The Ugly Ducklings’ Gaslight: 1960s-70s Musical Canadiana; Hear Where I’m Coming From?

The Ugly Ducklings are huge in my Toronto Sound memories. They sounded like they took all the great qualities of the British Invasion Sound, mixed them into a blender with ice, poured and played. All of a sudden, it was old but new, British but Canadian, London but most of all, TORONTO!

That Familiar Yorkville Label!

I loved how Gaslight was quite sophisticated lyrically and form-wise including a polished arrangement/score with strings and horns. This was a serious effort, different from their other tunes. It contained all their raw bad-boy qualities but ran rather deep; it was poignant. For example:

I’m walkin’ around talkin’ to myself.
I don’t know where I’m at, half the time.
I look at her picture, I see her face,
I think of what she is, and I start cryin’… Gaslight!

The Ugly Ducks Doin’ What They Do!

I played this song a lot as a kid. It holds very special memories for me every time I hear it. Being a sucker for strings, I still get chill when we hit the second verse; check out when those strings come in. Click back with me to the summer of 1967 and dig on Gaslight performed by some of the baddest boys of the Toronto Sound…

Personnel as determined: *it should be noted that it has been said/written that only the vocal was Dave Bingham and everything else was done by session players; true or not, the live band consisted of: Dave Bingham lead vocals, harmonica; Glynn Bell rhythm guitar; Roger Mayne lead guitar; John Read bass; Robin Boers drums.

*I have absorbed, inhaled and envisioned every note of this music; this music which has allowed my musical candle to burn incessantly for decades; a musical candle causing a burn that feels so GOOD; a hurt allowing me to create until I can’t. I gratefully acknowledge my Canadiana musical roots with this blog.


2 thoughts on “The Ugly Ducklings’ Gaslight: 1960s-70s Musical Canadiana; Hear Where I’m Coming From?

  1. Enjoyed your articles.. but hard to mention the GasLight period of The Ugly Ducklings wiotut mentioning Mike McKenna also. As Dave Bingham quoted on the about of Gaslight….
    “No.1 HIT on C.H.U.M.1050 for The “DUCKS” during the summer of love!!!! Now available for download at –… Mastered from the original 15 IPS Master Tape!
    Mike McKenna from “Luke & The Apostles” had just joined the band as Lead guitarist when “Gaslight” got into the top 10. On October the 2nd we finally pushed “The Rolling Stones” out of the Number 1 spot. (Dandelion/We Love You). We toured Ontario & Manitoba with Mike that winter & the following spring before he finally left the band to start “Mainline” with Joe Mendelson in the early summer of 1968. As you can see in the video, we had one -hell-of-a time! Thanks to Gord Beattie for most of the photos. Check out our Road-Manager Kevan Staples (of “Rough Trade” fame) at 1:55!
    CHECK Out the FOLLOW-UP to “Gaslight”
    Click here ––h1DUw

    • Right you are; Mike McKenna is a Canadian/Toronto Sound treasure! He and the Apostles were a few years older so, in those days we thought they were Gods! I usually think of Mainline and the Apostles when I trip down memory lane. Thanks for this.

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