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True North Records
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- Bernie Finkelstein
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True North Records, founded by Bernie Finkelstein, is Canada’s longest-running independent record label.
Finkelstein, the son of an Air Force warrant officer, was born in Toronto in 1944. He became involved in the Yorkville music scene in 1963, taking odd jobs and eventually dropping out of high school. While working in a club called El Patio, he met a young band called the Paupers and soon became their manager (often conducting business from a payphone on Yorkville Avenue). Finkelstein found further success managing the band Kensington Market between 1967 and 1969. After a brief period spent living on a farm in Eastern Ontario, Finkelstein returned to Toronto and founded True North Records.
Finkelstein met singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn at a Ryerson University coffeehouse in 1969, and the two established an association that lasts to this day. Cockburn has released 29 albums on True North, including such hits as ‘Wondering Where the Lions Are’, and ‘If I Had a Rocket Launcher’. Other important Canadian singer-songwriters who have recorded for True North include Murray McLaughlan, Luke Gibson, Stephen Fearing and Colin Linden. In 1979, True North ventured into the world of post-punk alternative rock, releasing albums by Carol Pope and Rough Trade. Subsequent rock artists signed to the label have included the Rheostatics, 54-40, the Cowboy Junkies, the Golden Dogs, Zubot and Dawson, Lynn Miles, Hunter Valentine, and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Artists on the True North label have won more than 40 Juno awards and put out approximately the same number of gold or platinum records.
In 1995, True North expanded its operations and released recordings by non-Canadian artists and distributing several international record labels (including U.K.based Cooking Vinyl and U.S.based Fuel 2000, Signature Sounds and Sci-fidelity). In 2007, True North was taken over by Mississauga-based Linus Entertainment; Finkelstein remains the chair and advisor while also managing a number of bands. He is also the chair of VideoFACT, the government-financed organization that funds videos for Canadian music artists.
Bernie Finkelstein has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and named to the Order of Canada. He lives in Toronto.
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University of Toronto Media Commons
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True North Records – The Canadian Encyclopedia http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/true-north-records-emc/
True North Records http://www.truenorthrecords.com/About.php
Finkelstein Management http://www.finkelsteinmanagement.com/
“CARAS Pays Tribute to Bernie Finkelstein.” eSource Canada Business News Network, January 10, 2006.
Leblanc, Larry. “True North’s Bernie Finkelstein a true music enthusiast.” Billboard, April 22, 1995.
Niester, Alan. “True North’s Strong Spirit.” The Globe and Mail, March 29, 2006.
North, Peter. “True North Still Rocking Along.” The Windsor Star, May 27, 1999.
Quill, Greg. “Iconic True North Label Gets New Owner.” The Toronto Star, December 19, 2007.