Canadian guitarist and songwriter Jerry Doucette dies at 70
The Juno winner was best known for his 1977 song “Mama Let Him Play”
Posted on April 19, 2022
Jerry Doucette — the award-winning guitarist and singer-songwriter best known for CanRock’s hit “Mama Let Him Play” — has died. Doucette died Monday, April 18 in British Columbia following a battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.
CTV News Vancouver reports that according to a family friend, Doucette died surrounded by her family at Thomas Hospice in Delta, British Columbia. He is survived by his wife Maggie of 43 years, five children and 10 grandchildren.
Born in Montreal, Doucette and his family moved to Hamilton, ON, when he was four, and he started playing guitar at age six. While in Hamilton, he played in a teenage garage band called the Reefers. In 1972 he headed west to Vancouver, playing with local bands including Seeds of Time and the Rocket Norton Band, before signing a solo recording contract with independent label Mushroom Records.
Under her last name, Doucette and her gang debuted with 1977’s Mama let him play. The album achieved Platinum certification in Canada the following year. Its title track, with its memorable six-string and vocal harmonies, is still on rotation on Canadian classic rock radio.
In 1979, Doucette delivered a follow-up La Douce is cowardly, which would go on to be certified Gold in Canada. That same year, Doucette won the Juno Award for Most Promising Group of the Year in 1979, beating Max Webster and Streetheart.
Mushroom Records would go out of business in 1980, leaving Doucette to release 1981’s Upcoming Roses on Rio Records. fourth album Price of a training will follow in 1995.
Doucette announced her retirement from music in 2018, citing health issues and a desire to spend more time with her family. He wrote in a statement that year, “After being on the road and playing for over 50 years…I’m hanging up my guitar for good.”
“Thank you to my bandmates, friends and especially my fans for all of your support over the years – it’s been an honor. Keep listening to Canadian artists and keep supporting live venues – they are the cornerstone of our industry. … Mom, let them play.”