According to veteran Mandala singer George Olliver, his good friend and Toronto scene musical veteran Bobby Dupont has passed away. Dupont was known to be ailing for some time but was able to perform with Olliver at George’s 50th Anniversary show put on by SongTown.ca in April at St. Clement Hall in East York.
Dupont and Olliver were in the band The Royals together for many years and performed together as part of other combinations on numerous occasions.
Dupont started out as the lead singer of The Stattlers performing at the original Bluenote club on Yonge St. in the 60s. The band changed its name to Sweet Blindness and also included singer Donny Meeker.
Dupont teamed up with Olliver to start The Royals in the late 70s and, working with people like Domenic Troiano, the group rocketed to international renown and a hugely successful European tour in the early 80s.
Dupont continued performing in clubs in TO, fronting his own act as lead singer and conga player, throughout the 80s and 90s until he retired in 1999. However, he reunited with Olliver after reconnecting at a Blues festival in 2010 and, when he was able, performed with Olliver at shows such as a reunion gig at Whistler’s in October of 2010.
The April performance at Olliver 50th anniversary celebration was his last known public appearance. A video was made of Dupont performing with Olliver at the show and has been posted by Gary Asseltine on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G6PAbtYK8M .
Olliver posted on his Facebook page:
“The name of Bobby Dupont will go down in the annals of Canadian music as a singer that made great R&B records in the 70’s……….it was music from the heart. For many of us musicians who worked with you over the years………you were a great band leader in your day and I for one had a great time travelling the world and making music with you.
“Bobby……….over the past 4 years you rose to the occasion when I asked you to give it one more try. Many of your old fans were so glad to see you back on stage giving it your best shot. I know you struggled constantly to break out the jail you were in. It makes my heart feel so good that your last performance was with me at my 50th , your buddy and fellow Royal.
“When were together recently talking about our touring and days gone by and attending church together, you were constantly calling on the name of Jesus. I know HE will take care of you from now on.
Until we meet again …………..bless ya!!”
Another video of Olliver and Dupont performing together, in 2010, can be viewed at: