Canadian classic rock guitarist and songwriter Jerry Doucette died Monday in a hospice, a statement from a family friend confirmed.
Doucette, 70, was known for “Mama Let Him Play,” her 1977 hit from the album of the same name, which reached the Billboard Top 100. A family friend of Doucette said in a statement the inspiration for “Mama Let Him Play” comes from what her father said after he got home from work to his guitar-playing son. Her mother told her to shut up, but Doucette remembers her father telling her she should let him continue playing.
He thought it would make a good song title and said he finished writing the hit in about an hour.
Eric Alper, a music industry expert, says Doucette never shied away from performing the song that made him famous.
“I know a lot of artists who don’t like to play the one or two hits that maybe make them famous around the world because they’ve had enough of them,” he told CTV News.
“Some, like Jerry, loved that he was remembered for this hit. It keeps you going because there will always be classic rock fans who want to hear the song and most artists like Jerry are happy to put on the clothes. , go on tour and play it in front of a cheering crowd.”
Doucette was born in Montreal in 1952 and grew up in Hamilton, learning to play the guitar at the age of six.
Alper says learning the guitar at such a young age gave Doucette an edge over others who pick up an instrument later in life.
“When you get good and you become a guitar prodigy like Jerry, which lets you play in bands as a teenager, you start your 10,000 hours of practice at a very young age,” he said. declared.
In 1972 Doucette moved to Vancouver where he played with The Seeds of Time and the Rocket Norton Band before signing with Mushroom Records as a solo artist. In 1979, his group, Doucette, won a Juno for the most promising group of the year.
Between 1977 and 1999, Doucette released five albums as a solo artist and continued to play small venues across Western Canada until 2018.
“For about five decades. Jerry’s music has never gone off the radio in this country in Canada. And a lot of that has to do with timing, and a lot of that has to do with talent and talent for a song like Jerry did,” Alper said.
Doucette died of cancer Monday, surrounded by his family at Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, British Columbia. He is survived by his wife Maggie of 43 years, five children and 10 grandchildren.
While Alper says there may be young people who have never listened to any of Doucette’s albums on vinyl or CD or heard any of her songs on the radio, he thinks there are has an opportunity for a new generation to discover music.
“You don’t have to go to the record store and hope they have a copy of the album. We all have internet access, the ability to check out what Jerry really was, the countless times where he played that song, the many, many albums he’s released — that’s out there, those will never go away,” he said.
“The fact that we’re talking about him and paying homage to him is maybe enough to make that guy or that girl over there pick up the guitar for the first time and want to play some music, and find out what made Jerry so awesome because he’s really, really awesome.”