Famed singer Terry Black dies at 60

By JASON HEWLETT

Daily News Staff Reporter

A singer once known as "the Canadian Fabian" died in his home in Kamloops on the weekend.

Terry Black, 60, succumbed to Multiple Sclerosis, a disease he had fought for about a year.

Pam Tedder, Black's partner of 16 years, said he died at the couple's Sahali home Sunday morning.

"The MS kicked him hard. It took away a lot of his ability to do things," said Tedder.

She spent the day Monday contacting friends and family and planning a memorial service for Black, which takes place Friday at St. Andrews on the Square at 2 p.m.

"It's been very tough," she said of Black's death.

Many in Kamloops might recognize Black from his stint as co-host of The '60s at Six with Howie Reimer on Radio NL, where he provided colour commentary about the musicians featured on the show.

Most radio hosts need to research their material in advance, but Black experienced much of the '60s music scene first hand.

"This guy was a huge talent back in the '60's. He was one of the first guys to have a million seller (record)," said Reimer.

"He knew the who's who of music, especially in the United States."

What impressed Reimer was Black's lack of ego. He said Black had many stories to tell about the stars he met during his time in Hollywood and on tour.

But while these stories were frequently told off the air, Reimer had to pry the stories out of him during the show.

"He didn't want to sound like he was name dropping," he said. "He was very, very humble."

Black started singing as a teenager on the Vancouver music show Dance Party in the early 1960s and was signed to a recording contract with ARC records in 1964 when he was only 15.

Unless You Care, his first single for ARC, featured then-session guitarist Glen Campbell, who would later find his own fame as a pop singer. Leon Russell and Hal Blaine also played on Black recordings.

That was followed with Only Sixteen the very next year, in 1965. The same year, ARC Records released a collection of his singles in an album called Only 16/Poor Little Fool, after his biggest hits.

By now, Black was Canada's number one teen singing sensation. In addition to his hit singles, he went on tour across Canada. But a job transfer within his family was to play a major role in accelerating his career.

The Black family moved from Vancouver to Hollywood in 1966, and Terry's popularity now spread from Canada into the U.S. music world.

Touted as the next Fabian or Frankie Avalon, he was tabbed for a singing movie role as Elvis Presley's younger brother, but contractual obligations to ARC Records back in Canada interfered.

However, ARC immediately put out another album - perhaps his most famous - called The Black Plague.

In 1970, Black met and married singer Laurel Ward, and they recorded together for the next several years. The couple had two children but eventually divorced.

Tedder and Black met in Vancouver and moved to Kamloops about seven years ago. Tedder said she and Black vacationed here often and she has family in Kamloops.

"He loved it here. He loved the people of Kamloops," she said.

"We were quiet. We were low key. We really enjoyed each other's company," Tedder said of their life in Kamloops.

Black had recently turned to painting as a form of artistic expression. And although he hadn't performed in years, he continued to love music and write songs.

Jim Reynolds is operations manager at Radio NL. He heard Black's recent songs and tried to convince him to MP3 the music to other radio stations. Black didn't seem interested, he said.

"He was always making the music but never paying all that much attention to trying to sell it to people. He was just that kind of guy," said Reynolds.

"You would expect a guy who had been through what he had been through to have a humungous ego, but he didn't."

The Canadian Pop Encyclopedia said Black won Male Vocalist of the Year in the 1964 Maple Music Awards.

His hit songs included Everyone Can Tell, Little Liar, and There's Something About you.

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