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Children, The

in Ottawa, Canada

The Children were formed in Ottawa, Canada in late 1965 by poet Bill (Willie) Hawkins, after Harvey Glatt, concert promoter and owner of local Treble Clef records store, suggested that he take up guitar and put his poetry to music. Hawkins quickly rounded up his friends Sandy Crawley (b. Dec. 7, 1947, Ottawa, Ontario), (son of filmmakers Budge and Judith Crawley), Peter Hodgson (b. March 1, 1945, Ottawa, Ontario), Neville Wells and Chris Anderson and signed to Glatt's management company. Their music was a mixture of British beat covers and Hawkins's originals, including the folk ballad 'Gnostic Serenade' and the poppy 'Christopher's Movie Matinee'.

The group became residents at Le Hibou coffeehouse (co-owned by Glatt) debuting there on May 29. They also took part in a Battle of the Bands competition, held at the Coliseum, Lansdowne Park in Ottawa on June 18. In October Anderson and Hodgson both left; the former drifting into obscurity after moving to Vancouver, the latter changing his name to Sneezy Waters and forming A Rosewood Daydream. The band carried on and enlisted singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn (b. May 27, 1945, Ottawa), who had just graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and ex-Esquires drummer Richard Patterson (b. Sept. 20, 1944, Ottawa, Ontario) as replacements. Solo artist and former Pacers member David Wiffen (b. March 11, 1942, England) joined a short time later. This line-up opened for The Lovin' Spoonful in Toronto (at Maple Leaf Gardens on December 11) and Ottawa during the latter's Canadian tour.

By late 1966, the band's repertoire began to reflect the growth of Cockburn and Wiffen as writers. Cockburn's ''Merry-Go-Round' (written with Hawkins), 'Bird Without Wings' and 'The Trains Don't Go Here Anymore', and David Wiffen's 'I Don't Want To Drive You Away' were all demoed in early 1967. Even though the group never released any singles, local band The Esquires did cover Hawkins's 'It's A Dirty Shame' as their penultimate single and 3's a Crowd, whom Wiffen and Patterson joined in April 1967, recorded a number of The Children's songs on their lone album later that year.

The final line-up barely lasted six months; Cockburn left in March to pursue a solo career (and briefly played with The Esquires) and Wiffen and Patterson joined 3's a Crowd. Crawley and Hawkins put together The Occasional Flash (which also included Colleen Peterson) and Wells fronted his own band. On August 23, 1997, all of The Children's members reunited for a one-off appearance at the Ottawa Folk Festival, which was extremely well received.

Thanks, Nick, XtremeMusician.com Contributing Writer.

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