The Nightlines Sessions

Nightlines was a weekend overnight radio show that ran on CBC's stero network for about 15 years. I took it over in 1987 and started looking around for new records to play. A guy named Lloyd told me that he'd been in a hot tub with a bunch of jocks up at Whistler, B.C., and they'd all been singing some song that went "wang dang diddley dang" or something, and that it was about Wendel Clark. That's how I first heard about Rheostatics. Over the years, I've come to love them a lot. They've got that high, lonesome sound that makes me feel sad and joyous, a fleeting speck in the universe and part of something eterna, all at the same time. Since I've started listening to Rheostatics, I have become a Canadian citizen, and as I swore my allegiance to the Big Dominion, that song of theirs, "Northern Wish," was running through my head.

Nightlines somehow developed organically into a freeform mix of music jointly chosen by the listeners and me, with the phone-in voices of a regular cast of offbeat characters such as Pooby from Cortes Island, Gilbert from Transcona, Vicki from Surrey, and hundreds of others who dropped in and out over the decade. It was simple in concept but wide-open in scope, and I wish I could have done it forever and ever. In 1993 Nightlines started recording band sessions for exclusive play on the show. The first band I watned was of course these boys from Etobicoke. The timing was wrong, but somehow even more fittingly, Rheostatics gave us our last session. We broadcast that final show from the warm concrete of the CBC plaza on the evening of August 30, 1997. During the show we played a lot of great music, said our goodbyes, and aired this last-ever Nighlines session. At the same time, over in Paris, Diana and Dodi crashed and died. Thus the world's attention was distracted from this little beauty you're now holding. So if you missed it that night on the people's radio, here's a little bit of Canadian history you can treasure forever.

David Wisdom, CBC Radio Host

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