Yesterday Once More: Canada’s Music Industry in Portraits

Do you have a favourite popular musician or rock group from the last three or four decades of the 20th century? There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find their photographs documented in the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Portrait Portal.

The Portal contains photographs taken between 1963 and 2000, selected from LAC’s RPM fonds, an archive that includes thousands of Canada’s and the world’s most popular artists and bands. It also features actors, music and entertainment executives, broadcasters, politicians and sports figures rubbing shoulders with music industry greats. These portraits have been digitized and added to the Portrait Portal as part of LAC’s ongoing digitization initiatives.

What is the significance of the RPM archive to the Canadian music industry?

Founded in Toronto in 1964, RPM was a Canadian weekly trade publication that focused on the Canadian music recording and radio industries. In 1964 it established the RPM Gold Leaf Awards (also referred to as the Maple Leaf Awards), which would soon evolve into the JUNO Awards. RPM was among the parties that lobbied for Canadian content regulations in the broadcast media, and it inaugurated the RPM MAPL logo (with MAPL standing for music, artists, production, lyrics) that has been widely used to identify the Canadian content of commercial sound recordings. The periodical ceased publication in 2000.

According to Cheryl Gillard, a Library and Archives Canada music specialist, the collection of RPM photographs, now available online through the Portrait Portal, “allows anyone, anywhere to take a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the music industry. Also, for the first time, the Portal’s collection of RPM photos allows less high-profile but historically important Canadian music professionals to be documented and honoured.” This collection showcases Canadian popular culture and reflects the interconnection between the music industries in Canada and the United States.

You can search for photographs of popular musicians in the LAC Portrait Portal simply by entering the name of your favourite band or musician into the keyword search field.

For more information about Canada’s music industry, check out LAC’s RPM database, which contains the digitized versions of the music charts in RPM Weekly from 1964 to 2000. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) website is also a great place to search for a list of past JUNO award recipients—and more!

The Working Process of Arnaud Maggs

Did you know that the Arnaud Maggs: Identification exhibition, which is currently taking place at the National Gallery of Canada, includes several items from Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) collection? Our materials in this exhibition are used to emphasize the artist’s working process and strategies.

In fact, Library and Archives Canada holds the Arnaud Maggs fonds, which follows Maggs’s professional career, from his time as a prize-winning graphic designer and commercial and fashion photographer to his later work exploring portraiture. In addition to finding examples of the artist’s drawings, prints, paintings, watercolours and photographs, LAC‘s archival source materials allow you to discover his artistic process, including such items as the artist’s notebooks and contact sheets from which he selected the best portraits.

Arnaud Maggs, one of Canada’s foremost photographers and artists, was born in Montréal in 1926. He was awarded the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2012, one of Canada’s most prestigious photography prizes.

The exhibition runs until September 16, 2012.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Faces of 1812

The Canadian War Museum is proud to present Faces of 1812, an exhibition created by Library and Archives Canada in conjunction with the opening of its major exhibition 1812.

Faces of 1812 presents some of the men and women, both combatants and civilians, who experienced the War of 1812. It likewise highlights the conflict as a rich and continuing source of artistic inspiration, commemoration, and reflection.

The War of 1812 united French- and English-speaking Canadians, First Peoples, and the British against a common foe. The confidence gained through their successful joint defence helped lay the foundations for modern Canada.

Faces of 1812, a complementary exhibition to the Canadian War Museum’s 1812 will be on display at the War Museum in Ottawa from June 13, 2012 until January 6, 2013.

You can also discover thousands of portraits on LAC‘s new Portrait Portal.

For more information, visit the Canadian War Museum website.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News.