Richard Patterson died today

Richard Patterson (left) and Harvey Glatt
Spring, 2010
Photo by Bruce La Rochelle

Harvey Glatt just now advising me and others via e-mail. Met Richard over the past year, courtesy of Harvey taking me out to see him. A pivotal musician to Canadian music, largely forgotten in his later years, and not known by certain generations in any event.

He was a member of The Esquires, among several other well-known Canadian bands. The Esquires being the very first recipients of what became known as the Juno Awards. He was also a music archivist, contributing much to the knowledge of others of the history of Canadian music.

There is much to write about Richard Patterson. Not my place; I’m on the later sidelines here, at best, assuming that I am even in this particular stadium at all. All I know is that I remain very honoured to have met him, once and for the first and last time, over the past year. Plans to go out again. Others from that time wanting to visit as well. The next day now forever too late.

Postscript, April 3, 2011: Richard Patterson’s contributions to Canadian music history are evident in part from the extent to which he is referenced in the Wikipedia page on The Esquires. Patterson died shortly before the release of an extensive compilation of Esquires material by Pacemaker Records/Mousehole Music, the latter of which has devoted considerable efforts to the re-release of Canadian music of historic significance.

Postscript, April 10, 2011: Via a Facebook message, Kevin Hersak of The Ethics advises that Canadian singer-songwriter John Bottomley died on April 6, 2011, at the age of fifty, three days after Richard, of causes not yet publicly disclosed. Coincidences. When I visited Richard with Harvey Glatt, I brought a couple of CDs and cassettes from an extra copy CD/Cassette/DVD/Video box that I have maintained for years–deliberately buying more than one copy, for later gifting, or unwittingly buying more than one copy of the same release at different times. Generally music or films long forgotten. One of the CDs I brought for Richard was John Bottomley’s best-known CD, Blackberry, released in 1995 and containing one of Bottomley’s best-known songs, “You Lose, You Gain” . I asked either Harvey Glatt or Doug Orr whether this might be something that would interest Richard, and was told that he liked John Bottomley. Turned out to be true, since when we met him, he expressed immediate recognition and pleasure. I hadn’t appreciated at the time how diverse Richard’s interests in music were, and his particularly strong affection for Canadian music. Addendum, April 11, 2011: Again via Kevin Hersak, John Bottomley’s cause of death is now known. Whereas Richard Patterson died of natural causes, John Bottomley did not.

Postscript, April 10, 2011: I actually saw Richard one more time in 2010, but did not have an opportunity to speak with him. I was visiting a client at Laurier Manor, where Richard was being cared for (and the staff of which was thanked in Richard’s obituary), for the purpose of having a will and powers of attorney executed. I asked if she knew Richard and how he was doing. She knew him well, and spoke of how pleasant he tried to be, in the midst of his challenges. I went to see him, only to find that he was asleep in the late afternoon, one arm over his forehead and the other arm by his side, involuntarily jerking up and down. In the two weeks before he died, three of his former musical colleagues, Doug Orr, Brian Lewicki and William Hawkins, had all expressed an intention to get out to see him, separately offering to take me with them. Never happened, with great regret on the part of everyone.

Postscript, April 10, 2011: Was out last night to see The Ethics for the second time, again on the recommendation of Harvey Glatt. Attending late, towards the latter part of the opening set by The Soirée. Harvey appearing later in the evening, having gone to an earlier performance at another club, on the recommendation of promoter Eugene Haslam. Brings with him a March 12 newspaper clipping about Cliff Richard’s upcoming soul-based album. Clipping had been sitting on Harvey’s mantlepiece at home, waiting to be taken to Richard on Harvey’s next visit. Harvey remembered that Richard was a major fan of Cliff Richard and The Shadows. One of Richard Patterson’s last public performances was in 2006, at a reunion of The Shadows fan club in Ottawa.

Harvey’s visit was not to be, prior to Richard’s death; the clipping as a memory of what was intended.

Postscript, April 10, 2011: Richard Patterson’s cause of death and the circumstances leading up to it have now been publicly disclosed on his tribute website, by one of his closest friends. Vascular-referenced dementia, leading to general physical weakness and an inability to cope with infection. Heart just stops…


About brucelarochelle
This entry was posted in Music. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Richard Patterson died today

  1. Robert Newman says:

    Ritchie and I were friends in the mid to late 50s, while I was still a student at Glebe Collegiate. We shared an interest in music and, since I was playing in a band, he would bring me recordings of mainly British performers I hadn’t heard of, including Cliff Richard/Shadows and the up and coming Beatles!! I never met anyone so connected to the pulse of pop music. I was hoping to reconnect but, sadly, too late!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s