Harlequin was originally formed in the mid-seventies. After several demos and trips to Toronto, Harlequin was finally discovered playing in a tiny bar in Toronto by representatives of Jack Douglas, legendary producer of Aerosmith, Patti Smith and John Lennon. Ironically, the scouts for Douglas’ company had actually intended to see Goddo, the band playing downstairs, but were turned away due to a sold old show. Instead they retired upstairs to a much smaller bar – only to be blown away by the band, playing a high-energy set of strong original songs for only a handful of people. This chance meeting led to a production deal with Douglas.
With Douglas’ help, Harlequin signed a deal with CBS/Epic (home to Cheap Trick and Eddie Money) in 1979. The band proceeded to amaze everyone at the label by pushing the first release Victim of a Song (1979) to gold status through sheer hard work, incessant touring, word of mouth and solid song-writing. Songs like “Sweet Things In Life”, “You Are The Light” and “Survive” introduced the band to radio in many markets in Canada – especially Western Canada.
The second release, Love Crimes (1980), came with a bigger push from the label, and went on to go Platinum, powered in part by Harlequin’s biggest hit to date “Innocence”. Another track, “Thinking Of You”, became a staple of rock radio and a highlight of the live show.
One False Move (1982) cemented the band’s radio success with tunes like “I Did It For Love,” “Superstitious Feeling” and “Heart Gone Cold.” The fourth and final album, eponymously titled, featured a change of direction as well as producer – Alfie Agius, former bassist with The Fixx, replaced Jack Douglas. This album produced one single “Take This Heart” and the band’s only video, filmed at the abandoned Don jail in Toronto by Juno-winning Champagne Productions.