#26: If You’re Lookin’ by Tranquility Base

City: Hamilton, ON
Radio Station: CKOC
Peak Month: April 1970
Peak Position in Hamilton ~ #3
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube: “If You’re Lookin’
Lyrics: “If You’re Lookin’

Originally formed in 1968 as Nora’s Truck Stop, the band was re-named to Tranquillity Base by RCA’s VP George Harrison when they signed with the company in late 1969. Prior to the formation of Nora’s Truck Stop, Ian Thomas, Nora Hutchinson and guitarist Oliver MacLeod, were a folk trio named Ian, Oliver and Nora. In 1950, Ian Thomas was born in Hamilton, Ontario. Once he began to play piano at the age of six Thomas fell in love with the world of music. He later learned the guitar. He co-founded Nora’s Truck Stop in 1968. Nancy Ward was born in Alberta. She had many musical talents and became a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She shared the stage with Gordon Lightfoot, Liona Boyd and Sylvia Tyson. Nora Hutchinson was the ‘Nora’ who inspired the original name for the group, Nora’s Truck Stop. Discogs.com states that Richard Yuen was a member of the band. Though he is not mentioned in the Canuckistanmusic.com website, that states Ian Thomas, Nancy Ward and Nora Hutchinson were joined by Oliver MacLeod and Bob Doidge. In promotional photos of Tranquility Base there are two women and three men.

I emailed Bob Doidge on May 24, 2024, to verify the group membership. Here is his reply:

The group was originally formed as Ian, Oliver and Nora. I joined the group as they needed a bass player for a show to which RCA was coming to consider signing. We added the 5th member, Nancy Ward, on the electric harpsichord. While searching for a band name, we played a folk club at the YMCA in Hamilton. That evening was the first landing on the moon and there was a TV in the building with people watching. I told them that when it was time for the landing I would not perform as I would be watching the historic moment. I was a space junky since I was a child. Then those words came from the TV. “Tranquillity base here, the Eagle has landed”. Thus the name. I have perfect memories of all that pertains to the group including opening for Eric Burden and the Animals, The Monkeys, the Cast of Hair and Lighthouse.” The moon landing was reported on news channels on July 20, 1969. TV news anchors detailed how the Apollo 11 spacecraft landed in the Sea of Tranquility.

Bob Doidge sent this poster of Tranquility Base from around 1969

If You're Lookin' by Tranquility Base
Bob Doidge states in an email to me that most of the Tranquility Base group members were born around 1950. Doidge was born in the late 1940s.

In 1970, Tranquility Base released their debut single, “If You’re Lookin'”.

If You're Lookin' by Tranquility Base
“If You’re Lookin'” was written by Ian Thomas. The song is a recognition that the someone a guy adores doesn’t love him anymore. There is no hope they’ll get back together. She’ll never change her mind. She doesn’t want his company, period. But now that they are apart, he offers as a wish for her, “Someday you’ll find there is love in the world, if you’re lookin’.”

RPM magazine reported in its March 13, 1970 issue that “If You’re Lookin” is a 100% Canadian content recording which hit RCA’s US execs with such an impact they have arranged for a simultaneous US release, a rare happening.” Unfortunately, that US pressing met with little success south of the border.

“If You’re Lookin'” peaked at #3 in Hamilton (ON), and the Top 30 in Calgary and Toronto.

Tranquility Base released a subsequent single titled “In The Rain”. Tranquillity Base brought their three-part harmonies to concerts backed by various classical orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic.

Tranquility Base split when co-founder Ian Thomas, newly married, left to pursue a solo career. Thomas became a producer at the CBC. By 1973 he got his own record deal with GRT Records and released “Painted Ladies“. From 1973 to 1988, Thomas released over two dozen singles. Among his notable hits are “Come The Sun”, “Long Long Way“, “Liars“, “Right Before Your Eyes“, “Coming Home”, and “Hold On”.

Thomas made a guest appearance on SCTV in one of Bob & Doug MacKenzie’s Great White North spots in 1981. His brother, Doug Thomas, played the fictional character Doug MacKenzie in the Great White North. Ian Thomas scored the theme song and co-produced The Hoser movie Strange Brew the same year.

Through the 1990’s Thomas was part of the band called The Boomers. Numbers of Ian Thomas’ songs have been covered by other recording artists. America recorded “Right Before Your Eyes” and it climbed into the Top 50 in the USA in 1982. Anne Murray covered “Good Again”, Santana recorded “Hold On”, Manfred Mann did their own version of “The Runner”, and Bette Midler released “To Comfort You”.

Ian Thomas has written two books, the Bequest in 2006, and The Lost Chord in 2008. Thomas has also featured in sitcom The Red Green Show as Dougie Franklin who hangs out at The Possum Lodge.

Nancy Ward was in the Ian Thomas Band, and in 1980 released her only solo album, Someone To Love Me. Nora Hutchinson recorded a 23 second piece of music in 1982 which found its way onto a cassette in 1986 titled Decade: The First Ten Years of the Music Gallery. Richard Yuen later joined the The Lisa Hartt Band in the mid-70s.

Bob Doidge and his bandmate Daniel Lanois worked with Raffi, Bruce Cockburn and many other recording artists. They formed Grant Avenue Studios. He was recording engineer on records for M+M, Ken Tobias, folksinger David Essig, U2, Crash Test Dummies, the Cowboy Junkies, Ani DeFranco, Prairie Oyster, and Sarah McLaughlin, among others. In 1995, Bob was nominated for a Grammy for his work with the gospel group The Torchmen. Also, he received a CCMA producer of the year nomination for Prairie Oysters “Greatest Hits” in 2001. He was the recording engineer on Gordon Lightfoot’s last 6 albums, and performed at the May 23, 2024, Gordon Lightfoot Celebration of Life at Massey Hall.

July 8, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Gwen Sjogren, Shasta and Kerry Gordon, Ian Thomas, Canadian Bands.com
Ian Thomas in The Red Green Show, CBC, 1991-2006.
Thomas, Ian. Bequest. Manor House, Ancaster, Ontario, 2006.
Thomas, Ian. The Lost Chord. Manor House, Ancaster, Ontario, 2008.
Tranquility Base,” Canuckistanmusic.com.
Jane Stevenson, “Rush were the surprise performers at Gordon Lightfoot tribute at Massey Hall,” Toronto Sun, May 23, 2024.
Bob Doidge – bio,” bobdoidge.com.
email to Ray McGinnis from Bob Doidge, May 24, 2024.

If You're Lookin' by Tranquility Base

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