The Toronto Historical Jukebox: "Big Town Boy" by Shirley Matthews

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.

MP3: "Big Town Boy" by Shirley Matthews


You can listen to more songs from the Toronto Historical Jukebox here.

Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and the Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at

All songs are posted to promote the artist and the history of Toronto. If you're the copyright-holder and would like the song removed, please contact us here and we'll be happy to do so.  


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