It was 1966 (a good year in itself especially if you were a Dodge Charger fan) and two guys, Larry Evoy and Craig Hemming, got together in Toronto, Canada, and formed a pop rock group to be called Edward Bear — the actual name of A. A. Milne’s classic Winnie the Poo, a character who shares his middle name with Smokey the Bear and our moon.
By 1969, when they got their big break with Capitol Records, the group consisted of Evoy, Danny Marks and Paul Weldon. A year later Marks left the band and was replaced by Roger Ellis. Evoy, the obvious driving force behind the band, continued holding it together until 1974. During those few years he penned lyrics to several great songs that made it to the charts.
Their top selling singles include You, Me and Mexico, Last Song, and Close Your Eyes, all three of which were Top 5 hits in Canada and also did well in the United States. The biggest was Last Song, released in 1972. It charted at #1 in Canada, peaked at #3 in the U.S. and was awarded a gold disc in March 1973 for selling over one million copies.
Here are the first few lines of Milne’s classic book, based in part on another well-known Canadian icon, Winnie, a bear cub saved from a hunter by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn and smuggled into England. There the bear became the much celebrated mascot of the Fort Garry Horse regiment during the first World War, and later sent to the London Zoo where Milne first saw him.
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for moment and think of it.”
I still wonder who the one that got away was. She must have been a first true love as she was so instrumental as the muse behind Evoy’s lyrics. Though never named, she seems to be the focus of all his most popular songs.