Prism 40th Anniversary!

Jun 14, 2017

While the first stirrings which would become Prism started in 1975 as a loose studio project centred around the songs of writer Jim Vallance, with partners Bruce Fairbairn and Lindsay Mitchell inviting a local community of musician friends to come play, including fledgling vocalist Ron Tabak:  Prism the album, Prism the name, and Prism the band all crystallized in 1977.   

Until that time, the working monicker “Under Construction” seemed appropriate.  In the early Spring of 1977 a few of us close to the activity were offered a small cash award to come up with a project name for the pending album release on GRT records, (Ariola America globally). 

Before the album’s debut in May, the name “Prism” was chosen, with its fertile graphic possibilities, and reference to assorted musical influences of blues, jazz and R&B. 

The moment had arrived to solidify the concept into an actual band.  While having played a few preliminary gigs, various alumni including horn section players, bassist Ab Bryant, Tom Lavin and even founder-drummer Jim Vallance (aka Rodney Higgs) chose to exit rather than committing to a performing unit:

The addition of drummer Rocket Norton at the end of the summer and Al Harlow shortly after, incumbents Mitchell and keyboardist John Hall, with Norton and Harlow were all former band-mates in the rough-and-ready Seeds of Time.  With two mere strokes to replace departing personnel, the album sessions had become a road-tested band, now with the brilliance of Tabak's vocals.

Producer Bruce Fairbairn and manager Bruce Allen continued booking recording sessions and concert tours.  One song left over at the end of the first sessions was a John Hall concept titled, “See Forever Eyes”.  It seemed a logical continuation for the next round of recording. 

While the story continued through platinum record sales, US and Canadian tours, Junos, the untimely deaths of both Ron Tabak and Bruce Fairbairn, with numerous top musicians augmenting the touring and recording lineup, somehow forty years elapsed.

Forty years of wandering the wilderness of classic rock festivals means that across Canada Prism is still alive, onstage delivering the songs that made it all happen.   Here’s a toast to those years, and the next forty...