Bob Carswell shares information and reminisces about Marty Butler (MCHS ’62)
Bob Carswell notes:
Marty Butler (MCHS ’62). The photo is from the 1961-62 MCHS yearbook.
“While we forget the people behind the scene who gave the group like The Bells some of their best songs we tend to forget that without the songwriters and composers, such music would never have happened. Marty Butler’s connection to The Bells goes back to the days of the Raymart Trio in St. Laurent, Quebec and subsequently MCHS when he and Jacki Ralph were transferred there to complete their high school. Marty died twenty years ago but like Jacki, I also ran into him in Toronto along the way.”
Jaan Pill: Did you know Marty well?
Bob Carswell: We weren’t bosom buddies but we talked from time to time at school. Like many Montrealers, Marty moved to Toronto and from what he told me on one occasion, he was married, selling real estate in Mississauga and raising a family there. Over a year or two, I met Marty a number of times on Avenue Road while I was working in the area and we stopped and talked about the old days, what he was doing and how things were. This would have been in the mid-1980 when he was playing piano in the evenings at the Park Hotel. I liked Marty, he was always very respectful and very friendly. It was sad to hear he had passed on.
Source: Online image of Marty Butler located via a Google Images search.
[End of comments from Bob Carswell]
Comments from Tim Hewlings (MCHS ’63) who notes:
After completing university in 1966, Marty joined the group The Sceptres, a band that included two other MCHS grads, Bill Ott and Tim Hewlings. Over the next three years, the band became one of Canada’s most successful harmony vocal acts. They toured all over Eastern Canada and the northern US.
The Sceptres. Left to right: Marty Butler, Bill Ott, Tyler William, Tim Hewlings. Source: Tim Hewlings
The Sceptres had one #1 English Record in Eastern Canada “I Never Had A Love Like That”, and two top 30 Records: “Something’s Coming Along”, “Juicy Morning” in Eastern Canada with radio airplay across Canada. The Sceptres or “Les Sceptres” as they became known in Quebec also had chart success in Quebec with 2 French releases: “Moi, je pense toujours à toi” and“Enfin seul ensemble” – a cover of the Tommy James hit – I Think We’re Alone Now.
After the Sceptres broke up in 1969, Marty went on to a solo singing and songwriting career.
Following details are from a range of online sources, with corrections courtesy of Tim Hewlings for which we owe many thanks.
During his career in music, after his years (1966 to 1969) with The Sceptres, Marty Butler struck out on his own with partner Bob Bilyk.
Soon the duo were writing songs for the likes of Trini Lopez, Ginette Reno, Tommy Hunter, and The Bells whose version of their song “Fly Little White Dove Fly” became a Canadian national hit.
Butler won $10,000 in the Hear Canada Singing contest for the tune “Can’t You Hear The Music” which soon led to a recording contract with Columbia Records. His home base was in Montreal but frequently worked in Toronto to be nearer Bilyk.
He went to WAM Records in the late ’70’s where he released several singles with arranger/producer Leon Aronson (also the label owner). By the 1980’s he’d moved onto RCA Records for his eponymous debut album in 1982.
Butler died February 10, 1995.
1971 To A Place Near The River (Columbia)
1972 All The Love In My Heart (Columbia)
1972 Can’t You Hear The Music (Columbia)
1973 We Gotta Make It Together (Columbia
1973 If You Wanna Go To New York City (Columbia)
1973 Once-Loved Woman, Once-Loved Man/Love Vibrations (Columbia)
1974 Fly Little White Dove, Fly (Columbia)
1978 Lie To Myself (WAM)
1979 Never Been In Love (WAM)
1980 Saving It Up (WAM)
1983 Take Another Look (RCA)
1972 We Gotta Make It Together (Columbia) ES-90092
1973 Love Vibrations (Columbia) ES-90158
1982 Mary Butler (RCA)
[End of excerpt from Jam.Canoe.Com website]
Profile from 1961-62 MCHS yearbook:
MARTIN BUTLER “Marty”
“When he’s good, he’s very good ; when he’s bad he’s caught.”
Marty wants to become a dentist. For anaesthesia he will sing to his victims, rather patients, in his golden voice. He’ll probably end up drilling sidewalks or filling potholes. Marty is a n extremely able choir conductor, and with this ability he led 1 1-F, the class that last year sang “Greensleeves ,” to victory in the grade eleven section of the Christmas choir competition. Marty is also a talented songster and we wish him success in “show biz “. By and large the man loves the world, the only people he doesn’t like are those who don’t appreciate his rendition of “God Save the Queen” in jazz. He was a member of the Social Committee from 60-62 and was also in the Ski Club.
[End of profile from 1961-62 MCHS yearbook]
Fly Little White Dove Fly
We owe thanks to Gina (Davis) Cayer, a member of the MCHS ’60s Reunion Event Committee, for sharing with us the following YouTube link:
Recent comments at the Malcolm Campbell High School Grads Facebook Page are of much interest. I did not know that Marty Butler taught at Morison School – possibly Grade 4, in the recollection of a former student. That is so interesting and enjoyable to know about.
I would suggest that if you are interested in reading the Facebook comments, it’s well worth your time to locate the MCHS Grads FB Page and join the page, if you are not already signed up. Sometimes I make it a point to quote from comments from that page and other MCHS FB pages, but currently I am short of time.