Lighthouse | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Lighthouse. Toronto rock orchestra, formed in 1968 by the drummer-singer Skip (Ronn) Prokop and the keyboardist-vibraphonist Paul Hoffert.


Lighthouse. Toronto rock orchestra, formed in 1968 by the drummer-singer Skip (Ronn) Prokop and the keyboardist-vibraphonist Paul Hoffert. Organized as a 13-piece band, it comprised a rock nucleus of Prokop, Hoffert, the singer Pinky Dauvin (replaced in 1970 by Bob McBride), the guitarist Ralph Cole, and the bass guitarist Grant Fullerton, as well as string and reed/brass "sections" made up of Toronto studio and jazz players.

Lighthouse made its debut 14 May 1969 at the Rock Pile (Masonic Temple) in Toronto and performed 15 May at the Boston Pop Festival, 25 May at Carnegie Hall (returning in 1972, when it recorded the LP Lighthouse Live!), and later in 1969 at the Newport Jazz Festival. To the high energy of rock, Lighthouse added skilfully conceived string and horn arrangements (by Hoffert, the saxophonist Howard Shore, and others) and improvised solos by Cole, Hoffert, Prokop, and the jazz players (at various times the trumpeters Fred Stone, Bruce Cassidy, and Mike Malone, and the saxophonists Shore, Dale Hillary, and Keith Jollimore, among others).

Lighthouse performed widely 1969-74 in North America. In 1970 it travelled to Japan and to the Isle of Wight Pop Festival, appeared with the Toronto Symphony (twice), the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and the Cincinnati and Philadelphia orchestras, and toured with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet production of Ballet High, by choreographer Brian Macdonald to Hoffert's paraphrase of Ravel's Bolero. With its trademark full orchestra sound, the band's initial success in live performance with Lighthouse Live, the group's first platinum album, was soon supplemented by the popularity of its recordings (for GRT) of "Hats Off (to the Stranger)," "One Fine Morning," and "Take It Slow" (1971), "Sunny Days" (1972), "You Girl" and "Pretty Lady" (1973), and "Can You Feel It?" (1974).

Lighthouse, which was reduced to 10 musicians by 1972, underwent frequent personnel changes. Prokop and Cole were the only founding members remaining at the band's dissolution after a lengthy Canadian tour in 1974. Lighthouse was revived under Cole's direction in 1975 and 1978-9, and reunited for two concerts at Ontario Place in 1982 which were recorded as part of a CBC program.

Lighthouse received Juno Awards for outstanding group performance of the year (1971) and as vocal/instrumental group of the year (1972) and group of the year (1973).

Ten Lighthouse members reunited in 1992 including original members Skip Prokop, Paul Hoffert, and Ralph Cole. To commemorate Lighthouse's 40th anniversary, 40 Years of Sunny Days was released in 2009; the CD and DVD featured 16 re-mastered original songs and new performances of the same songs. In 2006, the rights to the Lighthouse catalogue were purchased by ole.


Lighthouse. 1969. RCA Victor LSP-4173

Suite Feeling. 1969. RCA Victor LSP-4241

Peacing It All Together. 1970. RCA Victor LSP-4325

One Fine Morning. 1971. GRT 9230-1002

Thoughts of Movin' On. 1971. GRT 9230-1010

Lighthouse Live! 1972. GRT 9230-1018

Sunny Days. 1972. GRT 9230-1021

Can You Feel It? 1973. GRT 9230-1039

Good Day. 1974. GRT 9230-1046

The Best of Lighthouse. 1975. GRT 9230-1052

Sunny Days Again - The Best of Lighthouse. 1989. Denon CAN-9002 (CD)

Lighthouse Live! 1991. Denon. (re-release)

Song of the Ages. 1996. Breaking Records/Denon

Sunny Days Again (The Best of Lighthouse). 1998. True North Records. (re-release)

Lighthouse Live! 1998. True North Records. (re-release)

Song of the Ages. 1999. Breaking Records/True North Records. (re-release)

40 Years of Sunny Days. 2009. ole/Universal Music Group (re-mastered)

McBride and Prokop had solo careers in the 1970s, McBride recording for Capitol (Butterfly Days ST-6348; Sea of Dreams ST-6397), MCA (Here to Sing MCA-2318), and London, and Prokop for Quality (All Growed Up, SV-1948).

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