‘It’s the Award I’ve Always Wanted’: April Wine’s Myles Goodwyn Validated by Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction

Myles Goodwyn, veteran rocker, founding member, and leader of the multi-platinum, hit-making band April Wine, has pretty much seen it all. With 55 years as a professional musician, and now 74, there’s not much that can phase him. That’s why it’s a big surprise to hear him sounding a lot more like a 24-year-old these days. It’s all thanks to the announcement he’s been named to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“I’ll tell you something about the power an award like this can have over someone,” says Goodwyn. “I feel comfortable now. I feel renewed. I have confidence now. It’s hard to believe, I’ve written a lot of songs that people know and got all kinds of awards. But I’ve never had that feeling of total confidence. And I’m brimming with it now! I just love the feeling and the space that I’m in. And it’s all because of this award. ‘Myles, you’re a good songwriter, you should be in the Hall of Fame!’ I have so much confidence in my songs now.”

You would think that the man who penned “Tonite Is A Wonderful Time to Fall In Love,” “I Like to Rock,” “I Wouldn’t Want to Lose Your Love,” and plenty more Can-Con classics was used to high praise and industry accolades, but this one is very different for him.

“I’ve won awards before, but it was always with my band, April Wine,” he says. “But this is me, and that feels great. It’s the award I’ve always wanted.”

Known as a lead singer, band leader, guitar ace, blues aficionado (his 2018 Friends of the Blues set was Juno-nominated), and for many, a hard rocker, it might come as a surprise to find out at heart, he’s a singer-songwriter.

“I’ve always wanted to be known as a songwriter and respected as a songwriter,” says Goodwyn. “This is the award that validates, for me, that I’m appreciated and recognized as a songwriter. I’d rather be Bernie Taupin than Elton John when it comes to music. I’d rather not be out there touring, recording, singing, guitar playing, all I really wanted to be was a songwriter.”

Songwriting, even great songwriting, came early to Goodwyn. Way back in his Halifax-area high school band, Woody’s Termites, with future Wine member Jim Henman, he wrote the tune “You Won’t Dance With Me,” featured a decade later on 1977’s Forever for Now album, April Wine’s biggest hit single to that point.

“I still like to do it with my current trio (which also features Henman), I hear it on the radio all the time, and what a thrill, the first song you ever wrote, back in high school, becomes a hit for you in your country.”

When April Wine formed, Goodwyn was one of just three songwriters in the group, but member changes left him responsible for almost all the writing by the group’s third album, Electric Jewels. The band’s biggest fame came in the late ’70s and early ’80s when they broke big in the U.S. and Europe with harder-edged songs like “Roller” and the platinum-selling The Nature of the Beast. Ironically, almost all the group’s Goodwyn-penned hits were lyrically impressive ballads.

April Wine performing in the ’70s.

“There have been so many of them, back to “I Wouldn’t Want To Lose Your Love,” “You Won’t Dance With Me,” an innocent thing, “Like a Lover, Like a Song,” “Rock and Roll is a Vicious Game,” “Just Between You and Me,” “Lady Run, Lady Hide,” I do like to write them.” He was king of the Canadian power ballads way before they became big in the ’80s.

Goodwyn is just as prolific now, writing for his blues albums (a third is coming this year), his 2022 solo album Long Pants, and ongoing April Wine projects. Now, instead of youthful innocence and romance, his influences are weightier matters. His “Some of These Children” was his response to the discovery of so many unmarked residential school graves. “For Ukraine” came quickly on the heels of that country’s invasion by Russia, and earned him the SIFA (Social Impact Film and Art) Award for 2022.

“In later life, I’ve been putting more emphasis on the lyrics,” he says. “I want every lyric to count. I work a lot harder on them now than I did when I was young. Rock bands don’t tend to be really wordy, it’s all about feel, great grooves, power, and guitars. Not to say I didn’t spend time on them, because I did, and the proof is in the pudding, Hey, it got me in the Songwriters Hall of Fame!”

If you think that Goodwyn’s recent announcement that he was no longer going to tour with April Wine means he’s retiring, that’s just not the case. All he’s doing is relinquishing his stage duties but will continue to write and produce for the group. And since he’s moved back to the Maritimes pre-Covid, he’s been on a creative explosion. He currently fronts an acoustic trio (with pals Jim Henham and Bruce Dixon) that gigs nationally all the time, he does solo and blues shows, and is even debuting a new trio in June in Halifax, featuring fellow Nova Scotians Matt Minglewood and Bryan Potvin (Northern Pikes). The move back to his Halifax roots has been inspiring, and he fits right in with all the singer-songwriters.

“Before I came here, I was a recluse,” he admits. “I joked that I didn’t leave the house after dark unless I was paid. And I didn’t write nearly as much as I’ve been writing here. But I came down here and all of a sudden I’m meeting people I didn’t know before, great people like Bruce Guthro, JP Cormier, Dave Gunning, Lennie Gallant, Matt Andersen, and some close friends now.”

It will be Gallant, whose song “Peter’s Dream” was inducted into the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame in 2019, who will make the presentation to Goodwyn on Thursday, May 4 in Halifax at the East Coast Music Awards gala. Is he excited?

“It gives me so much confidence and credibility, I can’t get over it,” he says. “I’m right psyched.”

You can stream the East Coast Music Awards at ECMA.com.