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Paul Cooper Biography

Paul Cooper

Born: 1950. Died: 2013. Lived in: Canada

James Paul Cooper was born near Chattanooga and grew up in Michigan, raised on gospel music and, as he said, "breast-fed on rhythm and blues." That rich history fuelled his career as a songwriter, singer, and founding father of the Canadian a cappella group, The Nylons.

Paul moved to Toronto in the late 1960s, dodging the U.S. Army draft; he wryly explained that he "was stationed in Canada during the Vietnam War." He worked as an actor in Toronto theatres, where we met in the summer of 1978 as cast members in a production of Oklahoma! Around this time, Paul and fellow thespian Marc Connors had been toying with the idea of forming a vocal group, to be called The Nylons, and in early 1979 the group took shape with the addition of Denis Simpson.

We made our debut on a cold February night in a small Yorkville eatery called Scoops, on a "sing for your supper" night, with a repertoire of four songs and an audience of about a dozen people. We were "discovered" soon after, and our musical career took off.

Paul was easily our most prolific songwriter, and I admired not only his dexterity with lyrics but also the way he was tuned in to pop culture. He repeatedly insisted we record Kiss Him Goodbye, to the point where we finally gave in, just to shut him up. It went on to become our biggest hit.

Paul was an ideas guy, a director at heart, and was never afraid to think big. Engaging, persuasive, ambitious, he pushed to move The Nylons to larger venues, beyond the cabarets and nightclubs that made up the heady Queen West music scene. Our self-titled (and self-financed) first album was released in February, 1982, and went platinum within two months, the first of several. The rest of the 1980s were a blur, as we toured across Canada, to Europe, Australia, Japan and the United States.

Member of Nylons - Founder

Media Articles
Obituary, The Globe and Mail, Lives Lived: James Paul Cooper, 63

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