Bob Hahn

Bob Hahn (Robert Henry). Composer, arranger, administrator, singer, b Kindersley, near Saskatoon, 8 Apr 1920, d Toronto 26 Jul 1993.

Bob Hahn

Bob Hahn (Robert Henry). Composer, arranger, administrator, singer, b Kindersley, near Saskatoon, 8 Apr 1920, d Toronto 26 Jul 1993. In the mid-1930s he, his brother Lloyd, and his sisters Kay and Joyce were organized by their father, Harvey, into a musical troupe, The Harmony Kids, which performed throughout Saskatchewan and then in Montana, New Jersey, and New York City. Their exploits are recounted in Hahn's book None of the Roads Were Paved (Markham, Ont, 1985). With the entry of the USA into World War II, the family returned to Canada, settling in Montreal by 1942. After serving during the war in the RCAF, Hahn joined the Toronto dance band of Neil Golden, which moved to Hamilton, Ont. There Hahn studied orchestration and composition 1946-8 with Reginald Bedford. Returning to Montreal in 1948, he formed a vocal quintet that included his sister Joyce. The group was heard 1951-6 with the Art Morrow Orchestra on the CBC radio shows 'Sunshine Society,' 'A Trip to the Moon,' 'Cue for Fun,' and 'A Date with Fred Hill.'

Hahn was a leading figure in the Canadian jingles industry, writing more than 1500 between the early 1950s and the mid-1960s, among them 'It's mainly because of the meat' for Dominion Stores Ltd. Also in the 1960s, he provided input that led to the new Broadcast Act and Cancon legislation.

Hahn also wrote many songs, some of which employed lyrics by his daughters Cathie and Luckie (singers in the early 1970s with Quebec pop groups). More than 60 of his songs have been recorded, among them 'Montreal' (by Joyce Hahn and in French by other artists) and the instrumental pieces Latin Afternoon and Mary's Song. Other artists to record Hahn's music include Mitchell Ayres, Norrie Paramour, and the Billy Van Singers. As producer, he worked with acts such as Rick Neufeld, and was credited by the band Mashmakhan for arranging for their first contract with Columbia. Hahn's companies Laurentian Music and CanCon Music in turn have held the copyrights to his music. Hahn was general manager of the music division of Multiple Access Ltd in Montreal 1974-8, then established Bob Hahn Productions Inc in Toronto in 1978, thereafter tracing unpaid royalties for other composers, and music rights for film use, until his retirement in 1984. He was a member of SOCAN, the Canadian Music Publishers Association, and other musicians' organizations.

Hahn's younger brother, Donald, had a distinguished career as a recording engineer.


None of the Roads Were Paved. (Markham, Ont, 1985)

Further Reading

  • Benoit, Frank. 'Trailer to the stars,' Weekend Picture Magazine, 6 Oct 1951

    Frayne, Trent. 'Joyce Hahn's trailer trek to the stars,' Chatelaine, Mar 1957

    Kirk, Helen. 'Joyce Hahn: waif in wonderland,' Canadian Home Journal, Aug 1957

    Francis, Diane. 'Still on top - mainly because of the music,' Toronto Star, 4 Apr 1982

    "Music industry veteran Bob Hahn is dead at 73,"RPM, 7 Aug, 1993

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