"Big Town Boy" by Shirley Matthews

LISTEN: "Big Town Boy" by Shirley Matthews

1960s soul from the Yonge Street scene

Back in the 1960s, more than a few Toronto musicians made a name for themselves at the legendary Club Bluenote. It was an after hours soul club on Yonge Street just north of Gerrard. And for a while, Shirley Matthews was the singer with the house band. She'd gotten her start by performing at high school dances while she worked a full-time job as a switchboard operator for Bell. But before long she had a regular gig singing into the wee hours of the morning at the Bluenote, where some of the biggest names in the history of soul music — Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Edwin Starr, The Righteous Brothers, Jackie Wilson — would stop by to jam after their Toronto shows.

She recorded "Big Town Boy" in 1964 and it became a hit — selling more than a million copies.


Listen to more songs associated with Club Bluenote here.

Listen to more songs from the Yonge Street strip here.

All songs are posted to promote the artist and the history of Toronto. When possible, I've sought permission from artists, but if you're the copyright-holder and would like the song removed, please contact me here and I'll be happy to do so. 


  1. I had 2 copies but I sold one. Always been one of my favorites

  2. Met her once, she was a friend of my sister. Very pleasant, and very well spoken. I'm not at all surprised that she became a big success in the fitness industry, after her marriage.