Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 453: Gino Vannelli

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 453In this 453rd episode, Mike chats with singer songwriter Gino Vannelli about his career in music. This episode is exactly 1:03:27.

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This is the best Gino Vannelli interview I've ever heard, and I've heard many! Great job!

April 19, 2019 @ 8:37 PM


This was a nice listen! I might've missed an introduction, but was the guy laughing in the background his manager, or was that one of Gino's brothers there as well?

Gino mentions "The Waters sisters" as background vocalists on "I Just Wanna Stop". They're legendary session backing vocalists and are profiled for a couple minutes in the excellent "Twenty Feet from Stardom" (2013) documentary about background vocalists. Who knew, learned from that doc, that they sung on the "Growing Pains" theme ("As Long As We've Got Each Other")?

@Toronto Mike

You mentioned a compilation "hits" you had on tape that "Black Cars" was on. I was curious what title this was and found this image online. Was this this one you had?

April 20, 2019 @ 6:08 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I highly recommend the first ten minutes of the Periscope feed which shows what happened before I pressed record:

Gino had a little entourage... a PR guy and a handler (manager?) of sorts who made sure he sounded right in the recording and seemed to handle all the details. That's the guy you hear laughing in the background. I think he see him if you peek at the replay.

April 20, 2019 @ 8:16 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


And yes!!!! That was the complication cassette I owned. Here Come the Hits. Wow....

April 20, 2019 @ 8:26 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

In this ep I believe I refer to the four disc set I had from the Junos as "O Canada". It was actually "Oh What a Feeling: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music".

April 20, 2019 @ 8:34 AM


@Toronto Mike

Ah, cool! I had tuned in to the Periscope feed live about 10 minutes into it 'till its end, then listened to the entire podcast episode, and missed this small window where those with him were explained.

Those compilation cassettes (and in that era, the simultaneous release on vinyl and CD too) were all the rage for a while. A good way for kids, teens or anyone for that matter to get a lot of "hit songs" on the cheap and probably a safe gift bet (or "stocking stuffer") for an Aunt or Grandma who didn't know the exact music tastes of the gift receiver.

For the record label, if the artists were already on their roster, some time-savings there in procuring rights to the songs. I see these compilations kickin' around in used/good will/thrift stores all the time. A similar one was "Nothin' But The Hits" (below) (yes, that Eddie Murphy).

The "Now That's What I Call Music!" series is one of the most famous ones with worldwide versions and releases.

April 20, 2019 @ 8:44 AM


@Toronto Mike

Those "Oh What a Feeling" sets (3 total, 12 discs in all!) are a great Canadian initiative indeed. I'm proud to have them in physical form on my shelf still (just seem suited to a more tactile/physical experience and not digital form!) and pull them down for a listen every once in a while.

April 20, 2019 @ 8:47 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Back in '84 I did have such a various artist cassette called "The Hits Album". No Gino on that one, though.

April 20, 2019 @ 9:13 AM

Brian Gerstein (RaptorsDevotee)

Absolutely loved this podcast, and how Gino bought in 100% going into song with no notice, keeping Mike on his toes, who did a hell of a job in an hour or so covering his career. There was humour, serious talk, great rapport between you guys, and your clips really helped to keep the pace moving. So far my favourite musical podcast and I have listened to many. This from someone who knows of Gino's music growing up, but was never a huge fan, though still liking his music. My tastes are more rock and roll though his genre works for me too on a different level. His voice at 66 is as strong as ever, great pipes!

April 20, 2019 @ 9:17 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

That handler / manager is Gino's brother Ross. In all the chaos yesterday I seemed to have missed that detail.

April 20, 2019 @ 7:41 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Great interview Mike. My sister in law is a big fan of Gino's, going to put this on her Ipod so she can have a listen going to work Monday.
Always appreciated his music, and his voice is very distinctive, where you could just catch a bit of his song and I would recognize it right away.

April 20, 2019 @ 8:09 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Fun fact: The live video stream of this episode is the first one to exceed 1000 unique viewers.

April 20, 2019 @ 10:14 PM


Since I have driven out to Brampton many times in the last few weeks, I have been listening more than not for company!

This interview is HILARIOUS, and full of golden nuggets for fans of Gino, and other listeners such as myself. I want people to shout at TM, "Get off Black Cars" when they see him out and about LMAO

April 21, 2019 @ 12:46 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

"Get off Black Cars!" is the new "Check the liner notes!"

April 21, 2019 @ 9:21 AM


TM - honestly, i died. and MJ check the liner notes was just her being hella angry/grumpy, but Gino's is different. But oh my god, too funny.

April 21, 2019 @ 10:35 AM


What a nice surprise this was! I always particularly enjoy your music-based interviews, and this was no exception. You can tell both of you were having a great time. I’ve always had a soft spot for Gino Vannelli - his music evokes such a unique time and place for me. Thanks for the great listen.

April 21, 2019 @ 5:49 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


The music-based episodes are my personal favourites. Thanks for listening!

April 21, 2019 @ 8:22 PM

Urooj Islam

This episode was so easy going, great vibe between Mike and Gino with the way they flowed in and out of conversation and into music and than back to conversation.

"Am I talking to a robot?"


"What did you call me?"

April 21, 2019 @ 9:24 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I still think my Stevie Wonder joke was funny.

April 21, 2019 @ 9:44 PM


@Mike, it was a funny joke... We'll see if Elvis agrees... that is if he even bothers to listen to this episode!

April 22, 2019 @ 9:19 AM


Love the compilation cassettes. I do love the Oh What a Feeling! CD set that came out in the early/mid 90's.

My Gino claim to fame is that I once worked with a guy whose mother dated Gino back in the 60's.

April 22, 2019 @ 9:34 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Elvis told me he listened this morning.

April 22, 2019 @ 10:00 AM

Toronto Joey

Hey Mike!

Bentley, Wheeler, Rhomer, Donabie and now Vanelli.


April 22, 2019 @ 11:55 AM

Toronto Joey

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.
And Howarth too!

April 22, 2019 @ 11:57 AM

Chuck 99

Gino had hits in the mid-seventies, late seventies and early eighties when popular music styles changed significantly. His ability to adapt and change with the times has led to a long and successful career. The music charts of that era are littered with groups and solo performers who had a few hits then quickly fell out of fashion when soul and disco died and new wave became the next big thing.

April 22, 2019 @ 2:12 PM


wow- cringeworthy awkwardness of Molly J scale. I bailed after the second time you asked if black cars look better in shade. I'll wait for the Weisblott obit on this episode.

April 22, 2019 @ 8:08 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Funny... you should see the emails / DMs I'm getting about this episode. People love it.

Here's Weisblott's tweet.

Gino spends an hour sounding uncertain about whether this podcast is the highlight or lowlight of his career and it’s fantastic

— 12:36 🌯 (@1236) April 22, 2019
April 22, 2019 @ 9:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Even Elvis loved it... he's coming over Thursday to record an episode about this episode.

April 22, 2019 @ 9:08 PM

Urooj Islam

Why are people going crazy about this episode? Am I missing something?

Why does elvis need to come all the way from Oshawa just to dissect it?

April 22, 2019 @ 10:21 PM

Johnny B

Watched the beginning of the live stream. Mike has the patience of a saint.
Podcast started out super awkward but began to flow when introvert Gino relaxed somewhat.
Have assume Gino reguested a hard stop after an hour.

April 22, 2019 @ 11:00 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Urooj Islam

You're in your early 30s. I can't imagine the name Gino Vannelli means anything to you. That explains part of it.

April 23, 2019 @ 7:45 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Johnny B

Yes, I had an hour.

April 23, 2019 @ 7:45 AM


This episode is sooooooo funny. Why did Marc make it even better with that tweet lmao.

@Urooj - you might know some of his bigger hits? I know a few. But honestly, I didn't find their chemistry bad, Gino just walks to the beat of his own drum. Mike would ask him questions, and he would just start singing? And they made jokes back and forth, and even his brother laughed in the background.

I listened all the way home Saturday and I honestly laughed so much!!

April 23, 2019 @ 8:25 AM


Obviously very late (for me, anyway!!) in listening to this tremendous episode, but the very thought of hearing it helped get me through a somewhat low-key/emotionally difficult weekend. P.S., I loved the flow of this interview and Gino was freaking' hilarious, especially his repeated bit about contacting his lawyer!! Ross V.'s Ed McMahon-esque light chuckles in the background were also quite infectious.
Real shame that Joe V. wasn't also on the scene, as he was just as important in the creation of the
classic Gino Vannelli sound. P.P.S., I really enjoyed his new "Ghost Train" track, and I found it just a
little bit reminiscent stylistically of the great "Wild Horses", which I think is even better track than
"Black Cars", even if I'm in the silent minority on that one. It was also great to hear some love for "Just A Motion Away" as well!!

Kudos for unearthing and posting a pick of that awesome eighties cassette!! I also often see such
treasures on my thrift store jaunts but not nearly as much as in previous years. It would certainly seem like most folks have cleared out their basements, attics, storage units etc., by this point and regrettably the pickings are becoming increasingly slim.

And also a quick nod of approval to the fellow who brought up Gino's sleeper track "Felicia". Good call!!

April 23, 2019 @ 10:30 AM


I enjoyed this episode more than I thought I would. I forgot how many songs Gino sang that I knew. Still has a great voice.

I think I got more of a kick out of his brother Ross laughing in the background.

We need a laugh track for more episodes to drown out the host at times.

April 23, 2019 @ 11:51 AM


Perhaps someone a whole lot more technically proficient than myself could make an unending loop
of Phil Collin's awesome cackle from Genesis' boss "Mama" track and forward it to our most humble
host? Perhaps he could then chose to add it to his already stellar arsenal of show bumpers and such?!? Pretty confident that it would totally come in handy for any future awkward pauses, silences
or potentially UNEXPECTED guest shitfits (Still lovingly thinkin' of ya, M.J.!!)

April 23, 2019 @ 12:22 PM

Urooj Islam

@Toronto Mike @jj

I'm seeing many people here in the comments and on Twitter throw out the "M-Word" AKA Molly in comparison to the Gino episode but I just don't see it. That episode will always be in a class of its own.

I just assumed I missed something while listening to this because I didn't find it awkward at all. Gino made it pretty obvious he was saying most things in jest.

April 23, 2019 @ 12:51 PM


@Urooj Islam
The only "CLASS" involved in that infamous Molly J. episode was undoubtedly brought to the table
by Mike!! Perhaps Mike was just too awestruck by Gino's V.'s innate style and mature handsomeness,
and presumably G.V. had not previously enjoyed an episode of TM'd, so it took them a little bit o'time
to become comfortable with one another? I mean, who didn't feel bad for TM when he made that most heartfelt admission of being somewhat short-changed in the chest hair department? Not that
anyone asked, but that was one of the few physical characteristics where I definitely wasn't left
wanting! Perhaps I should invest in some ol' skool medallions and start leaving some shirt buttons open. Nah!!

April 23, 2019 @ 1:02 PM


Same, Urooj. I didn't think it was awkward at all.

April 23, 2019 @ 1:26 PM


Forgot to mention this earlier, but is it just me, or did George Michael look a whole lot like Princess Di
in that fetching picture featured on that "Notin' But The Hits" cassette showcased earlier in this thread?!?

April 23, 2019 @ 1:42 PM


Urooj Islam
- it wasn't Molly J awkward, but I thought it was awkward but so funny to hear a question get asked, and then a song get played in response. But their banter was hilarious and that's what killed me. And the Black Cars stuff!

April 23, 2019 @ 2:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


George Michael, Princess Di and Wayne Gretzky all shared a look for a while in the 80s.

April 23, 2019 @ 2:29 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I never got a Molly vibe from Gino. The only commonalities are that both episodes are a little different, and both demand repeat listens! But the Molly ep was awkward and cringy whereas the Gino ep was a little awkward and wonderful.

April 23, 2019 @ 2:32 PM


Honestly, I am so looking forward to hearing Elvis' take.

April 23, 2019 @ 4:28 PM


If ever there was a time to have a cake made.

Elvis finally listening to an episode is one of them.

April 23, 2019 @ 4:59 PM

Urooj Islam


I laughed so hard during the Jerry Howarth episode when Mike asked Jerry to go over why he refused to acknowledge certain nicknames/mascots/traditions in baseball that dehumanize Native Americans.

I immediately thought of you and the chuckle you'd get out of it because we all know that one Toronto Mike'd commenter remains insistent on preserving the memory of racist sports logos and mascots in cake form. LOL!

But I agree, elvis listening to an episode is a landmark moment that must be captured in cake form brought to you by Great Lakes Beer, Palma Pasta and Property in the Six Dot Com. Usually he doesn't recognize the guest, ignores the episode altogether or only downloads it on his iPhone promising to listen to it sometime in the distant future.

April 23, 2019 @ 5:33 PM


My comparison to Molly J is not a comparison of the guests, it's a comparison of the host.

Musically, this episode (or what I listened to) reminded me a lot of the Colin James ep, I would compare these two episodes for the guest. Colin James kind of gave up/gave in when it turned into a 5 Long Years episode, Gino had enough when it turned into a Black Cars episode, but it sounded like he had given up/given in from the start. I don't think it's a coincidence that both of these guests were not Toronto locale.

April 23, 2019 @ 7:01 PM

Steve M

Felicia ~ Gino Vannelli

Felicia you're gonna cry when I'm gone
Felicia you're gonna curse your own ways
And now when my life is over
You're gonna cry for me

Felicia I got no control of my soul
But now when my life is over
I'm gonna lie in peace
And now when my life is over
I'm gonna lie in peace

April 23, 2019 @ 9:00 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


If I didn't know better, I'd think you were listening to a different podcast.

Gino had a blast!

April 23, 2019 @ 9:40 PM


Anon&on - I don't think it was a Black Cars episode, TM just gave that song a lot of love. And Gino had a lot of fun.

April 24, 2019 @ 7:53 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I think we covered 7 Gino jams and one was Black Cars. I got more questions about Black Cars than any of the others, and I personally had more memories of Black Cars than any of the others. So yeah, I spent more time on Black Cars. It was hardly a Black Cars episode. I didn't even have a Casey clip for that one!

April 24, 2019 @ 8:29 AM


And I had conveniently long forgotten 'bout the transvestites in the "Black Cars" video. So
ahead of its time. So there's also that!!

April 24, 2019 @ 9:21 AM


With regards to that similarly looking eighties trio of G. Michael/Gretzky/Princess Di, that was nowhere near as disturbing/threatening as the manner in which La Toya Jackson gradually transferred herself into the spitting image of her most sensible brother Wacko Jacko!! Really, Miss La Toya posed for Playboy twice in '89 and '91 and on both occasions she selfishly refused to go the "full distance", if you catch my less-than-subtle drift!! Nearly thirty years later I'm in no way convinced that they were not the same person. 'Cept La Toya probably has a bigger set o'stones!!!

April 24, 2019 @ 9:54 AM


Loved the Periscope update despite those pesky desktop frustration interruptions!! P.S., anyone
who is even remotely offended by your hilarious Stevie Wonder joke (sorry, Gino!) desperately
needs to invest in an emergency sense of humour upgrade. "Nuff said!!!

April 24, 2019 @ 11:08 AM

Al The Royal Pain

This episode was so much fun! I didn't know much about Gino except for the Black Cars era, so I learned a lot and respect the man's musical talent a whole lot more now! I completely forgot about the song "Just A Motion Away". I was disappointed GIno didn't elaborate on that one some more. Felt like he didn't think much of it.

I just watched the beginning of the periscope and found it to be a great look into what goes into something like this, especially when dealing guests with agendas (something to promote). The bigger the show gets, the more of these types of guests you're going to get. Mike you dealt with it beautifully!

April 25, 2019 @ 11:52 AM


Finally had a chance to listen to this episode. Wow- it lived up to it’s build. I really enjoyed how candid he was about everything. Liked how he said Montreal had nothing to do with his success but that it was family. Found his comments about drug use well said. I really enjoyed the Casey Kasem clips. And now I finally heard the ENOUGH ABOUT BLACK CARS reference. That was awesome. All in good fun. (I don’t quite know the “Read the linear notes” comments. I suspect this was a podcast before my listening days). And lastly, the Stevie Wonder joke was a good one!

May 13, 2019 @ 8:17 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


"Read the liner notes" is from August... not that long ago! The Molly Johnson ep.

But "enough about Black Cars" came from a place of love whereas "read the liner notes" did not.

May 13, 2019 @ 8:38 AM


Rick - I am glad it lived up to the hype. I was explaining this episode and podcasts to the guy I'm dating, and he chuckled at somethings - proving to me it is indeed funny and awesome.

May 13, 2019 @ 9:18 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


If your boyfriend didn't enjoy the Gino ep, you'd have to break up with him. I hope you realize that.

May 13, 2019 @ 12:06 PM


TM - he asked me what a podcast was, and in my clunky explanation yours was the model i used. then i told him i accidentally missed the turn off for steeles as i listened to Gino, and he said sounds like a distraction LOL. He isn't my boyfriend though looool. We are just dating. He doesn't like soca fetes which is a true reason to honestly cut and run!

May 13, 2019 @ 12:49 PM


@jj, take him to TMLX3 and let the Toronto Mike hive check him out!

May 13, 2019 @ 1:35 PM


LieveFamke _ LOL he's working that evening - unless his day is ended early which it rarely does.

May 13, 2019 @ 1:44 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I've yet to have one of my kids bring home a guy/gal their dating, so I could use the practice!

May 13, 2019 @ 1:46 PM


L O L - you can run the questions by me that day he just won't be there

May 13, 2019 @ 2:41 PM

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