Bill Langstroth was a Canadian country music producer, host, and singer, who was best known for his work on the CBC-TV program Singalong Jubilee. He was also the former husband of country star Anne Murray, and the father of two children, William and Dawn. He died on May 8, 2013, at the age of 81, in a Moncton hospital, of an undisclosed illness. His death was mourned by his family, friends, and fans, who remembered him as a talented and influential figure in the country music scene.
The Early Years: From Montreal to Halifax
Bill Langstroth was born on November 14, 1931, in Montreal, Quebec. He grew up in a musical family, and learned to play the piano and guitar at a young age. He attended McGill University, where he studied commerce, and joined the McGill Glee Club. He also developed an interest in folk and country music, and started performing at local clubs and coffee houses.
In 1958, he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he joined the CBC as a producer and host. He worked on various radio and television shows, such as Don Messer’s Jubilee, Country Hoedown, and Music Hop. He also formed his own band, The Townsmen, and recorded several albums and singles.
The Singalong Jubilee Era: A Breakthrough in Canadian Country Music
Bill Langstroth’s most notable achievement was his work on Singalong Jubilee, a country music variety show that aired on CBC-TV from 1961 to 1974. Langstroth was the producer and co-host of the show, along with Gene MacLellan and Catherine McKinnon. He also performed as a singer and guitarist on the show, and wrote some of the original songs.
Singalong Jubilee featured many talented Canadian artists, such as Anne Murray, Ken Tobias, John Allan Cameron, and Bruce Innes. The show was popular among audiences across Canada and abroad, and helped launch the careers of many country music stars. Langstroth was instrumental in discovering and nurturing new talent, and providing them with a platform to showcase their skills and creativity.
Langstroth also had a personal relationship with one of the show’s stars, Anne Murray. They met in 1965, when Murray auditioned for Singalong Jubilee. Langstroth was impressed by her voice and personality, and hired her as a regular performer on the show. They fell in love, and married in 1975. They had two children together, William and Dawn, before divorcing in 1998.
The Later Years: A Legacy of Country Music
Bill Langstroth continued to work in the country music industry after Singalong Jubilee ended. He produced and hosted several other shows, such as Countrytime, The Tommy Hunter Show, and The Anne Murray Show. He also worked as a consultant and manager for various artists, such as George Fox, Terry Carisse, and Joan Kennedy. He was also involved in the Canadian Country Music Association, and served as its president from 1980 to 1982.
In 2011, he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, in recognition of his contributions and achievements in the country music scene. He was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the East Coast Music Association in 2012.
Langstroth retired from the music business in the late 1990s, and moved to Sackville, New Brunswick, with his second wife, Fran. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, and playing golf and bridge. He also wrote a memoir, called Singalong Jubilee: The Story of a Canadian Music Legend, which was published in 2012.
He died on May 8, 2013, in a Moncton hospital, of an undisclosed illness. He was 81 years old. His funeral was held on May 12, 2013, at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Sackville, New Brunswick. His family, friends, and fans paid tribute to him, and celebrated his life and legacy. He was remembered as a pioneer, a mentor, and a friend, who left a lasting mark on the country music scene.