Shirley Eikhard

Shirley Eikhard

Shirley Eikhard

Shirley (Rose) Eikhard, born in Sackville on November 7, 1955, is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist. She is the daughter of renowned fiddler June Eikhard (born Marguerite June Cameron, Moncton) and country musician and bassist Cecil (Arnold) Eikhard.

June Eikhard
June Eikhard

In 1963, the family relocated from the Maritimes to Oshawa, Ontario. At the age of 11, Shirley Eikhard began playing guitar and writing songs. After debuting at a fiddlers’ contest in Cobourg, Ontario at the age of 12, she went on to perform at the Mariposa Folk Festival and on CBC TV’s Singalong Jubilee. Capitol Records signed her when she was just 14 years old.

In 1970, US guitarist Chet Atkins recorded her instrumental piece “Pickin’ My Way,” which became the title track of his LP. Eikhard was often compared to Anne Murray, who recorded an early Eikhard song, “It Takes Time,” which became a modest hit in 1971.

Eikhard herself recorded for Capitol in 1971, achieved a country hit in 1972 with “Smiling Wine,” and received Juno awards for best female country singer in 1972 and 1973. Her LPs from 1975 to 1977 for Attic Records, including “Child of the Present,” “Let Me Down Easy,” and “Horizons,” marked her gradual shift toward pop, R&B, and rock. Her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Say You Love Me” gained popularity in 1976.

During the 1970s, Eikhard performed in clubs, coffeehouses, and concert halls across Canada, touring with artists such as Hagood Hardy, Sylvia Tyson, Lou Rawls, Sonny James, and Lynn Anderson. After a recording break from 1977 to 1982, she established her own label, Eika, in 1982. Eikhard, like many female musicians, chose to distance herself from the image-driven side of the music business, having experienced hurtful comments about her image from previous managers.

In 1985, Eikhard traveled to Nashville and wrote 16 songs in just six weeks. In 1987, she released her first Eika recording, aptly titled “Taking Charge,” in which she wrote, co-wrote, produced, arranged, and performed all the songs. She continued touring in Canada, but stopped performing in nightclubs after 1986 due to a severe cigarette smoke allergy.

After a conversation with Hal David, Eikhard focused on songwriting. She gained recognition for her songwriting talents, with her songs recorded by American singers like Kim Carnes, Cher, Rita Coolidge, Emmylou Harris, the Pointer Sisters, and Bonnie Raitt. In 1991, Raitt’s successful release of Eikhard’s “(Let’s Give Them) Something to Talk About” won a Grammy award, significantly boosting Eikhard’s financial and professional standing.

In 1991 Raitt’s hugely successful release of Eikhard’s “(Let’s Give Them) Something to Talk About” (Luck of the Draw) won a Grammy award and skyrocketed Eikhard onto a higher plane of financial freedom and professional respect. Raitt described her experience with recording the track as “like hitting one out of the park, my first number one…” Eikhard has also written songs with the Laurie Bower Singers, Gary Buck, George Fox, Catherine McKinnon, Alannah Myles, Peter Pringle, Ginette Reno, Donna Ramsey, and Sylvia Tyson and Quartette, among others. She has also sung on hundreds of recording sessions with numerous artists.

Eikhard has also written songs with various artists and sung on numerous recording sessions. In the early 1990s, she composed two scores for Toronto playwright George F. Walker, with one of them, Escape from Happiness, winning a Dora Mavor Moore Award for sound design in 1992. Later that year, she received BMI songwriter citations for “Something to Talk About.”

Eikhard has also written songs with various artists and sung on numerous recording sessions. In the early 1990s, she composed two scores for Toronto playwright George F. Walker, with one of them, Escape from Happiness, winning a Dora Mavor Moore Award for sound design in 1992. Later that year, she received BMI songwriter citations for “Something to Talk About.”

Shirley Eikhard "The Last Hurrah"

Eikhard released the critically acclaimed album “The Last Hurrah” in 2000, followed by “Tomorrow Is a Lonely Place,” which won first prize in the jazz category at the 2001 USA Songwriting Competition. In the same year, she produced and engineered “End of the Day,” a predominantly instrumental album showcasing her talents as a multi-instrumentalist and instrumental writer. Her subsequent release, “Stay Open,” further demonstrated her ability to write, produce, and perform in various styles.

In 2003, Eikhard received a SOCAN Classic Award for “Something to Talk About.”

Shirley Eikhard passed away in 2022 after a three year battle with cancer.

Theme Songs:

  • Shirley sang the theme song for Stanley Kramer’s THE DOMINO PRINCIPLE (1976) which starred Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, Richard Widmark, Edward Albert and Eli Wallach.
  • Theme song sung for THE PASSION OF AYN RAND (2000) starring Helen Mirren, Peter Fonda and Eric Stolz.
  • Theme song sung for WOMEN OF THE HOUSE, a CBS television series (1994) featuring Teri Garr and Delta Burke. 

Awards and Recognition:

  • 1973: winner, Juno Award for Best Country Female Artist 
  • 1974: winner, Juno Award for Best Country Female Artist 
  • 1992: nominee, Juno Award for Songwriter of the Year

Click here to discover more famous New Brunswickers. 
 

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