Anyone growing up in Canada in the 70 & 80’s in Canada had Streetheart as part of their soundtrack. This morning we lost the voice behind that band – Kenny Shields. The bands longtime guitarist Jeff Neill released the following statement.
“It is with deep sadness and regret that I announce that our dear friend and bandmate Kenny Shields has passed away quietly and peacefully early this morning at the St. Boniface General Hospital in Winnipeg MB.
By his side were his wife Elena, his daughter Julia and his sister Sharlene. Our thanks to the caring and compassionate staff at the St. B for all the dignity and comfort that they provided for Kenny and his family throughout this difficult time. We are most grateful to each and every one of you for all the love, support and hope you have extended towards Kenny and his family over these last few weeks. I know personally how much that meant to Kenny and, I know that your kindness contributed to his inner peace in the end.
Live your life. Love your life and, enjoy every moment of your life with the ones you love.
RIP my brother.
You will be missed.
You will never be forgotten.
A few weeks ago Shields had to cancel his farewell tour with Streetheart when he became too ill to perform.
In 2014 I reached out to Kenny on Facebook for an interview for a retrospective Streetheart video for YouTube. He asked for my cell # and called me a few weeks later. He proceeded to tell me that there was too much going on in his life and maybe we could chat at a later date. We talked about music for a little bit and that was it. In March of this year he contacted me again and said, “Please understand that I am in my last year for health reasons.” I didn’t exactly know what that meant until today.
Shields was born and raised in a small farming community in Saskatchewan. From the age of six music was incredible important to him. He would win a few amateur talent show and after moving to Saskatoon to attend University the singer quickly found his way in one of the cities top bands – Witness Incorporated.
Just as his career was taking off Kenny was seriously injured in an auto accident, sidelining him for a few years. He played in a few more bands including Witness but in late 1976, while touring out west, Kenny met guitarist Paul Dean and drummer Matt Frenette and Streetheart was born shortly after. Though Dean and Frenette would leave to form Loverboy before Streetheart’s second album the bands success did not waiver.
With Kenny Shields as lead vocalist produced hits like, “Action”, “Hollywood”, “Here Comes the Night”, “Under My Thumb”, “Tin Soldier”, “Look In Your Eyes”, “What Kind of Love Is This”, “One More Time” and “Snow White” Streetheart had six gold and four platinum albums.
I saw the band four times in concert and always felt a connection to their drive and music. Kenny was one of the best front-men I’d ever seen. He suffered from a serious heart ailment and that’s what took him off the road weeks ago. He was one of the great ones. – by John Beaudin
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.
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