RIP Greg Simpson, Beloved Canadian Music & Radio Industry Staple

Everybody here at Canadian Musician is really saddened by the recent passing of Greg Simpson, a beloved Canadian music and radio industry veteran and a key long-time member of Canadian Music Week’s organizing team. According to FYI Music News, Greg passed award on June 10, 2020, at University Hospital in London, ON, following a stroke and an inoperable blood clot.

To read an excellent profile of Greg written in 2018 by Jim JJ Johnston, the CEO, president, and chief talent/content coach for JJIMS Inc., go HERE.

Here is a section of that profile of Greg written by Johnston:

Greg’s philosophy, all through his career, was to continue to build on the relationships he was making with the music industry, enhanced by his annual visits to Three Days in March/The Record Conference/CMW, and, when he left the station with a nice buyout that led him to do very little for a year, other than to manage artists and hang out, but it got to a point where he had to start earning again. One of his promo buddies, Lisa Zbitnew (future BMG/Sony President), encouraged him to start an independent record promotions company, and his first client that really mattered was hers, Kim Mitchell. He also began, in 1993, working for super entrepreneur and music man Neill Dixon at Canadian Music Week. The promotion company lasted fifteen years, until he felt radio changed to a point where people who were like him weren’t, in most cases, employed as Music Director’s anymore and he set record promotion aside.

Greg says: “I continue to work for CMW where my role and responsibilities have changed over the years but I’m not ready to leave yet, nor, apparently, are they ready to cut me loose.”

Greg turns 70 years old today and one of the greatest joys in his life is that he says he is still in demand: “Retirement is not an option for me. Rent and groceries are covered by the government cheques now, but if I wish to continue my cable package, and buying British music magazines, I have to stay on the job. Neill’s move into producing cannabis conferences certainly helps as I do much the same thing with those as I continue to do for CMW. Retirement will only happen when my health demands it, but even then, I expect I will continue to maintain all the great relationships I’ve had for years. My friend Steve Simpson, who I mentioned before, just recently retired as B.C. Commissioner for the CRTC, and has promised to teach me fly fishing in the near future, because he knows it would be hopeless to teach me how to golf. I maintain contact, weekly, with dozens of the friends I’ve made in my 54 years in the business, and, even when the reason to maintain that network is no longer essential to my work life, I expect I will continue to do so.”

As well, his close friend Sharon Taylor wrote a tribute to Greg shortly before his death, which can be read on FYI Music News HERE.

You can also listen to a recent chat with Greg about his career on a May episode of the Tommy Solo's Famous Friends podcast.

[Photo of Greg Simpson borrowed from his Facebook page]

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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