Streetheart | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Publicity portrait of Streetheart - (left to right) Ken 'Spider' Sinnaeve, Matte Frenette, Kenny Shields, John Hannah, Daryl Gutheil. [between 1978-1981]
Streetheart lead singer Kenny Shields views a copy of RPM Magazine. [between 1978-1981]


Streetheart. Formed in Regina in 1976, the hard rock band Streetheart drew on the western Canadian groups Witness Inc, Wascana and Great Canadian River Race for its early members: Kenny Shields (vocals), Daryl Gutheil (keyboards), Paul Dean (guitar), Ken 'Spider' Sinnaeve (bass) and Matt Frenette (drums). Dean was replaced in 1978 (after the first Streetheart LP) by John Hannah (from Harlequin), and Hannah in 1981 by Jeff Neill; Frenette left in 1979 to join Dean in Loverboy, his place in Streetheart taken initially by Herb Ego, who was followed by Billy Carmassi (both drums).

Streetheart's heyday as a popular club and concert attraction in Canada was during the late 1970s until the mid-1980s. They originally drew the attention of Atlantic Records and were signed in 1977. Their first LP, Meanwhile Back in Paris, sold 100 000 copies in 1977 and brought the band a Juno Award as most promising group of 1979. Seven LPs followed 1979-83: Under Heaven, Over Hell, Quicksand Shoes (WEA XWEA-92005). Action - The Best of Streetheart, Drugstore Dancer, Streetheart, Dancing with Danger, and Live after Dark. Record sales earned them six gold albums and four platinum albums; the single 'Under My Thumb' achieved gold single status.

Arguably Streetheart's most popular single, 'Under My Thumb' (1979), was a remake of a song by the Rolling Stones, who were an early Streetheart influence. At the peak of their career, Streetheart toured with several Canadian rock bands including Chilliwack, Rush, Harlequin, Max Webster (see Kim Mitchell), Aldo Nova, April Wine and with American bands including Sammy Hagar, Styx, Kansas, and Blue Oyster Cult.

Shields, Gutheil, and Sinnaeve remained as core members of the band through many changes in personnel until Streetheart filed for bankruptcy in 1984. Shields, who set the frenetic pace of Streetheart's live performances, subsequently performed in western Canada under his own name. Since the late 1990s Frenette and other Streetheart members have reunited for concerts and club performances and the release of two more albums.

Streetheart received two Ampex Golden Reel awards, a Music Express Magazine Award, and a Chimo Award (Canadian Country Music Award) and were voted the most popular Canadian act in the Peoples' Choice Awards. In 2003, Streetheart was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Further Reading