Terry Bush

All about Me, By Me

Writing ‘About Me, By Me’ isn’t an easy task for me, but here goes. I was born in Toronto on April 29, 1942! I’m the youngest of three sons of the late Canadian artist Jack Bush. We lived on Eastview Crescent in North York ~ not far from Loretta Abbey. I went to Armour Heights Public School and later attended Lawrence Park in Toronto. My family was very musical, not ‘in’ the music business, we all like to play and there just seemed to be a lot of natural talent. We had a piano which my dad would play. He was self taught and for all you musicians out there, he learned to play in the key of Eflat! He enjoyed playing jazz. My mom, Mabel, could play too.

As a family, we used to go to Lake of Bays, Muskoka in the summer. Either renting a cottage or staying with friends. It was there that I remember my Dad teaching me some tunes on the Uuklele. “Ain’t She Sweet” ! I would have been around 10 years old. But what did it for me was a commercial featuring a cowboy, with a guitar on a horse. I keep thinking it was the Marlboro Man, but I can’t be sure. I thought that was the the coolest thing ever! I wanted to be the Marlboro Man. I didn’t want the horse though, I wanted the guitar. My wish was granted and for my next birthday I got a guitar. I wouldn’t put it down. I practiced and practiced, seriously, until my fingers bled.

The next year, Rock ‘n Roll was here, at least for me (I know the date can be debated) I’m just talking about music that we hadn’t heard before and the thing was, I’d practicing like a dog for a year and could play and I liked to sing. Elvis hit. My idols at the time were Ricky Nelson, Elvis & Carl Perkins. My favourite guitar players in the late 50’s were Jimmy Burton and Scotty Moore. Jimmy Burton was the first guitar player I ever heard bend strings.

It was 1955, and I could sing/play and did my first performance at a Father/Son banquet at school. Just me and my guitar. No guitar strap, I had a rope. I remember going into the bathroom wanting to practice a little before getting up on stage. I was shaking like a leaf. I sang and played a few song; “That’s All Right Mamma”, and “Blue Suede Shoes” are the two I can remember playing.

Soon enough, it was time to get an electric guitar and what I could afford at the time was a Hofner. I couldn’t afford an amp, so I built one. It was good too – until the day I went Toronto for a rehearsal. In North York, where I lived, the hydro was 25 hertz but in Toronto it was 60 hertz. I had plugged the amp in and literally, it just started smokin’. Fried. Toronto Hydro actually came around to all the homes and switched all of North York to 60 hertz and when that was done, my transformer was replaced.

During the next few years I met with friends that could play or sing and we would form little musical groups here and there. Practicing whenever we could. Continuing through high school I played and after grade 12 joined a group called “Dave O’Neill & The Convertibles”. Piano, bass, drums, guitar and Dave singing. By the age of 19, much to my disheartened and disappointed parents, I was on the road in the USA. I was gone about a year. All I brought home was a new Telecaster and a Fender amp. We were starving and had no money. When I returned I got a job in the mail room at MacLaren Advertising. My dad wanted me to go back to school and at this point I wanted too as well. After my experience in the United States I didn’t think I had much of a career in Rock ‘n Roll.

I was excited to get accepted to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, for Electronic Technology. After receiving honours for two years, on return for the third year, there was no ‘audio’ in the course outline so I dropped out.

During my time at Ryerson, I joined up with other musicians and we used to hang out at the original ‘Blue Note’ on Yonge Street. We used to go and listen to the bands that played there. The house band was called ‘The Silhouettes’ with Doug Riley on organ. I loved the band and asked if I could try out. I did, I was hired and that’s how I met my friend, Doug Riley. Later, Robbie Lane approached me about joining his band, which at the time was backing Ronnie Hawkins (after ‘THE BAND’ had left). I jumped at the chance because I always wanted to play with “THE HAWK”. We played with “THE HAWK” until June of 1965. By 1966 we were hired as the house band for a CTV-TV Show, called “It’s Happening. “>

Jingles were originally a sideline, but slowly I began writing and producing more commercials. After writing Baby Ruth with Doug Riley I began studying arranging and composition and by 1967 I had formed my own, shortly thereafter, award winning jingle company ~ Terry Bush Productions. My good friend and amazing arranger was the late, great, Jim Pirie.

Living in Toronto, starting a family, playing with the band, working with major advertising companies, writing, producing, playing, singing and announcing various ads, life was busy. I received a lot of recognition for composing and producing “Man That’s Coffee” for Maxwell House with the ‘Baja Marimba Band’ which they ended up recording as a single.  I also wrote and sang,  “Do You know What You’re Doing?” for the, Council on Drug Abuse which went on to become a hit record.   Very popular in the States, but ended up being pulled off the Canadian airways because they thought it was promoting drugs !  Go figure !!

In 2009, I was asked if I would donate all my tapes to the Canadian Broadcast Museum. They are in the process of transferring all the jingles onto CD’s for me and tapes will become part of their library. Among many of my award winning jingles were, ‘I Adore my 64, my Commodore 64‘ and ‘I wanna go to the zoo, zoo, zoo’ for the Metro Toronto Zoo and ‘Life in the city’ for the opening of the Eaton Center in Toronto.

It was in and around 1978 when Simon Christopher Dew, the producer for the T.V. series The Littlest Hobo approached me to create a theme song for the show. I had been writing songs with John Crossen and between us we came up with ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ the catchy theme tune for The Littlest Hobo. The series ran in the late 70’s and 80’s worldwide.  Re-runs ran for years and it’s just recent that CTV (now BELL MEDIA) has stopped running the show.

It was in April of 2000 after finding out about the NATWEST commercial running in England that Simon Christopher Dew and I thought we’d like to release the song (finally) as sung by the original singer, me. I re-recorded the theme with an added verse written by John but remained faithful to the original arrangement and sound as best as I could.

I’m happily living in Ajax, Canada, with my beautiful wife and step-daughter, Tiffany. I have three wonderful grown children, 3 beautiful grand-daughters and one adorable great-grandaughter.

I don’t write jingles anymore. I will sit and noodle at the piano and I teach guitar ~ life is good.