. Although the band's popularity waned after 1983, Belanger, Willows and others were still active as Harlequin on the national college and club circuit in 1990.
Harlequin was disbanded in 1985, but in 2004 was resurrected as Harlequin II. Each year, the Western Canadian Music Awards inducts musicians from the Award's host province to the WCMA Hall of Fame. In 2006 the awards were held in Manitoba and the original Harlequin band members were inducted to the WCMA Hall of Fame.