Lawrence Gowan

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Lawrence Gowan
Lawrence Gowan performing with Styx on 9 May 2000 at Universal Amphitheatre
Background information
Birth name Lawrence Gowan
Also known as Gowan, Larry Gowan
Born (1956-11-22) 22 November 1956 (age 64)
Glasgow, Scotland
Origin Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Genres Hard rock, progressive rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, guitar
Years active 1974–present
Labels Anthem Entertainment
Columbia Records
Atlantic Records (outside Canada)
Linus Entertainment
Associated acts Styx, Rhinegold

Lawrence Henry Gowan (born 22 November 1956) is a Scottish-born Canadian musician. Gowan has been both a solo artist and the current lead vocalist and keyboardist of the band Styx,[1] since May 1999.[2] His musical style is usually classified in the category of progressive rock.


At the age of 19, he earned an ARCT in classical piano performance from The Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto, Ontario.[3] Upon graduation, he enjoyed modest local success with the band Rhinegold in 1976.[4][5]

After the band broke up five years later, Gowan began what was to become a successful solo career under the stage name Gowan, releasing his first album under that name in 1982, which was produced by Rob Freeman[6] and featured Kim Mitchell of Max Webster on guitar. This album contained the singles "Victory", "Give In" and "Keep Up the Fight". His 1985 album Strange Animal was his commercial breakthrough in Canada, produced by British producer David Tickle and featuring a more 'theatrical' Gowan, backed by Peter Gabriel's rhythm section players Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta. The album spawned the hit singles "A Criminal Mind", "(You're a) Strange Animal", "Guerilla Soldier" and "Cosmetics".[5] His 1987 follow up Great Dirty World gave him another hit single with "Moonlight Desires," featuring Jon Anderson (from Yes) on backing vocals[7] as well as the fan favourite "Dedication".

File:Gowan strikes a pose.jpg
Lawrence Gowan in 2006 at a Styx show.

1990's Lost Brotherhood, recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario, had a harder rock sound, and featured such players as Red Rider member Ken Greer, former Coney Hatch guitarist Steve Shelski and Rush's Alex Lifeson. It produced the singles "Lost Brotherhood", "All the Lovers in the World", and "Out of a Deeper Hunger". This was Gowan's first album for Anthem Records and his first US release.[8]

A few bars from "The Dragon" was heard playing on a car radio in the 1990 movie "Navy Seals" and appears on the original motion picture soundtrack.[9]

He released the more acoustic ...but you can call me Larry in 1993 under his full name, returning to the Canadian pop charts with "When There's Time for Love", "Soul's Road" and "Dancing on My Own Ground". He subsequently released The Good Catches Up in 1995, which featured the single "Guns and God", which received moderate airplay in Canada. Also that same year, Gowan was part of an all-star lineup at Toronto's Massey Hall to celebrate Ronnie Hawkins' 60th birthday, as documented on the album Let It Rock, sharing the stage with veteran rockers Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and The Band. In 1997, Gowan released two live CDs: Sololive – No Kilt Tonight containing a rendition of Ragtime's classic "King Chanticleer Rag", and Au Québec with a cover of Harmonium's "Pour un instant" as well as his first composition in French, "Stéphanie", for his fan base in Quebec.

In 1997, Gowan released "Healing Waters" as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales after her death.[10] "Healing Waters" was officially an unreleased song from Gowan, though it was used in its original form, in the 1995 Jeff Wincott movie, When the Bullet Hits the Bone.

His song "A Criminal Mind" was covered in 2005 by Canadian hip-hop artist Maestro; Gowan appears in the video and his vocals are sampled on the track.[11] The song was also covered by Canadian gypsy jazz music group The Lost Fingers.[12] The song was sampled in a song performed by Akon and Freck Billionaire.

He also guest-starred on the Canadian animated comedy series Chilly Beach.

In February 2006, Gowan did four orchestra-accompanied concerts in London, Ontario and Kitchener, Ontario. Also in 2006, his home was featured on MTV's Cribs.

In March 2010, Gowan released "Return of the Strange Animal", a remastered version of 1985's "Strange Animal" plus a making-of documentary and music videos on DVD.[13] In May 2010, Gowan performed two solo shows in support of the 25th anniversary of the "Strange Animal" album.

In May 2012, Gowan re-issued a remastered version of 1987's "Great Dirty World".[14][15]

As of 2012, Gowan is currently recording a new solo album which he hopes to have completed sometime in 2013.[15]

Gowan appeared on 11 October 2012 episode (#29) of John Wants Answers.[16]

On 13 October 2013 Gowan played a solo concert, titled 'In Kilt Tonight' at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Canada. All proceeds were donated to McDermott House Canada, a charitable organization.[17]


In 1997 during Styx's tour, Gowan performed as a supporting act for Styx at Montreal's Molson Centre and Quebec City's Colisée.[5] He also played with Styx in Vancouver at General Motors Place (now Rogers Arena) as the opening act for Def Leppard on 27 September 2007.

Tommy Shaw admired his talent and vibrant stage charisma, and called him in May 1999 asking him to tour with them for 53 dates, replacing their lead singer Dennis DeYoung. Since then, Gowan's classic hit, "A Criminal Mind", is often played by Styx.[5]

Styx had long been plagued by differences in artistic inclination. DeYoung's absence created an opportunity for a more permanent restructuring of Styx. Gowan subsequently became the band's permanent vocalist.[18]

Styx's 2003 album Cyclorama was Gowan's first studio album with the band. Gowan sings two songs on Cyclorama, "Fields of the Brave" and "More Love for the Money", both of which have an easily recognizable Gowan signature. He then continued recording with Styx for their 2005 album, Big Bang Theory.

Awards and nominations

The following are Gowan's Juno nominations:[19]

  • 1983 – Nominated – "Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year"
  • 1985 – Winner – "Best Video" for "A Criminal Mind" with director Rob Quartly Animation & Direction by Greg Duffell / Lightbox Studios Inc.[20]
  • 1985 – Winner – "Best Album Graphics" for Strange Animal (awarded to designers Rob MacIntyre and Dimo Safari)[20]
  • 1985 – Nominated – "Male Vocalist of the Year"
  • 1985 – Nominated – "Album of the Year" for Strange Animal
  • 1985 – Nominated – "Best Selling Single" for "A Criminal Mind"
  • 1985 – Nominated – "Best Video" for "You're a Strange Animal" Animation by Greg Duffell / Lightbox Studios Inc.
  • 1986 – Nominated – "Best Video" for "Cosmetics" (director: Rob Quartly)
  • 1987 – Nominated – "Male Vocalist of the Year"
  • 1987 – Nominated – "Album of the Year" for Great Dirty World
  • 1987 – Nominated – "Canadian Entertainer of the Year"
  • 1991 – Nominated – "Male Vocalist of the Year"

In 1995, Gowan was presented with the SOCAN award for songs that have won major airplay in 1995 for his song, "Dancing on My Own Ground".[21]

On 16 November 1998, Gowan received the National Achievement Award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).[22]

In 2003, Gowan was presented with the SOCAN award (along with three other musicians) for songs that have surpassed the 100,000 radio airplay mark for his song, "Moonlight Desires".[23]

In 2011, Gowan was presented with a star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame-Entertainment.[24]

In 2013, Gowan announced he was recorded a new studio album, complete with new original material. The album is apparently in production in downtown Toronto at a private studio. According to Gowan, the album is based on an old concept album by Rhinegold, which was written and conceived in the mid-70's, during their rounds of the Toronto club scene. Gowan revealed on John Wants Answers, that the album will be called "Dr Starlight and The Watchmakers" and will consist of edited version of Rhinegold songs.


  • Lawrence Gowan – lead vocals, keyboards, guitar
  • Danny J. Ricardo – guitar
  • Pete Nunn – keyboards (2010–2013)
  • Emm Gryner – keyboards
  • Terry Gowan – bass
  • Todd Sucherman – drums, percussion
  • Taylor Mills – backing vocals (2010–2012)



Year Single Peak chart positions Album
Canada CAN
1982 "Keep Up the Fight" Gowan
"Make It Alone"
1985 "A Criminal Mind" 5 14 Strange Animal
"(You're a) Strange Animal" 15
"Guerilla Soldier" 24
"Cosmetics" 41
1987 "Moonlight Desires" 10 2 Great Dirty World
"Awake the Giant" 36
"Living in the Golden Age" 78
1990 "All the Lovers in the World" 6 6 Lost Brotherhood
"Lost Brotherhood" 44
"Out of a Deeper Hunger" 36 17
1993 "When There's Time (For Love)" 6 11 ...but you can call me Larry
1994 "Dancing on My Own Ground" 15 17
"Soul's Road" 13 15
"Your Stone Walls" 46
1995 "Heart of Gold" 88 46 Borrowed Tunes: A Tribute to Neil Young
"I'll Be There in a Minute" 41 The Good Catches Up
"Guns and God" 14 20
1996 "Laura" 33
"The Good Catches Up" 18 21
1997 "Get It While You Can" 21
"Healing Waters" 13 Best of...

Original studio albums

Release date Title Chart positions
September 1982 Gowan 82
January 1985 Strange Animal 5
March 1987 Great Dirty World 4
July 1990 Lost Brotherhood 26
September 1993 ...but you can call me Larry 60
November 1995 The Good Catches Up

Compilation albums

Release date Title Chart positions
October 1997 Best of... 87
1998 Home Field (UK only)
(includes four live versions of previously released songs and unreleased bonus track Healing Waters)[25]
April 2010 Return of the Strange Animal
(remastered reissue of Strange Animal with bonus tracks + DVD)
May 2012 Great Dirty World
(remastered reissue of Great Dirty World with bonus tracks)

Live albums

  • 1996 Sololive: No Kilt Tonight
  • 1997 Gowan au Québec

Live DVD

  • 2006 Gowan Live in Concert

With Styx

  • 2000 Arch Allies – Live with REO Speedwagon
  • 2001 Styx World: Live 2001
  • 2002 At the River's Edge: Live In St. Louis
  • 2002 21st Century Live (CD/DVD set)
  • 2002 A Classic Rock Christmas (featuring: "All I Want for Christmas")
  • 2003 Cyclorama
  • 2005 Big Bang Theory
  • 2006 One with Everything: Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra
  • 2011 LA County Fair Live with REO Speedwagon
  • 2010 Regeneration: Volume 1
  • 2011 Regeneration: Volume 2
  • 2012 The Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight Live (DVD set)
  • 2015 Live at the Orleans Arena, Las Vegas


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External links