#322: Sugar Daddy by Patsy Gallant
Patricia Gallant was born in 1948 in Cambellton, New Brunswick. Her family was Acadian, and she was one of ten children. From the age of five she was the youngest of four sisters performing as the Gallant Sisters. Her mother coaxed four of the sisters for the group, hoping to earn some funds for the cash-strapped household. By 1956, when the family moved to Moncton, NB, the Gallant Sisters began appearing on TV. This led to appearances in nightclubs when they moved to Montreal in 1958. In 1967 she recorded her first single in French for the Quebec and New Brunswick Francophone market. She continued to release songs over the following five years in French, and then issued English versions. Gallant was featured in numerous TV commercials. And she was a regular on both the French-language TV variety program Discothèque and an English variety show called Music Hop.
In 1971, Gallant co-starred on the weekly television variety show Smash presented by Television de Radio-Canada. Her popular Francophone hits included “Tout va trop vite”, “Le lit qui craque”, “Un monde en voie de naître”, and “Un jour comme les autres”. She released her first album in 1972 titled Patsy Gallant (Tout va trop vite). In 1974 a second French album was released titled Toi l’enfant. Meanwhile, she released her first English album in 1972 titled Upon My Own. It included a Top 40 hit titled “Get That Ball”that made the playlists in English-radio stations in Quebec, Newfoundland and the Maritimes.
In 1973 she released another English-language album titled Power. The album contained the singles “Save The Last Dance For Me”, a cover of a number one hit for The Drifters in 1960. The following year she released a cover of the Carol Douglas disco hit “Doctor’s Orders”. The single was a minor hit in a few Canadian record markets. But Patsy Gallant had yet to score a breakout hit on English-language radio. In 1975 she won a Juno Award for Female Vocalist of the year.
Things changed for her in 1976 when she released Are You Ready For Love. The album won Paul Page a Juno Award for Recording Engineer of the Year in 1977. The album also was nominated for Producer of the Year, along with Ian Robertson as producer getting the nomination. And she won the 1977 Juno Award for Female Vocalist of the Year. The debut single from the album was “From New York To L.A.”
Her followup single was the title track, “Are You Ready For Love”. Next, Pasty Gallant went on to have her biggest charting success with the disco-infused “Sugar Daddy”.
“Sugar Daddy” was written by Carlyle Miller, a singer, songwriter, brass player and producer from Québec. A member of the Ville Emard Blues Band, He wrote, arranged and was a session musician for songs recorded by a number of Quebec-based recording artists. In addition to Patsy Gallant, this included Beau Dommage, Diane Dufresne, Toulouse, Gino Soccio (“Dancer” and “The Visitors”), Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and Witch Queen (“Bang A Gong”). Miller was also part of Stardust, a fictional band in Canadian TV show from Québec, Épopée Rock, that ran from 1984 to 1990.
“Sugar Daddy” is a song about a guy in New York City with “big strong arms” who keeps his sweetheart “nice and warm.” Before she met her sugar daddy, this woman “cruised around the Caribbean” and searched all the islands. She “hunted high and low in Acapulco,” and also “tried the Riviera.” But it was in New York City she met her man. On ten occasions Patsy Gallant sings “I found my sugar daddy.”
“Sugar Daddy” peaked at #1 in Ottawa (ON) and Regina (SK), #2 in Montreal (kept out of the number-one spot by Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” that was #1 in Montreal for five weeks in a row), #3 in Vancouver (BC), and #7 in Hamilton (ON). The single also made the Top Ten in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was Gallant’s debut release from the album Besoin D’Amour. In 1978 Pasty Gallant returned to the Juno Awards to be nominated for Producer of the Year for “Sugar Daddy”, and win Female Vocalist of the Year for three out of four years in a row. She also won the Juno for Best Selling Single with “Sugar Daddy”.
Her final appearance on the Vancouver (BC) pop chart was in early 1979 with a Top 40 single titled “Best Of The Woman In Me”. At the same time she charted “O Michel” in Fredericton (NB) into the Top 20. In addition, Patsy Gallant had her own TV variety show on CTV for a few years in the late 70s. She also added on more trip to the Juno Awards as a fourth time nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year. But this time she lost the nomination to Anne Murray.
When disco faded, Patsy Gallant found it harder to maintain her pace of record sales. By the mid-80s she shifted her focus from singing to acting. She appeared in a production of Cats, Nunsense, a stage biography of Édith Piaf, Cinderella, and played the role of Stella Spotlight in the French hit musical, Starmania in Paris France which ran for eight years from 1993 to 2001.
Patsy Gallant moved to Paris, France, in 1993. She lived there until 2005. In 2002, Gallant had a supporting role as a nightclub singer in the feature film, Yellowknife. She performed four songs for the film soundtrack, including “Sugar Daddy” and three songs she wrote: “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Woman,” “Dancing in the Wind,” and “Save My Soul”. For this role, Gallant was nominated for a Quebec Cinema’s 2003 Jutra Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2015 she released her fifteenth album, Patsy Gallant chante Piaf. And in 2015 she was part of a tour of older Quebec stars along with Claude Vallade, Gilles Girard, Michèle Richard, Jean Nichol et Chatelaine. Then, in 2016 a documentary about her life titled Patsy was released. She recalls in the film ““I didn’t open the door, I kicked it down. I wanted this so much. I love this so much. I didn’t hesitate. I just understood this was my calling from Day 1.”
April 14, 2021
“Patsy Gallant,” My New Brunswick.ca, June 18, 2019.
Brendan Kelly, “Patsy Gallant Looks Back at ‘Road Map of My Life’ in Documentary,” Montreal Gazette, December 2, 2016.
“Carlyle Miller,” Discogs.com.
“Vancouver’s Official Music Survey,” CKLG 730 AM, Vancouver, BC, August 24, 1977.
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