Not to be confused with “Ireland’s most popular wedding band”, Harlequin are a Canadian Rock band that formed in Manitoba in 1975. The band began their career by recording a number of demos, and in between were constantly playing shows in and around Toronto. Their first big break came almost by accident when the band were spotted by legendary producer Jack Douglas, who has worked with huge names including John Lennon, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Blue Öyster Cult, The New York Dolls and Patti Smith, at a gig. His scouts had originally meant to see a band playing in the room downstairs but after seeing the show was sold out, they went upstairs and caught a mind blowing set from Harlequin, leading to a recording deal from Douglas’s company.
After recording their debut album at ‘The Record Plant’ studio in New York, with Douglas’s help the band soon signed to ‘Epic Records’ in 1979. The album entitled ‘Victim of a Song’ achieved gold status in Canada, an impressive feat for any band releasing their first album. With extensive radio play and constant tours, Harlequin were fast becoming one of Canada’s biggest Rock bands.
The second release, ‘Love Crimes’ was released the following year in 1980, and went on to go Platinum, powered in part by Harlequin’s biggest hit to date ‘Innocence’. In 1982 the band released their third album ‘One False Move’ in 1982 which included arguably their biggest hit single, ‘I Did It For Love’. After already receiving backing from Epic in Canada, and after ‘Columbia’ gained gained rights to the album in the US, Heavy Metal Records gained license to distribute the album in the UK the following year, becoming the first ‘Harlequin’ album to be released in the UK. For their self-titled fourth studio album released in 1984, Harlequin replaced Douglas with The Fixx bassist Alfie Agius as their producer. Sadly the band effectively split after this album, but in 1986, Harlequin released their Greatest Hits album with one new track ‘(It’s) No Mystery’. Over their career the band have gone through a number of line up changes, but have continued to tour worldwide, mainly in Canada and in the US. Since the release of their greatest hits album, the band have continued to operate but didn’t released another album with leader George Belanger keeping the band active while running another business for 18 years.
However in 2004, the band released an album titled ‘Harlequin II’ and since then have released ‘Waking the Jester’ in 2007 and a live album ‘On/Q’ in 2009.