TORONTO – Alexander Mair, the co-founder of the Canadian indie record label Attic Records, died on Friday (November 25) at 82 after a battle with cancer, according to The Globe and Mail.
This past Tuesday (November 22), Mair was appointed to the Order of Canada as a Companion Member for his past work in the Canadian music industry. Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell awarded him the medal while he was in his hospital bed at Sunnybrook Hospital. Mair’s daughter, Jennifer Mair, said she was “lovely and gracious” during the medal presentation.
Mair was involved in a plethora of Canadian music industry associations, including the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), and the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.
A native Canadian, Mair founded Attic Records in 1974 alongside Tom Wiliams. The label was responsible for developing acts like Teenage Head, Lee Aaron, The Nylons, and more. In 1999, Attic merged with TMP (The Music Publisher) and Oasis Entertainment Distribution to become the Song Corporation. Attic closed its doors in 2001 with its Canadian catalog and masters owned by Unidisc Music.
As a titan in the music business, Mair was a serious advocate for Canadian artists. He was a board member of the Canadian Association of Publishers, Authors, and Composers and pushed for the passage of CanCon (Canadian content) regulations for domestic broadcasters.
He attended the annual MIDEM trade in Cannes, France, where he ensured the Canadian music industry was well-represented. “Al was our leader there, and he really opened the door for me on the international scene,” said Holger Peterson, founder of Edmonton-based Stony Plain Records.
In addition to his contributions behind the scenes, Mair also managed Gordon Lightfoot’s business affairs from 1968 until 1976.
“Al Mair certainly made his mark on Canadian music,” says Larry LeBlanc, senior writer of CelebrityAccess. “From his earliest days working at Capitol Records of Canada and Apex Records to heading Gordon Lightfoot’s management company Early Morning Productions through the ’60s, to co-founding with Tom Williams, Attic Records in the early ’70s, which released music by Triumph, the Rovers, Hagood Hardy, and Patsy Gallant. He was a formidable music man and a fierce advocate for Canadian Content, aka CANCON. He was a pioneering one-of-a-kind.”
The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) said, “The music industry has lost a titan today. Alexander Mair was a true pioneer, mentor and leader. His indelible impact on the CDN indie landscape and CIMA (CIRPA) as an organization will never be forgotten. CIMA would like to extend our sincere condolences to the entire Mair family.”
Memorial details have not been released.