#718: You, Me And Mexico by Edward Bear
In the mid-60’s Larry Evoy and Paul Weldon were jamming in basements and experimenting with blues rock tunes. In 1966 bass player Craig Hemmings and drummer Dave Brown formed a band with Evoy and Weldon. They got guitarist Danny Marks to join them after he answered an ad. (Marks left the band in 1970 and was replaced by Roger Ellis). After a year they settled on the name The Edward Bear Revue. They got the name from A.A. Milne’s children’s book, Winnie The Pooh, whose central character has the proper name of Edward Bear. In time the band shortened their name to Edward Bear. The band originally was a blues and rock band and opened in 1968 for a Toronto concert with Led Zeppelin as the headliner.
In 1969 Craig Hemmings left the band and was replaced with Bill Loop. Edward Bear released their first album, Bearings, on Capitol Records. A single from the album, “You, Me And Mexico”, made the Top Ten across Canada and #9 in Vancouver.
Their first single, You, Me And Mexico, is a song about someone who lost their lover. Their “ex” is living in Mexico “feeling free as the air,” and the person left behind is “stuck in the city, still going nowhere.” In the city there is a lot of trouble and things that tie the singer down. When they were together, the guy singing the song was so preoccupied he didn’t notice she’d left for Mexico. In fact, it was a long time after she left that he realized she’d gone.
The song peaked at #9 in Vancouver, #3 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart and #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. “You, Me And Mexico” was composed by Larry Evoy, Edward Bear’s lead vocalist and drummer. The song climbed to #1 in Wausaw WI, #2 in Cranbrook BC, #3 in Toronto, #5 in Sydney, Nova Scotia and Tucson, Arizona, #7 in Pointe Claire in suburban Montreal, and #7 in San Bernardino, California.
In the early 60’s, with the advent of airline travel, a tourist industry expanded in Mexico pitching vacations to more affluent Americans and Canadians. One poster from 1962 featured a smiling señorita. In the text of the poster, she assured prospective tourists: “Yes, but Mexico has more!” The poster continued its pitch with these words: “MORE things to see! MORE recreation facilities! MORE fun and gaiety at low cost! MORE thrills and excitement! Yes, Mexico has MORE to offer!” When Edward Bear released their single, “You, Me And Mexico,” the nation was still exotic and many Canadians were just beginning to explore this newly affordable vacation getaway. In 2018, potential tourists are enticed by articles in the news about the hot spots to see when visiting Mexico. Of course, with the current crisis on the American-Mexican border, more people in America and Canada are also thinking about Mexicans and Central Americans fleeing desperate, life-threatening situations.
Edward Bear released a second album titled Eclipse, in 1970. Two singles that were commercial failures and a calamitous tour led Danny Marks to quit the band. Fortunately, Edward Bear bounced back and released a self-titled album with solid singles among the tracks. “Fly Across The Sea” and “Masquerade” did well in Canada, and the latter made it to #10 in Vancouver.
Between 1970 and 1973 the group had three hits in the Top Five of the Canadian RPM Singles Chart. The band released a third single from their Edward Bear album titled “Last Song”. At the time of the recording Edward Bear consisted of Larry Evoy, Paul Weldon and Roger Ellis. The tune became a #1 hit in Canada, #2 in Vancouver and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1973 the band won a Juno Award for Outstanding Group Performance. A fourth album, Close Your Eyes, had a title track that made the Top Ten in Canada and the Top 40 in the USA. But that was it. The bandmates had differences of opinion regarding their direction and they split up in 1974. Although there have been hopes they would reunite, Edward Bear has never had a reunion since their break-up in 1974.
After Edward Bear’s demise, Larry Evoy ran a music publishing business and a recording studio. He also operated a horse farm with his spouse in King City, Ontario, north of Toronto. Danny Marks has played as a blues guitarist and hosted local radio shows, while Bill Loop has been a guitar teacher and continues to play with local session musicians. Paul Weldon has been an instructor at Seneca College and a member of a jazz combo. Since 1997, Roger Ellis has had a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) license to perform in the Toronto subway system. Ellis is found in locales like the York Mills subway entertaining commuters.
July 10, 2018
“Roger Ellis, former Edward Bear guitarist, plays at York-Mills,” Toronto Star, August 17, 2012.
Emily Jackson, “Underground Rock Star: Edward Bear Guitarist Roger Ellis Auditions for TTC License. The Onetime Rock Star Now Plays in Subway Stations, Happy to still Be Making Music after Years Out of the Business,” Toronto Star, August 17, 2012
The Glamorous And Gruesome History Of The Masquerade Ball, All That’s Interesting.com, November 17, 2017
Roberta Brokenshire, Danny Marks, and The Murf, Edward Bear – Bio, Canadian Bands.com.
The Story Behind ‘Last Song’: Q&A with Songwriter Larry Evoy: Edward Bear Frontman Shares His Inspiration for the Song, Talks About its Success and Fills us in on What He’s Up to Now, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.ca, June 30, 2015.
1962 Vintage Travel AD Vacation in Mexico, eBay.com
Paola Alin, “11 Reasons Why You Should Visit Mexico City Immediately,” Huffington Post, February 15, 2016.
“Boss 30,” CKLG 730 AM, Vancouver, BC, April 10, 1970.
For more song reviews visit the Countdown.