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Highlights in the history of Quebec's record industry
history of Quebec's independent record labels 1960 - 1980






1960 - 1980



Highlights in the History of Quebec's Record Industry



Interviews, research, editing, writing and digitizing by Christian Lewis


  * Hyperlinks will take you to photographs or sound clips



Important Artists

Comments and Links





* The "yé-yé" movement (creating French adaptations of 60s rock and pop music) and the wave of 1960s singers evolve in parallel.

* The shrine of yé-yé is the television show Jeunesse d’aujourd’hui, which begins its reign in 1962.

 * Quebec companies consolidate (Sélect, Jupiter, Franco and Trans-Canada, Kébec-Spec, Gamma).

*  As the level of professionalism in the industry rises, Quebec companies begin seeking a significant share of the market at the expense of the multinationals.

* The golden age of song in Quebec emerges in tandem with the sovereignist movement.

* The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec is founded in 1966

* In 1966 – 1967, to commemorate the Canadian centennial, Radio-Canada International produces an anthology of classical and contemporary Canadian music called Music and Musicians of Canada, a 17-record collection featuring works by R. Murray Schafer, Jean Vallerand, Alexis Contant, François Morel and Serge Garant ; RCA Victor collaborates with Radio Canada International to produce the 9-record set called Canadian Folk Songs: A Centennial Collection; The Montreal Symphony Orchestra records an album of  contemporary music with works by Matton, Mercure, Somers and Prévost.

* Many Canadian musicians record abroad for multinational record companies (Glenn Gould, Pierrette Alarie, Léopold Simoneau, Raoul Jobin, Louis Quilico, Joseph Rouleau, André Turp, Wilfrid Pelletier).

Wilfrid Pelletier

* 14.5 million records and cassettes are sold in Quebec in 1973 (2.4 per capita).

* New Quebec labels produce classical and contemporary music, the acknowledged leader in the field being Gilles Poirier and his company SNE (Société Nouvelle d'Enregistrement); classical music catalogues were also developed by Richelieu, Port-Royal, Vox, Apex, Musiart, Sélect, Jupiter, Baroque (bought by Everest), JMC – Club musical national (Jeunesses musicales du Canada), Radio-Canada International and later Dorian, Fonovox, Amberola, Atma and Analekta; in the area of contemporary music, a few universities also put out recordings as do institutions such as the Canadian Music Centre (label: Centredisques), and the CBC, and as well a number of record companies, in particular the Allied Record Corporation, Laurentian Records, Janus (which becomes Pirouette and then is bought by Everest), SNE, Atma, Analekta, Ambiances magnétiques and Empreintes digitales.


Gilles Poirier, recording engineer and director of  SNE

* Between 1974 and 1980, the artists selling the most 33 rpm records in Quebec are: Ginette Reno, Beau Dommage, André Gagnon, Angèle Arsenault and Harmonium.

* In 1976, Canadian sales reach 295 million dollars (US) worth of records (6th in the world); in the United States,  2737 million dollars (US) (1st in the world); and in France, 538 million dollars US (4th in the world).

* In 1978, America's share of global record production had reaches 40%.

* In 1978 ADISQ is founded, an association representing Quebec companies and professionals of the record, entertainment, and video industries.

* in 1979, 64% of the records bought in Quebec are popular music of different kinds (rock, western, alternative, song).

* Radio and the record industry fall increasingly into line with the logic of the market; by the end of the 1970s there is no more room for content on the radio, it has been replaced by the network or local hit parade ("Top 40").

* In 1980, Canadian record sales by genre breaks down as follows (this list excludes imports, and so underestimates the percentages of classical and jazz):

  • popular music 72%
  • classical music 4% (about 5% with a share of imports included)
  • jazz  less than 1% (about 3% with a share of imports included)
  • country and folk: 7%
  • youth 2%
  • other 5%

* The popularity of country music  (Western) goes in waves; sales for self-produced albums can reach as many as 15,000 copies; country artists criss-cross the province, playing festivals and small venues,  in a parallel network, selling directly to the public; singer Willie Lamothe reaches sales of 250,000 copies for a single title.


Willie Lamothe




Quebec singers and songwriters:

  • Gilles Vigneault

  • Jean-Pierre Ferland

Jean-Pierre Ferland
  • Claude Léveillé

  • Pierre Calvé

  • Georges Dor

  • Stéphane Venne

  • Luc Plamondon

  • Jacques Michel

  • Diane Dufresne

  • Louise Forestier

  • Robert Charlebois

  • Claude Dubois

  • Michel Pagliaro

  • Plume Latraverse

  • Monique Leyrac

  • Pauline Julien

  • Pierre Létourneau

  Groups (1960s) :

  • Les Sinners

  • Les Mégatones

  • Les Hou-Lops

  • Les Classels

Groups (1970s) :

  • Harmonium

  • Beau Dommage

  • Les Séguin

  • Octobre

  • Offenbach

  • Conventum

Adaptations of American hit  songs:

  • Jenny Rock

  • Tony Roman

  • Donald Lautrec

  • Pierre Lalonde

  • Michèle Richard

Traditional music:

  • Louis Boudreault (violin)

  • Philippe Bruneau (accordion)

  • Gabriel Labbé (harmonica)

  • Paul Cormier "M. Pointu" (violin)

  • Bertrand Gosselin

  • Barde

  • Les Cailloux

  • Jacques Labrecque

  • Raoul Roy

  • Hélène Baillargeon


  • Wille Lamothe

  • Bobby Hachey

  • Adalbart «Ti-Blanc» Richard (violin)


  • Maynard Ferguson (trumpet)
  • Charlie Biddle (bass)
  • Pierre Leduc (pianist)
  • L’Infonie
  • Quatuor du jazz libre du Québec

Classical music:

  • Louis Quilico

  • Joseph Rouleau




 *Note: the materials cited below are available in French only.

The following interviews relating to the sound history of this period may be consulted at the Phonothèque:

Excerpts of interviews relating to this period of the history of records in Quebec:

 Real One

Quebec singers and songwriters:

Découverte de nouveaux artistes par la filière des arrangeurs - Boisclair, Éric, (45” / 284K) enregistré le 28/05/2002

Popular song:

Séance d’enregistrement avec le chanteur Tony Roman – Descombes, Michel, (40’’ / 256K), enregistré en 1993

L’implication de RCA dans la production d’artistes québécois– Descombes, Michel, (1’05’’ / 406K), enregistré en 1993

Germes du palmarès dans les années 70’ et marché de la radio à Québec  - Drolet, Roger, (48” / 299K) enregistré dans un café le 23/02/2002

Travail des agents de promotion des compagnies de disques auprès du personnel des stations de radio  - Drolet, Roger, (46” / 286K) enregistré dans un café le 23/02/2002

Évolution de l’industrie musicale et collaboration entre les propriétaires de stations de radio et les producteurs - Giroux, Robert, (1‘ 17” / 474K) enregistré le 29/03/2002

Coût de production de disques dans les années 1960 et 1970  – Leblanc, Marcel, (52’’ / 327K), enregistré en 1993


Réédition d’enregistrements historiques- Leduc, Jean-Pierre, (52’’ / 325K), enregistré le 21/03/2003

Rencontres de Paul Bley et Diana Krall avec les grands jazzmen- Leduc, Jean-Pierre, (1’08’’ / 419K), enregistré le 21/03/2003

A propos de Sonny Greenwich- Leduc, Jean-Pierre, (1’03’’ / 393K), enregistré le 21/03/2003

Anecdotes entourant les musiciens Paul Bley et Herbie Spanier- Leduc, Jean-Pierre, (1’13’’ / 446K), enregistré le 21/03/2003

Classical music:

Mémoire des sons et des acoustiques– Poirier, Gilles, (33’’ / 214K), enregistré le 14/03/2003

New Music and
contemporary music:

Histoire de la musique actuelle au Québec - Hétu, Joane, (48” / 68K) enregistré le 07/12/2001

Traditional music

Cueillettes et éditions de disques de folklore de Jacques Labrecque - Gagnon, Élizabeth, (1’ 28” / 542K) enregistré le 09/04/2002

Découverte des artistes méconnus en musique traditionnelle dont Francine Desjardins et apprentissage du répertoire Garand, Gilles, (54’’ / 337K), enregistré le 30/05/2003

World music:

Premiers disques de musique du monde produits et distribués à Montréal– Rousseau, Suzanne, (1’00’’ / 378K), enregistré le 07/03/2003

Music industry (production and recording techniques):

Conditions de travail dans les studios– Descombes, Michel, (33’’ / 216K), enregistré en 1993

Préparation d’une séance d’enregistrement par le technicien et début des enregistrements multipistes– Descombes, Michel, (1’27’’ / 538K), enregistré en 1993

Différence entre les distributeurs locaux et internationaux– Ménard, Claude, (40’’ / 245K), enregistré le 31/03/2003

Spécificité du marché montréalais– Ménard, Claude, (37’’ / 231K), enregistré le 31/03/2003

Coût de production des disques dans les années 1960 et comparaison des marchés visés chez Trans-Canada, Polygram et RCA – Tremblay, Bernard, (42’’ / 258K), enregistré en 1993

Dernières matrices de 78 tours à la fin des années 1960– Tremblay, Bernard, (31’’ / 192K), enregistré en 1993

* Hyperlinks will take you to photographs or sound clips


 1960 - 1980


*From the collections of the Phonothèque québécoise, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Archives nationales du Québec 

Jacques Labrecque Labrecque-v 
Raoul Jobin Raoul Jobin
Yoland Guérard
Serge Deyglun
Jacques Blanchet Blanchet-v 
Fonovox Fonovox-100ans-enr-Qc-v 
*From the collections of the Phonothèque québécoise, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Archives nationales du Québec

The sound clips on our site are in  Real Audio 

  (download the free RealOnePlayerGold plug-in!).

Link to the virtual exhibition:*
History of Montreal's independent record labels (in French)*
Click on the link http://www.museevirtuel.ca/, then choose "Histoires de chez nous" from the menu on the right,
then "Recherche d'expositions", under "Explorez" and then type in
Phonothèque under the heading.





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© 1997 Phonothèque québécoise / Musée du son
Last update June 17, 2004


URL http://www.phonotheque.org/Hist-Maisons-ind/hist-maisons-ind-1960-eng.html