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In Memoriam: Brian Rading

Five Man Electrical Band

Brian Rading, who laid down the low end for Canada’s Five Man Electrical Band, has passed away after fighting throat cancer. He was 69 years old.

Rading co-founded the band in 1963 in Ottawa. Originally called The Staccatos, the group changed their name after a handful of albums on Capitol Records of Canada. Rading was instrumental in choosing the name Five Man Electrical Band after a song singer Les Emmerson wrote. They released their first self-titled album under the new name in 1969.

The band had mild success with several hits, but it was 1971’s “Signs” that served as the group’s international breakthrough. It charted #4 in Canada, #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and spent two months at #1.

Their success was not long lived, as Rading and drummer Michael Belanger quit during the recording of the 1973 album, Sweet Paradise. The band would reform in the 80’s with different members and regained notoriety when Tesla scored a mega hit with an acoustic cover of “Signs” in 1991.

Rading continued to play for the rest of his life and was a staple of the Ottawa music scene. “He loved being on stage, more than anything,” his daughter Jennifer told the Ottawa Citizen. “That’s where his heart was. That was his soul.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Brian Rading.