The Dream Never Dies
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