Stan Cayer

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Stan Cayer
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Birth nameStanley Gordon Melvin Cayer
Born(1940-08-03)August 3, 1940
Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada
DiedOctober 16, 2016(2016-10-16) (aged 76)
GenresPop rock, Rockabilly, Country music
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Music Promoter
  • Manager
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1957-2016
LabelsSGM, London Records
Associated actsThe Shants, The Invaders, The Renegades, Daryl Quist, The Poppy Family

Stanley Gordon Melvin Cayer (August 3, 1940 - October 16, 2016) was a Canadian recording artist, music promoter and manager.

Early life

Cayer grew up in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He learned to play the guitar at a young age, and performed with a number of local bands during the late 1950s including The Shants and The Renegades. A bad car accident on Cayer's birthday in 1962 near Parksville, British Columbia sent him to hospital for nine months.

Solo career

Cayer played with local groups The Shants and The Renegades in and around Nanaimo and Port Alberni during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also shared the stage with The Invaders[1] The Idols, The Bel-Aires, and The Viscounts. He was often billed on posters as Stan "Say Mama" Cayer.

Cayer was an Elvis fan and wanted to record in the same studio as his hero. He saved up $1000 and in June 1963, sewed it into the seat of his 1950 Ford Coupe for security and drove to Nashville, Tennessee. He walked into RCA Studio B and met Bill Porter (sound engineer), Elvis's sound engineer, who agreed to help him record his original songs.[2]

He recorded three songs at RCA Studios with well-known session players of the Nashville A-Team - Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolph, Harold Bradley, Charlie McCoy, Hargus "Pig" Robbins and the Anita Kerr Singers. When Cayer returned to Vancouver, he opted to release the songs himself on his own label SGM Records (taken from his initials, Stanley Gordon Melvin) instead of working with an established publisher.[3][4]

His first single Why Did I Cry b/w 3 Wild Women charted in the Vancouver CKKS-FM charts between December 1963 and January 1964. He played a number of concerts throughout 1964, touring mainly on Vancouver Island. At one show in Ladysmith, British Columbia, he opened for fellow Canadian recording artist Daryl Quist, who had recorded several singles in England on Pye Records and Decca Records.[2]

In November 1963 he recorded Letter to Santa at Robin Spurgin Vancouver recording studio. This was released in time for Christmas 1963, using the Nashville recording Crying on my pillow as the B-Side. Although a second Christmas song was recorded, it was never released. The following spring he released Why Did I Cry, b/w Crying on my pillow on the B-side.

Between 1964 and 1966, Cayer was a regular performer on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Let's Go (1964 TV series). The host, Red Robinson, had recruited Cayer for the show as he had previously played his songs on the radio. On the show, Stan mainly performed Elvis songs, but played a few of his own songs as well.

Magazine and Booking Agency

With the profits from his record sales, Cayer founded Top Teen Scene, a music and entertainment magazine in the style of 16 (magazine). The first issue, published in September 1965, featured The Beatles on the cover with noted Australian DJ Mad Mel. Following backlash from angry parents and teachers over a crude poem printed in the third issue, Cayer discontinued the publication in 1966.

In 1967, he formed a booking agency called Rols Royce Bookings that represented many popular Vancouver bands, including The Shags, Bernard John and the Bats, The In-Crowd, The Look, The Reign, The Silver Chalice Revue, The Cytations, The Sound Set, and many others.[4]

In 1965, he became the manager of The Shags, who in 1969 changed their name to Long Time Comin'.[5] From 1969 to 1972 they toured extensively throughout British Columbia, playing mostly high school dances and clubs. During this time they released three singles, all of which have become collectable; in particular, the last single Part of the Season has become enormously popular with garage and psychedelic record collectors.[2][4]

Cayer booked a number of concerts with the Poppy Family throughout British Columbia in 1968, with David Sinclair as the opening act.[6] At the time, the Poppy Family was relatively new and had just released their first single Beyond the Clouds. When a radio station that was promoting the show accidentally mixed up the dates for one of the concerts on Vancouver Island, the Poppy Family ended up playing to a nearly empty venue; later, the radio station later sent a letter apologizing to Cayer for the mix-up.

Poppy Family singer-songwriter Terry Jacks initially didn't want to sell records off the stage at concerts because he felt was "tacky", but Cayer brought out a box of 45's after a performance and asked the audience "Who's got a buck?". The crowd stormed the stage, and they sold all of the records they had with them that night. From that point on, the Poppy Family always sold records off the stage.

Record Label

In 1968, he revived the SGM Records label and in May of that year he released a four-song EP on SGM featuring four groups from his booking agency called Rols Royce Booking Agency Presents: Live from Vancouver which featured The Look, The Reign, Silver Chalice Revue and The Sound Set (who were previously called The New Ids). This EP has become a highly sought-after collectors item.[2] Although the title references the word Live, the four cuts are actually studio recordings done at Robin Spurgin's studio. The record was intended as a promotional tool to be sent to potential clubs and high schools in order to get more bookings. There were only 600 copies made, custom pressed by Compo Company (Decca Records of Canada).

In 1970, Cayer discovered a group called Sunday when he heard them rehearsing in the basement of a friend's house. They were originally called Daybreak, but changed their name when they discovered another band with the same name. Stan became their manager and funded a recording session and a lease deal with London Records for a 45. A Memorable New Year's Eve party concert was played by the band in Whistler, BC. However, the band parted ways over disagreements about money in the spring of 1971. Singer Byron O'Donnell and keyboardist Gordy Hayman would both re-sign with SGM Records to release solo records[5].

In the early 1970s, Cayer built a studio in the old garage behind his house where he recorded all of the artists that were released on his label from 1972 onward. The studio featured unique 8 track recording on two synchronized Sony 4 track reel-to-reel tape recorders, LAX Compressors, Neumann U87 Microphones and a 12 channel custom EPS mixing board that he had built himself.

In 1972, Cayer recorded and produced a full album with David Sinclair called Take My Hand, featuring original compositions by Sinclair in a folk-country psychedelic rock style. Stan had first met Sinclair in 1966 when he was playing with a band called The Blue Knights and was impressed with his playing. Sinclair would go on to become Sarah McLachlan's guitarist for ten years and k.d.lang's guitarist for two years. The album was re-issued on CD by Regenerator Records in 2010.[7]

Post musical Career

In the late 1970s Cayer acquired The Black Eyes,[8] a 92' staysail schooner from one of his recording artists, Shirley Granger (Lewis)[9], which is pictured on the cover of her album Amist The Black Eyes.[10] It had been built in Port Hammond and featured a unique indoor moon pool diving hatch, a steel hull and dual masts, and was painted to look like a pirate ship. For the next decade Cayer went into the charter business booking tours up and down the coast of British Columbia. He single-handedly sailed the ship through the Panama Canal to Costa Rica and on one occasion, reportedly fought off pirates with only a flare gun. Cayer spent many years living on it and sailing to many various destinations.

In the mid 1990's, Cayer started a company called Opal Essence in Vancouver that dealt in reverse osmosis water purification; their office was on Marine Drive near the Oak street bridge and was around for about ten years before closing down.

Later Years

Cayer enjoyed spending time in Nicaragua where he owned a time share with his long-time sweetheart Marion and traveled there frequently. He continued to write songs and play guitar although no longer active in the business.

In 2002 he sold off his two side by side house properties on Heather street in Vancouver to a developer, which were then blown up during the filming of the TV show The Dead Zone (TV series).

In 2007, Cayer returned to the stage at the urging of his long-time friend Jamie Anstey, performing several shows at The Cottage Bistro on Main Street in Vancouver with a host of guest musicians.

In 2016, Cayer began restoration on The Black Eyes as the ship had weathered heavily over the previous decades and fallen into disrepair. He spent most of the summer of 2016 working on it in Manion Bay near Bowen Island, where it was anchored to save on moorage fees, but did not fully complete the work before his death in October.


in mid-October 2016 Cayer complained to friends and family about excruciating pain in his abdomen. He was rushed to hospital where it was discovered he had advanced liver cancer, despite having no symptoms or any pain up until that point. Cayer passed away a few days later on October 16, 2016, in Victoria, British Columbia|Victoria of complications from liver cancer.[11][12][13]


Cayer was cremated and his ashes were scattered by his widow, Marion Paquette, in Qualicum Beach.

He was honored posthumously at the Juno Awards of 2017 along with other deceased Canadian musicians during the memorial part of the show.

The Walt Disney Company had expressed interest in buying his ship The Black Eyes to display at Disneyland, but with complications of moving it to California and deciding what to ultimately use it for, they eventually passed on it, and the ship was sold to a private buyer.

Cayer's widow and lifetime sweetheart Marion Paquette passed away February 22, 2021.

Cayer's lifetime musical archives including master tape recordings, photographs, and music publishing were bequeathed to his long-time friend and associate Jamie Anstey who has been actively involved in the music industry most of this life. Anstey curates the Canadian Music Archives[14] which is home to thousands of other musical artist's master tapes and history.

An anthology of Cayer's music as well as his SGM Records catalogue is currently in the works for release on Vinyl and CD as well as digitally.



Year Singles
1963 Crying on my Pillow / 3 Wild Women
1963 Letter to Santa / Crying on my Pillow
1964 Crying on my Pillow / Why Did I Cry
1971 Take my Hand / I Love You Lynne
1975 I Love You Lynne / My My Gemini



Year Group Title Label
1968 Various Rols Royce Bookings Presents (EP) SGM
1970 Long Time Comin' Bum Ba Da Da Da (Kinda Girl) / Paper Rose SGM
1970 Sunday Change of Mind / Livin' Free London
1971 Stan Cayer Take my Hand / I Love You Lynne London
1972 Long Time Comin' Downhill Slope / Magic World London
1972 Long Time Comin' Part of the Season / Funny SGM
1973 David Sinclair Take my Hand (mono/stereo) SGM
1973 David Sinclair Take my Hand (stereo) / bio (interview) SGM
1973 Gordy Hayman Every Knows Butterfly (mono/stero) SGM
1973 Flashlight Don't Lay No Rock n' Roll... (mono) / Flashes (interview) SGM
1973 Flashlight Don't Lay No Rock n' Roll... (stereo) / Flashes (interview) SGM
1974 Sun Tryin' All Alone / Not for Me SGM
1975 D.B. (Basil) Watson Nothin' at All / Don't Wait Too Long SGM
1975 Cam Molloy Lose the Blues / Bar-Rooms Truck Stops SGM
1975 Stan Cayer I Love You Lynne / My My Gemini SGM
1976 Cam Molloy ICBC Blues (edited) / ICBC Blues SGM
1976 D.B. (Basil) Watson Funky Space Band / Ten Good Reasons SGM
1976 Cam Molloy Sweetheart of the Rodeo / Game with the Blues SGM
1976 Marv Wilson Barstool Fool / Long Haired Country Boy SGM
1977 B Jay Roberts Sweet Loving / Best Daddy in the World SGM
1977 Beth Wright Dreams SGM
1977 Beth Wright Come back to me / Lonely Woman SGM
1978 Chaly Bent Alberta Rose / Calling Dawson City SGM


Year Group Title Label
1972 George McDowall and the Lads Live at the Wig & Dickie SGM
1973 David Sinclair Take my Hand SGM
1974 Beth Wright - SGM
1975 Bruce Payne's CHEK TV Show Daybreak (various artists) SGM
1977 Shirley Granger Amist the Black Eyes SGM
1978 The Cen-Tels Live SGM


Year Title Track Label
1987 The History of Vancouver Rock Vol. 1 3 Wild Women Neptoon Records[15][16]


  1. "The Invaders Band".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Biography: Cayer, Stan".
  3. "Stan Cayer was a music pioneer".
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Long Time Comin'".
  5. 5.0 5.1 "SGM Records Artists".
  6. Harrison, Tom (2015). Tom Harrison’s History of Vancouver Rock ’n’ Roll. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780988028050.
  7. "David Sinclair - Take My Hand".
  8. "The Black Eyes".
  9. "Granger, Shirley".
  10. "Shirley Grainger - Amist the Black Eyes".
  11. "RIP Stan Cayer".
  12. "Stan Cayer Obituary". Archived from the original on 2021-12-29.
  13. "Cayer A Vancouver Music Pioneer".
  14. "Canadian Music Archives".
  15. "The History of Vancouver Rock & Roll Vol. 1".
  16. Kruz, Jerry (2014). The Afterthought: West Coast Rock Posters and Recollections from the ‘60s. Rocky Mountain Books Ltd. ISBN 9781771600248.

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