Streetheart singer Kenny Shields dies at 69

By Troy Gillard (Twitter: @Troy_Gillard)
July 21, 2017 - 9:05am Updated: July 21, 2017 - 10:26am

Kenny Shields, Canadian rock legend and lead singer for the band Streetheart, has passed away at age 69.

Bandmate Jeff Neill says Shields passed away “quietly and peacefully” at the St. Boniface General Hospital in Winnipeg early Friday morning with his family by his side.

Shields' illness was announced on the Facebook page for "Kenny Shields and Streetheart" earlier this month. The band cancelled their scheduled appearance Thursday night at Westerner Days alongside Chilliwack.

Streetheart was known for a number of hit songs throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, including "Action,'' "Look in Your Eyes," and a cover of the Rolling Stones classic "Under My Thumb."

Shields was born and raised in the small farming community of Nokomis, Sask., where his knack for playing music started taking shape around the time he enrolled in an amateur talent show at six years old. He moved to Saskatoon to attend university where he joined local band Witness Incorporated.

Shields began travelling Canada with the band, touring with legendary acts like Roy Orbison and Cream; but his career was sidetracked in 1970 following an automobile accident that left him critically injured.

After the dissolution of his first band, Shields moved to Winnipeg in 1975 to return his focus to music. He teamed up with another group from his home province, and in the years that followed, they would shuffle band members to eventually become Streetheart.

The band would record six studio albums and a double-disc live album, garnering six gold albums, four platinum albums, a gold single among its achievements.

Streetheart also brought home a Juno Award for most promising group of the year in 1980.

The band was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Association Hall of Fame in 2003.

''I never really ever aspired to be in anything like this,`` Shields said during the ceremony. ''I never would have planned it.''

Shields was planning to join the band for a run of 2017 tour dates before illness forced him to back out.

Streetheart planned to play a farewell concert at the Winnipeg Classic RockFest next month as a tribute to Shields. Organizers say that event is still moving forward on Aug. 29 as scheduled.

(With file from The Canadian Press)


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