#700: Mister Heartache by Pat Hervey
Pat Hervey was born in Toronto in 1947. From the age of nine she appeared in public in choirs or at dances and parties. She sang at high school dances and was discovered by 1050 CHUM DJ Al Boliska, who anchored the stations morning show. He heard her at an amateur Rock n’ Roll show and connected her to a local CBC programmer. Standing five foot three, Hervey had a strong voice. CBC signed her and she was a regular feature on CBC TV shows Country Hoedown, While We’re Young, and Holiday Ranch. Art Snider owned Chateau Records and was musical director for the CBC TV show, Club Six.
At 5’3, Pat Hervey could belt out a tune with a style similar to Brenda Lee. Hervey was one of Canada’s early female singers who were successful in the early ’60s. She sang in a high school choir and with a girlfriend who played guitar at social dances and parties. Art Snider was musical director CBC’s Club Six. He recommended Hervey make some recordings for his Chateau label. In the Summer of 1962 she had her first hit with “Mister Heartache”. It climbed to #14 at CHUM in Toronto, #9 on CJCA in Edmonton, # 7 on CFRA in Ottawa, #4 on CFAC in Calgary and on CFUN in Vancouver.
“Mister Heartache” was a song about someone who, after a break-up, spends all her time with Mister Heartache. She tells him what she’d like to tell her ex who dumped her. Mister Heartache is her “new date ever since the day you said we’re threw.” She goes with Mister Heartache to all the lonely spots in town. The personification of heartache as a companion resembles other pop songs. Most notably, “Good Morning Heartache”, by Billie Holiday. In that blues classic, Holiday sings “Good morning heartache, you old gloomy sight/Good morning heartache, thought we said goodbye last night/I turned and tossed until it seems you we have gone/but here you are with the dawn.”
In her article, “Tips for Overcoming Heartache,” Ashley Turner writes 1) Befriend your Pain. She advises that when we feel sad it is important to embrace the feelings and let the tears flow. 2) Invite Your ‘Debutante’ to the Party. Let the part of you who throws a fit when you don’t get what you want to whine and complain and let it all flow onto the pages of your journal. 3) Practice Radical Self-Love. Turner writes: “Avoid self-sabotaging behaviors that only repress difficult emotions which will resurface sideways and compounded at a later, most inconvenient date.” Treat yourself to a massage, and spend time with trusted friends. 4) Keep Going. One Foot in Front of the Other. Literally get moving. Go exercise. Set a goal to rejuvenate your physical self. You will be rewarded!
“Mister Heartache” was written by Les Pouliot, a pseudonym used by Les Shea who was part of the Red & Les Trio (along with his brother Red Shea and Bill Gibbs). Pouliot (Shea) met Gordon Lightfoot in 1960 when working on the CBC program Country Hoedown. When Lightfoot was part of a folk duo called the Two-Tones, went on to record several songs by Les Pouliot including “Sweet Polly”, “We Come Here to Sing” and “Summer Love”. The later was a track on the live recording from January 1962, Two Tones At the Village Corner, a folk club in Toronto. Lightfoot had a pop record in 1962 as a solo artist called Negotiations written by Les Pouliot. Recorded in Nashville, the tune had Floyd Cramer on piano. The song spent seven weeks on the CHUM Top 40 peaking at #27, evoking the Big Bopper with spoken word phrases like “alright honey.” Pouliot went on to be part of the Tommy Hunter Show.
Snider held the sessions in Nashville. In the studio Chet Atkins produced four tracks for her. This led to Pat Hervey being signed by RCA Victor Canada. Atkins produced her entire first LP but it didn’t contain her hit songs. Hervey charted several more songs on Toronto’s CHUM AM: “A Mother’s Love” and “Heaven For Awhile” near the bottom of their Top 40. The latter song peaked at #23 in Vancouver. But Hervey’s fourth single, “Tears Of Misery”, stayed on the CHUM charts in Toronto for nearly three months, followed by “Walking In Bonnie’s Footsteps”.
“Tears of Misery” was a song recorded by Ral Donner during the same studio session when he released “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Until You Lose It)”, a hit in 1961. But Donner’s “Tears of Misery” wasn’t issued, and only released on a CD in 1991. Donner, who was signed with Gone Records, a subsidiary of Roulette Records, was in a dispute with Morris Levy and Roulette through 1962 for non-payment of royalties. Consequently, many of Donner’s studio recordings were stuck in a legal dispute and prevented at the time from being released as singles.
Hervey won a Top Country Female Award in 1964 and in 1965 had a #3 country hit in Canada called “I’ll Count Every Hour”. She moved to Vancouver in 1969 and “retired” from the music business at the age of twenty-two. However, the following year Hervey had her own Summer television show and recorded an album in called Peaceful in 1971.
Pat Hervey later became the featured singer on the Tommy Hunter Show. This was a popular country music variety show in Canada for many years. She won a Top Country Female Award in 1964 then made a move to Stan Klees’ Red Leaf label.
Nothing seemed to make an impression on the new label. Hervey moved to Vancouver in 1969 and “retired” from the music business at age 22. This proved to be a short hiatus. She had her own Summer television show in 1970 and recorded another album, Peaceful, in 1971 on the Camden label. Tracks from the album featured a cover of Chuck Jackson’s 1962 R&B hit, “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)”, Rod McKuen’s “If You Go Away”, adapted from Jacques Brel’s 1959 tune “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, and “Peaceful”, a hit for Helen Reddy in 1973.
Pat Hervey married renowned Canadian jazz guitarist Oliver Gannon and resided in British Columbia, where they had a 4 piece group and perform as The Oliver Gannon/Patty Hervey Quartet. She focused her career on jazz, singing and playing bass in Vancouver’s best jazz venues, proving to be a vocalist & musician capable of any genre and creating a lifetime of great music. Gannon won a Best Traditional Jazz Album Juno Award in 1983. In 2003, Gannon was named Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year by the National Jazz Awards. Pat (Patty) Hervey braved a 15-month courageous fight against esophageal cancer, passing away July 31, 2016.
October 19, 2018
Oliver Gannon biography, Oliver Gannon.com
Tears Of Misery by Pat Hervey, Music Master Oldies, August 2013.
The Girls of ’62, Internet Debris.blogspot.com, June 6, 2011.
Pat Hervey Has Died, Treasure Island Oldies, August 1, 2016.
Tips for Breakups, Heartache + Sadness, Ashley Turner.com.
“C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY,” CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, August 25, 1962.
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