Fonds 2005.006 - Alert Music fonds

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00349 2005.006


Alert Music fonds


  • 1984-2006 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6.32 m of textual records
4,633 photographics

535 negatives (152 col. and 383 b&w)
1,710 35mm col. slides
1,668 col. transparencies
245 contact sheets (23 col. and 222 b&w)
472 prints (168 col., 280 b&w, 24 Polaroid)
2 photo CDs
1 Viewmaster reel
1,401 audio recordings

219 – 2 in. tape reels
17 – 1 in. tape reels
95 – ½ in. tape reels
117 ¼ in. tape reels
81 ¾ in. PCM cassettes
124 audiocassettes
297 DAT cassettes
35 8mm cassettes
73 Hi8 cassettes
15 VHS cassettes
4 HS8 cassettes
22 DA8/DA88 cassettes
9 DARS cassettes
34 LP/12 in. single/12 in. EP discs
60 45 rpm discs
131 CDs
1 external hard drive
43 – 8 in. floppy discs
24 – 3.5 in. floppy discs
372 video recordings

61 – 1 in. tape reels
76 Betacam/Betacam SP cassettes
104 ¾ in. cassettes
1 Betamax cassette
129 VHS cassettes
1 laserdisc
76 cinefilms

51 reels 35mm camera original col. negative
18 reels 16mm camera original negative (17 col., 1 b&w)
4 reels 16mm col. print
3 reels 8 mm col. reversal
1,001 graphic materials

3 Syquest data cartridges
2 “Print” data cartridges
3 – 3.5 in. floppy discs
2 handpainted acetate overlays
106 photo mechanical transfers
31 pasteups
607 film separations/negatives
209 printouts
25 bluelines
11 photocopies faxes with textual copy
2 aluminum offset printing plates
42 posters

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Alert Music was founded in 1984 by Toronto’s W. Tom Berry and Montreal’s Marc Durand. From 1975-1983, Berry had been managing director at Anthem Records whose roster included Rush, Max Webster and Bob and Doug Mackenzie. Durand was the manager and producer of the Montreal rock band Men Without Hats. Alert’s mission was to create a unique label that could bridge the “two solitudes” of Canada, hopefully turning regional hits into national ones; the Toronto office would sign English language artists that the Montreal office would attempt to promote in French Canada, and vice versa. The Montreal office immediately signed The Box, while the Toronto office signed Kim Mitchell (who had recently begun a solo career).

In the late 1980s, Berry decided that his interest in rock music was waning and he and Durand agreed to go their separate ways. Berry kept the name Alert and all the English language artists currently signed to the label, while Durand kept The Box and the company’s Montreal office. Sometime after, Berry discovered jazz singer Holly Cole performing with pianist Aaron David and bass player David Piltch. He signed the trio and immediately set out to create a distinctive image and style for Cole. Her album Girl Talk caught the attention of jazz label Blue Note Records, and they released Cole’s next five albums in the American market. The majority of Alert’s efforts since the mid1990s have revolved around recording and marketing Cole. The label also continues to record and market other Canadian jazz, blues and roots-oriented music including Roxanne Potvin, Michael Kaeshammer and Cole’s accompanists, Piltch and Davis.

Archival history

Donated to the Media Commons Archives in 2005.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds consists of 6 series, divided by format. They are: Textual Material, Photographic Material, Video Material, Audio Material, Cinefilms and Posters/Art Material.

The first series, Textual Material, includes press clippings, chart clippings, label copy, art work mock ups, bios, contracts, tour itineraries, endorsement deals and correspondence. Researchers may be particularly interested in the Soundscan sales reports that break down sales of Holly Cole’s albums.

The second series, Photographic Material, includes negatives, transparencies, contact sheets and proofs for album cover artwork, press/publicity stills, concert photos, promotional photos and some personal prints from Holly Cole and Kim Mitchell.

The third series, Video Material, includes source materials from live television tapings and performances, edited masters of music videos, colour corrected film transfers and source tapes necessary for finished editorial and finished programs for television. There are also screening cassettes of music videos, award show submissions, promotional cassettes for publicity and recorded tapings of live show appearances and interviews.

The fourth series, Audio Material, includes alternative mixes, outtakes, demos, different sequences, safety copies and master reels. This series also includes floppy discs holding mixing data and a hard drive

The fifth series, Cinefilms, includes original film negatives in both b& w and colour (16mm, 35mm and 8mm). Highlighted artists include Cole and Mitchell. The sixth series, Posters/Artwork, consists of posters showcasing touring dates from venues across Canada, Europe and Japan. There are also examples of original pasteups, negatives and colour separations, blue lines, prints for album covers, poster art, CD covers and inserts and 45 rpm sleeves in this collection.

This fonds includes material on the following productions:

Eric Andersen – Ghosts Upon the Road (album,1988)
The Box – The Box (album, 1984)
The Box – All the Time, All The Time, All The Time (album,1985)
The Box – Closer Together (album, 1987)
The Box – Pleasure and Pain (album, 1990)
Michael Breen – Michael Breen (album, 1987)
Breit Brothers – Breit Brothers (album, 1996)
Bundock – Mauve (album, 1986)
Bundock – S.A. (album, 1988)
Crystal Pistol – Crystal Pistol (album, 2005)
Andy Curran – Andy Curran (album 1990)
Groove Daddys – Sunburn (album, 1995)
Holly Cole Trio – Girl Talk (album, 1990)
Holly Cole Trio – Blame It On My Youth (album, 1991)
Holly Cole Trio – Christmas Blues (album, 1991)
Holly Cole Trio – Don’t Smoke In Bed (album, 1993)
Holly Cole and various – Count Your Blessings (album, 1994)
Holly Cole Trio – Greatest Hits/Collection (album, 1994)
Holly Cole Trio – Temptation (album, 1995)
Holly Cole Trio – It Happened One Night (album, 1996)
Holly Cole – Dark Dear Heart (album, 1997)
Holly Cole – Romantically Helpless (album, 2000)
Holly Cole – Baby It’s Cold Outside (album, 2001)
Holly Cole – Shade (album, 2003)
Holly Cole – Collection Vol. 1 (album, 2004)
Jazz Beards – Highballs, Lowbrows and Presbyterians (album, 1994)
John of Mark – John of Mark (album, 1995)
Johnny Favourite – The Tonight Album (album, 2000)
Looking for Marck – Looking For Marck (album)
Kim Mitchell – Akimbo Alogo (album, 1984)
Kim Mitchell – Shakin’ Like A Human Being (album, 1986)
Kim Mitchell – Rockland (album, 1989)
Kim Mitchell – Live in Oshawa unreleased (album, 1989)
Kim Mitchell – I Am A Wild Party (album, 1990)
Kim Mitchell – Aural Fixations (album, 1992)
Kim Mitchell – Itch (album, 1994)
Kim Mitchell Greatest
Hits (album, 1995)
Michel Pagliaro – Sous Peine D’Amour (album, 1988)
Piltch & Davis – Feast (album, 1996)
Pinheads – The Good, the Bad & the Pinheads (album, 1993)
Roxanne Potvin – The Way It Feels album, (2006)
Sylum Sylum (album)
Universal Honey – Earth Moon Transit (album, 1996)
various artists – Popcan (album, 1997)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Preservation concern may limit access, consult archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction

Media Commons does not own copyright of collection materials. Consult rights holder for reproduction(s).

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements


Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Notes area

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Data copied from Drupal by Adam Cavanaugh 2022/04/29




Alert Music website

Andrews, Marke. “New disc reunites Holly Cole's old trio.” Vancouver Sun (June 28, 2003), F1.

Chamberlain, Adrian. “Kim Mitchell: Still doin' rock 'n' roll duty.” Victoria Times Colonist (November 20, 1998), C1.

Pearson, Ian. “Young Queen Cole: Holly Cole's strange reworking of old torch standards has made her Queen Street's latest flame.” The Globe and Mail (April 27, 1990), 24.

Quill, Greg. “Singer Roxanne Potvin launches her second album: The Way It Feels.” The Toronto Star (March 9, 2006), GO3.

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