Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)
Recording Artist: Glass Tiger
Writers: Jim Vallance
Alan Frew
Sam Reid
Date Written: May 1985 / Vancouver, Canada
Albums: Thin Red Line (1986)
Best Of Glass Tiger / Air Time (1993)
Charts: #2 - Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart (USA) / October 1986 (24 weeks on the chart)
#17 - Billboard Album Rock Tracks Chart / 1986 (9 weeks on the chart)
#1 (2 wks) - The Record (Canada) / May 12, 1986 (26 weeks on the chart)
#29 - UK Chart
Awards: 1986 - Gold Single Award for 50,000 sales of the 45 RPM single in Canada
1986 - Juno Award for "Single of the Year" (Canada)
1987 - Procan Award (Performing Rights Organization of Canada) for Canadian radio airplay
1996 - Socan Classics Award for more than 100,000 Canadian radio performances
Released recording
Alan Frew: vocals
Al Connelly: guitar
Sam Reid: keyboards
Doug Edwards: bass
Michael Hanson: drums
Produced by Jim Vallance.  Recorded by: (1). Mike Jones at Sounds Interchange, Toronto; (2). Paul Northfield at Le Studio, Morin Heights; and (3). Jim Vallance at Distorto Studios, Vancouver.  Mixed by Ed Thacker at Phase One Studios, Toronto.
Demo recording
Alan Frew: vocals
Al Connelly: guitar
Sam Reid: keyboards
Jim Vallance: keyboards, bass, drums
Listening to this home-studio recording nearly forty years later I'm struck by its cohesiveness.  It's not uncommon for "first efforts" to capture qualities that are difficult to replicate later in the studio. There are some elements here that, in my opinion, are superior to the final master recording.
Glass Tiger
I was initially hired by Capitol Records to help with musical arrangements on Glass Tiger's first album, working with the material they'd already written -- but I ended up producing the album and writing a few songs with the band as well.

Glass Tiger were from Newmarket, a small town north of Toronto. In the spring of 1985 I traveled there and spent a day rehearsing with the band, working on arrangements and suggesting improvements. It was an audition ... in other words, the band were auditioning me, trying to determine if we could work together.  

To be honest, I really wanted the job. I knew I could contribute to the project in a positive way, plus I loved everything about the band:  they were good musicians, they had a great image, and they'd already written some very strong songs.  More important, they were young and hungry.  They'd worked hard the past few years, writing and rehearsing in various basements and garages, and they were ready and eager to make a record!

Apparently I "passed the audition" because in May 1985 Sam Reid (keyboards), Alan Frew (vocals) and Al Connelly (guitar) flew to Vancouver with instructions from Capitol Records A&R-man Deane Cameron to write a "hit single" for their upcoming album.
photo (far right): Deane Cameron, Capitol Records Canada A&R man and later president of EMI Canada. 

Deane started in the warehouse at Capitol-EMI in 1970 and worked his way to the top job.  Over the years he championed many Canadian recording artists including Tom Cochrane, Lisa Dal Bello, Anne Murray and Glass Tiger.

Deane was a lovely guy, totally dedicated to music, a quintessential "record" man.

Sadly, he passed away in 2019, age 65.
I'd known Deane for a number of years.  In 1979 he hired me to produce Lisa Dal Bello's "Drastic Measures" album, a project which, unfortunately, did not go well. Totally my fault. I was the wrong guy for the job. Lisa was hugely talented, and to be honest, she should have been allowed to produce her own album, which she eventually did, a few years later (awesome singer, check her out).

Anyway, despite the Dal Bello debacle Deane gave me another shot, this time with "Glass Tiger".

I picked up Alan, Sam and Al at the airport in Vancouver. I was late, and we hadn't planned on starting until the next day, but I invited them to my house so we could have a cup of tea, get acquainted, and talk about the direction we might take with our song-writing in the week ahead.

During a quick tour of my studio Sam casually noodled a few notes on one of my keyboards, and the next thing you know we were writing a song! In less than an hour we came up with the beginnings of a very strong idea.  Not bad for the first day ... right off the plane!

I printed a cassette tape so they could listen to it overnight, and I dropped them off at their hotel.
The boys arrived back at my studio the next morning ready to work.  That day we managed to substantially complete the idea from the night before, now titled "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone".

The song combined the shuffle feel of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (Tears For Fears) with a title that was not-too-subtly lifted from the then-current Simple Minds hit, "Don't You Forget About Me".  But any similarities ended there ... the song sounded every bit a "Glass Tiger" track by the time we completed the demo recording.

We spent the remaining few days developing a number of other songs including "Someday", which would also prove to be a key track on the upcoming album. 

Overall it was a productive week, and I came away with a lot of respect for the band members:  Al was a creative guitarist whose ideas always added sparkle and edge to the arrangements.  Alan was a superb singer with a distinctive style, plus he was a gifted lyricist -- a poet, really -- never at a loss for words or melody.
But it was me and keyboardist Sam Reid who really bonded, due to our shared interest in the technical side of the creative process. 

Sam was was only 18 but he was keen, and a quick learner.  In fact, he had already mastered much of the computer, synthesizer and recording technology available at the time -- and his knowledge would grow exponentially as the album progressed.  Where the other band members had little patience for the "nuts and bolts" of record-making, Sam seldom left the control room during the entire three months of recording and mixing. Sam and I were the first to arrive and the last to leave the studio each day, a pattern that would continue on future Glass Tiger projects.

There were two other band members who hadn't come to Vancouver: Wayne Parker and Michael Hanson.  Wayne was a solid bass player and an easy-going guy, impossible to dislike.  Michael Hanson was the band's drummer, who also happened to be a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist.
At the end of their week in Vancouver the boys returned to Ontario.  A few days later I got a call from Deane Cameron who was "over the moon" about the work we'd done in Vancouver, particularly "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone" and "Someday".

Deane was confident we now had enough strong material to start cutting tracks.  With the band based in Ontario, it made sense that we record the album there.

I booked a flight to Toronto.
"Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone" is the first track we recorded for Glass Tiger's "Thin Red Line" album. The recording was begun at Sounds Interchange in Toronto, with Mike Jones engineering. The horns and backing vocals were recorded by Hayward Parrott at McClear Place Studios, Toronto.  Further recording, including Alan's vocal, was done at Le Studio in Morin Heights, Quebec (with Paul Northfield) and at my home studio in Vancouver.

The song was mixed at Phase One Studios in Toronto by Ed Thacker, with Randy Staub assisting (Randy would later move to Vancouver to work as Bob Rock's engineer, eventually branching out as a successful producer and engineer in his own right).

"Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone" reached #1 in Canada and #2 on the US charts. It remains Glass Tiger's most successful recording ever, and the song most often associated with the band.
Today the music business is brutally competitive, and it was no different in 1985.  Then, as now, getting to the top of the charts was a real battle.

In November 1985 Bryan Adams was still riding high from the success of his 1984 album, Reckless. The album produced six top-10 singles and sold more than 10-million copies.  Bryan was filling stadiums around the world.

The "Juno Awards", Canada's premier annual Music Industry event, was held on the evening of November 4, 1985 at the Harbour Castle Hilton in Toronto.  Bryan and I attended, winning "Best Album" and "Songwriter" awards.  Bryan also picked up a "Juno" for "Best Male Vocalist".
Bryan's "Reckless" album

Juno Awards, November '85
At the hotel, the night before the awards, I played Bryan some rough mixes of the Glass Tiger album, which was nearing completion.  Bryan liked what he heard and generously offered to sing a "guest vocal" on "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone".

Late on the evening of November 4, after the Juno Awards, we went to Eastern Sound Studios and recorded three or four "adlibs" towards the end of the song (see lyric below).

Glass Tiger's debut single, released a few weeks later, was well-received at radio, right out of the gate, with Bryan's cameo vocal providing the slight edge required for the record to get noticed.
Considering Glass Tiger were a new, unproven act, Capitol Records Canada were very generous with the budget. Among other things, we spent a month recording at "Le Studio" in Morin Heights, a boutique recording facility on several hundred acres in the beautiful mountains north of Montreal. If you're not familiar with the studio you'll definitely be familiar with some of the artists who recorded there: The Police, Rush, David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Bee Gees, Chicago, etc.

Actually, to be honest, we weren't supposed to record there. One of Capitol's more established artists had canceled last-minute. The studio-time had been paid in advance, so they sent Glass Tiger there, rather than forfeit the payment. Bonus!

Another bonus was the hiring of Los Angeles-based audio engineer Ed Thacker to mix the album at Phase One Studios in Toronto, an excellent facility.

Which reminds me of a story I probably shouldn't tell, but I will anyway ...

We spent a week or two mixing the album, with particular attention paid to the first single, "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone". When the mixes were completed we had a listening session at the studio attended by a bunch of folks from the Canadian record company, plus a representative from Capitol USA. Everyone was very pleased with what they heard and they expressed confidence that we had the makings of a hit record.

"Now", someone said, "We just need you to remix the single for the American market".

Huh? I was baffled. The mix sounded great to me. We'd spent countless hours getting it right.

"What would you like us to do differently?", I asked.

"It needs to be harder sounding, more edge", was the reply. In fact, that was the final instruction as everyone headed out the door.

Once everyone had left we all sat there, speechless, not sure what to do. The truth is, we loved the mix just the way it was.

So the next morning we sent the record company exactly the same mix they'd heard at the listening session! ... no change whatsoever, except we wrote "American Mix" on the box.

They loved it.

A few weeks later the single climbed to the top of the Canadian and American charts.
You take my breath away
Love thinks it's here to stay
There's still so much for me to do
And I can't stop loving you
Oh can this be true

If you could see what I have seen
Broken hearts and broken dreams
Then I wake up and you're not there
Pain finds me everywhere
Oh, but you don't care

Don't forget me when I'm gone
My heart would break
I have loved you for so long
It's all I can take

You, you take my breath away
Love thinks it's here to stay
There's still so much for me to do
And I can't stop loving you
Oh! can this be true
Don't forget me when I'm gone
My heart would break (Bryan Adams vocal)
I have loved you for so long
It's all I can take

Then I wake up and you're not there
Pain finds me everywhere
Oh, but you don't care
Don't forget me when I'm gone
For heaven's sake (Bryan Adams vocal)
I have loved you for so long
Is lovin' wrong?
So don't forget me when I'm gone
My heart would break (Bryan Adams vocal)
I have loved you for so long
Is lovin' wrong?