Sam the Storytelling Man

This summer I had the pleasure of sitting next to Sam Sniderman, aka Sam the Record Man, at a Board of Directors breakfast at the Confederation Centre. Sam loves to talk about his involvement in the music industry, and he’s got some great stories. Name any Canadian musician, and I’ll bet he’s met (or had breakfast) with them, and has a story to go with it. Sam told us about a young singer coming into his office and stating that if her next album didn’t go anywhere she was going to go back to being a school gym teacher. That singer was Anne Murray, and her album “This Way is My Way” contained Gene MacLellan’s song “Snowbird” which would turn Anne into a star.

Sam was there through it all, selling records and promoting Canadian talent, and being the first to introduce all the latest advances in technology, from vinyl records to CDs to online sales. At his flagship store on Yonge St. in Toronto, Sam had a policy of attempting to stock every record on every label. Having shopped there myself many times, I can attest to the remarkable variety of recordings for sale. You really could find things there that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Considering the ease with which anyone and their dog can put out a CD these days, I doubt that such a goal would be possible anymore.

With their stories, people like Sam Sniderman open a window to our history and give us perspective on our lives. We should all share our stories – with our kids, our grandchildren, with anyone who will listen. Everyone has a story to tell, a story that will have meaning for someone. So curl up by the fire, or make a little extra time for breakfast, and get those stories out.

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