Dick Cooper

The Dream Never Dies

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - LIVING MY WAY - Writ­ten by AN­DREA DOU­GLAS Pho­tog­ra­phy by MARK HOLLERON

For years I just knew him as Dick. A neigh­bour; some­one to say hello to while we waited for our re­spec­tive dogs to do their re­spec­tive busi­ness. I’m not sure when I re­al­ized that Dick – ball cap, grey­ing pony­tail, black leather jacket – was ac­tu­ally a fa­mous rock star. Liv­ing on my street.

Dick is one of The Cooper Broth­ers – a local band that hit the spot­light in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s; a band that made the U.S. charts. And Dick, my neigh­bour, wrote that great hit song (and most of their songs) The Dream Never Dies. It went on to win a mu­sic award in 1980 as one of the most-per­formed songs on U.S. ra­dio. I didn’t live on my street then, but I cer­tainly knew the song. Who didn’t? And today, more than t 30 years later, even I re­mem­ber the t lyrics. The song that my rock­star s neigh­bour says was like “manna from fr heaven.”

“It was the eas­i­est song I ever wrote,” w re­calls Dick with a grin. “I woke wo up in the mid­dle of the night, wrote wr it down, and went back to bed. I still st get roy­al­ties from that song.”

Do a quick YouTube search and you can watch a live per­for­mance of the song recorded in 1986 at the Civic Cen­tre. Cen The fan com­ments are plen­ti­ful – –m many re­mark­ing on the great stay­ing power pow of this clas­sic song. Says one fol­lower: “Best Cana­dian song ever! Aw heck, best coun­try song ever.”

Not bad for an Ottawa boy and his younger brother. Not bad, given their only real train­ing came from their Dad who showed them three chords on the gui­tar and then told them they were on their own.

It started in the usual fash­ion. They were teenage boys playing in teenage bands. But, by 1974, they’d be­gun to make a name for them­selves as a cover band, playing mu­sic by Paul McCart­ney, The Ea­gles and the like. Then in 1977 Brian and Dick took what Dick calls a leap of faith. They be­gan playing their own mu­sic and were signed to a record­ing contract with At­lanta-based Capricorn Records.

“It was like win­ning the lot­tery,” says Dick. “Sud­denly we were on tour with all our he­roes.” At the height of the glory days, they shared the stage with big names like the Doo­bie Broth­ers and Joe Cocker. Dick re­mem­bers one mem­o­rable gig in Alabama when, af­ter a cou­ple of songs, he re­al­ized the en­tire au­di­ence was

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