Hosts Gregg Tilston and Karim Kanji welcome to the show Christopher Ward.

Before writing a No. 1 Billboard hit (“Black Velvet”), becoming a MuchMusic original veejay, and an author and podcaster, JUNO-winning songwriter Christopher Ward recorded a 1978 solo debut album titled, Spark of Desire.

Until now, Spark of Desire has never been available on streaming services. However, on a lucky trip to his well-organized storage space during the pandemic, Ward found the master tapes, and Warner Music Canada was able to bake them back into existence and remaster this delightful debut.

The single, “Once In A Longtime” was written when Ward was just your average, ambitious kid trying to make it in the biz. “In 1975 I was scuffling,” Ward remembers. “Writing songs late at night and by day chasing whatever gigs I could find on the Toronto singer-songwriter circuit. I regularly pestered record companies with my latest demo tapes, which were created in dingy basements, taking my dog with me to appointments.” 

Like fans of classic singer-songwriters of the 1970s, Ward is aware that Spark of Desire has continued through the decades as a beloved album, even if it hasn’t been readily available. “To this day, the songs get played on the radio and, I know from the reaction that I see online, hold a special place in many people’s hearts,” Ward says. “For this, I’m grateful.”

As far as resumes go, Ward’s is among the nation’s most prolific: He was a recording artist throughout the ’70s, a television icon and founding VJ through the ’80s, and a hit songwriter in the ’90s. He’s written songs for many – including Diana Ross, Amanda Marshall, Colin James, and the Backstreet Boys – as well as for CTV’s Instant Star, the Degrassi franchise, Cirque du Soleil, and more. His songs have been performed on Idol shows around the world, and he’s won a JUNO Award for Songwriter of the Year. Ward has also authored three novels and an oral history of MuchMusic titled Is This Live?. He also co-hosts a podcast called Famous Lost Words. 

His album Spark of Desire, featuring the single “Once In A Longtime,” is available now.

Image: Susan Willemsen

Here is the version of Black Velvet by The Lost Fingers Christopher was referring to.

Tagged With: