R.I.P. Blue Peter Vocalist Paul Humphrey

Steven Page, Lowest of the Low and more have paid tribute to the Canadian new wave artist
R.I.P. Blue Peter Vocalist Paul Humphrey
Paul Humphrey — the Canadian artist known best as the frontman for new wave outfit Blue Peter — has died. Yesterday, the band confirmed that Humphrey passed on April 4 "after a long illness." He was 61.

In a tribute to Humphrey, Blue Peter co-founder Chris Wardman remembered first meeting his late friend and collaborator as a teenager. "I had long hair and a guitar. He had a pony tail and played the flute," Warman wrote. "We invited him to jam with an early incarnation of Blue Peter and our prog-ish aspirations crashed into punk and new wave. He taught us how to play 'Sweet Jane' and our future course was charted."

From there, Wardman recalled how it was "out with the rawk rock, in with the art rock" for the Toronto outfit. "What a ride we had over the next 8 years or so. Recording, radio airplay, sharing stages with our favourite bands, videos, success beyond our wildest dreams and then, decades later, joyous reunion shows."

Wardman continued: "Paul always pushed me to play better, write stronger songs, embrace fashion and to put on a show. We were early explorers, occasionally playing shows where we were not yet wanted, which only made us tougher. It was fun to watch the world slowly bend to the path we wanted to take as our popularity grew. He was a unique talent, a great dancer and an amazing front person for Blue Peter's musical aspirations."

Wardman wrote that outside of the band, Humphrey "was accommodating, generous and would always go out of his way for his friends. I admire his bravery of the last few years, and the tireless support of his partner Allyson. I will miss his voice, his humour, his warmth, his friendship and his fearlessness."

Humphrey and Wardman founded Blue Peter in the late 1970s, rounding out their initial lineup with bassist Geoff McOuat and drummer Ron Tomlinson. The four-piece would make their debut with 1979's Test Patterns for Living, ahead of Mike Bambrick replacing Tomlinson on drums for 1980's full-length debut Radio Silence.

When it came performance, Blue Peter had opening slots for regional shows alongside the Police, the Boomtown Rats, the Jam and Simple Minds.

Blue Peter's EP Up to You was released1982, ahead of full-length Falling landing in 1983. While it would ultimately be Blue Peter's final album, the album would also prove to be their most successful. 

Falling peaked nationally at No. 64 on the Canadian Albums Chart, holding the position for three weeks, while a Blade Runner-inspired video for acclaimed single "Don't Walk Past" was the first music video from a Canadian indie label to receive MTV airplay in the United States.

Blue Peter disbanded in 1985 and reconvened for occasional reunion performances in the decades that followed. Humphrey's post-Blue Peter bands included the Paul Humphrey Band, the Monkey Tree and Broken Arrow. In 2007, he released solo album A Rumour of Angels.

Find tributes to Humphrey from Steven Page, Lowest of the Low, musician-turned-MP Charlie Angus and more below.