Dallas Harms | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Dallas Harms

Dallas Leon Harms, singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer (born 18 July 1935 in Jansen, SK; died 12 October 2019 in Hamilton, ON). He was raised in Hamilton, Ontario. Inspired by Hank Williams, he began his career in the mid-1950s and made his first record, for Reo, in 1959. Harms had country hits for Columbia in 1972–73 with “In the Loving Arms of My Marie” and “Old Ira Gray,” and for Broadland 1975–79 with “Paper Rosie,” “Georgia I’m Cheating On You Tonight,” “It’s Crying Time for Me,” “The Fastest Gun,” “I Picked a Daisy,” and “The Ballad of the Duke.” Concurrently, his LPs for Broadland included Paper Rosie (BR-1917), The Fastest Gun (BR-1982), and Painter of Words (BR-2052).

Several of his songs were recorded at mid-decade by Orval Prophet and by the American singer Gene Watson. The latter had major US hits with “Paper Rosie” in 1977 and with “The Old Man and His Horn” and “Cowboys Don’t Get Lucky All the Time” in 1978. Harms made several tours at this time across Canada, including one in 1976 with Ian Tyson. He also performed in New Zealand and, in 1980 and 1981, in England. His LP Out of Harms Way (1982) included the popular “Honky Tonkin’ (All Night Long),” “Country Fever” and “Fooling with Fire.”

Harms received Big Country Awards as top composer (1975, 1977, 1978 and 1979) and top producer (1978, 1979 and 1985; the last shared with Mike “Pepe” Francis) and for best single (“Paper Rosie,” 1975; “Georgia I’m Cheating on You Tonight,” 1976) and best album (The Fastest Gun, 1978). He also won the CCMA awards as producer of the year in 1983 and 1984 (the second again shared with Francis).

Harms produced singles or/or albums by Terry Carisse, Larry Mattson, Wayne Rostad, Roni Sommers, Paul Weber and others. Though largely inactive as a performer after the mid-1980s, he continued to write songs. His best-known title, “Paper Rosie,” became a standard of the Canadian country repertoire. It was heard in the 1990 US feature film Another 48 Hours.

Harms was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, for “Paper Rosie,” in 2018. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hamilton Music Awards in 2016.

A version of this article was originally published in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

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