Jackie Rae

Jackie (John Arthur) Rae. Singer, songwriter, producer, b Winnipeg 14 May 1922, d Toronto 5 Oct 2006. At three Rae began performing with his sister Grace and brother Saul as the Three Raes of Sunshine on the Famous Players vaudeville circuit.

Rae, Jackie

Jackie (John Arthur) Rae. Singer, songwriter, producer, b Winnipeg 14 May 1922, d Toronto 5 Oct 2006. At three Rae began performing with his sister Grace and brother Saul as the Three Raes of Sunshine on the Famous Players vaudeville circuit. As a child he participated also in Jack Arthur's productions at Shea's theatres in Toronto and appeared in the USA.

After service in World War II as a Spitfire pilot - he received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1943 - Rae became a CBC variety producer, responsible for radio shows starring the comedians Wayne and Shuster, the singer Gisèle MacKenzie, Jack Arthur, and others. He was head of CBC radio and TV variety 1952-6 and the singing host of his own CBC TV show 1956-7, which featured, among others, King Ganam, Billy O'Connor, Alys Robi, impressionist Rich Little, and American performers such as Eydie Gorme. In 1958 Rae moved to London, where he appeared on the Granada and BBC TV networks; his shows included 'Jackie Rae Presents,' 'Chelsea at Nine,' and 'Sunday Night at the Paladium.' He also produced for TV and radio, recorded for Philips/Fontana ('Summer Place,' 'The Moon Got in My Eyes,' 'Day by Day,' etc), performed in English clubs and cabarets, and in 1961 gave a command performance at Victoria Palace. Returning in 1976 to Toronto Rae was executive producer of the Canadian Talent Library 1978-85, and in 1981 formed the Spitfire Band, a big band for which he served as vocalist, producer and master of ceremonies.

Of Rae's compositions, 'Please Don't Go' was an international hit in 1969 for Eddie Arnold and received an ASCAP award as country song of the year. 'Happy Heart,' co-written with James Last, sold a million copies 1969-70 as recorded by Andy Williams; versions were also made by Petula Clark, Ed Ames, and many others. In collaboration with other writers, including Les Reed, Rae also composed 'I've Got My Eyes on You' (recorded by Clark), 'When There's No You' (recorded by Engelbert Humperdinck), and 'Dream Just a Dream' (recorded by Tony Bennett). His songs were also recorded by Ed Ames, Sacha Distel, Maureen Forrester, Tom Jones, Mireille Mathieu, Jerry Vale, Roger Williams, the Spitfire Band, and others. His publishers included EMI Music and Jar Music, the latter his own company, established on his return to Canada.

Rae was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2001. He was the uncle of former Ontario premier Bob Rae.


Further Reading

  • Brydon, Arthur. 'Jackie Rae: his future isn't in Canada,' Toronto Globe Magazine, 7 Jun 1958

    Waxman, Ken. 'This songwriter's life began at 40 - and he's going strong,' Canadian Composer, 130, Apr 1978

    Miller, Jack. 'Former Spitfire air ace now time-machine hotshot,' Toronto Star, 26 Oct 1982