Germain (Gerry) LaCoursiere

I, Germain Robert Joseph Lacoursiere, was born on April 14th, the 14th child of Wilfrid and Alma (Joanis) Lacoursiere. I was born in my parents’ home at 152 Ottawa St. in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, a small paper mill town in northern Ontario. I was baptised at Sacred Heart Church. My godmother is my sister Annette (Lacoursiere) Ivosevich and my godfather is my cousin Aurel Poirier. The family moved to Windsor Ontario, in 1940 because of the abundance of work in the factories, in the automobile plants, and the opportunity for a better life. I always felt loved – that is part of growing up in a large family with nine older sisters and four older brothers. I had long hair which my sisters loved to curl, this accounted for not getting my first haircut until I was six. My first vivid memory is from 1943 – that was the year that my dad and brother-in-law, Gerard Serre, took me to Steve’s Barbershop on Drouillard Road for my first haircut. I remember the barber Steve saying, “I do not cut girls hair.” I was indignant and threatened to drop my pants to prove my manhood. Steve relented and cut my hair – that’s what you get when you have sisters who love to curl your hair and you do not receive your first haircut until you are older! I made my First Communion at Holy Rosary Church in April 1944.

I attended Holy Rosary Bilingual School up to grade 7, then was transferred to St. Edmonds School near Parent & Wyandotte Street. After grade 8, my parents decided I should attend St. Francis Minor Seminary in Blenheim Ontario, which was run by the Capucian Monks. I’m sure mom and dad felt that they could help me straighten out, as I had a tendency to get into touble. Or did they think that I might be the one in the family with a vocation? After a year and a half at St. Francis Minor, I realized that I did not have a calling. I transferred to Assumption High School in Windsor for grade 10 History, Math, Chemistry and English, and because I had been tought Latin, French and Religion in grade 9, I was placed in grade 11 for these subjects.

I played house league football for one year as a flying wing. When I got to grade 12, I only needed four subjects to graduate – I was able to organize my classes so that I would finish school by noon every day. My brother Larry got me a part time job at Finance Systems Inc., at $1.00 per hour. I ended up flunking two of the four subjects that I needed to graduate, and therefore, had to go to night school after I was married to get my high school Diploma.
My first full time emplyment was with Bakeco Products as a stock clerk, filling orders for supplies that were shipped to the bakeries. With my first paycheck, I bought my mother a red AM/FM radio for $17.00 – it was in her kitchen for years. After a year Paul Laliberté, owner of State Farm Aerial Statistices, hired me as a salesman. He took aerial photogrphs of farmers’ homes and barns. With a proof picture in hand, we went to the homes to sell full colour copies of the framed pictures in variouse sizes – 8″x10″ up to 30″x60″, the prices ranged from $24.95 to $125.00. We worked on a straight commission of 25% plus 3% on the cash deposits. After 3 months of selling I figured that I would be finacially better off getting a job that paid a salary. I applied to the Michigan Unemployment Commission and they set up an interview with Decca Records. Unfortunately there were no sales openings. Morris Kipner, the manager who interviewed me, offered me a position as a stock clerk with the promise of moving into sales. This would be my first exposure to the music business. Every week new recordings were released by known and unknown artists. the guys in the stockroom would listen to the releasese and try and predict which ones would become hits – I thought this was really fun. Six months later Morris Kipner was fired and replaced by John Schlee. John would become my mentor. He made me a salesman and gave me all of the “5 & 10″ Kresge, and Wooworth stores in the city of Detroit. After six months he transferred me to the Promotion Department. Now, my job was to call on all of the radio stations in Michigan and Toledo Ohio and get the DJ’s to play them on the air. Over several years I built a reputation of selecting the right recordings by unknown artists, and convincing DJ’s to play them – a lot of these songs became hits, giving me further credibility. I loved to work with the artists to further their careers, and I knew I had found my place in life.

One Sunday in 1956 I met Gaetane Savage at Martindale’s Beach. I was dating someone at the time so I paid her little attention. By 1958 my career was well on its way. One evenig while cruising up and down Ouellette Avenue with my buddy Leo Lanoue, we ran into Gay and her firlfriend and invited them for a cup of coffee. That was the befinning of our romance; we attended proms dances, movies. The next thing I knew I was asking her mother for permission to marry her. Gaetane and I were married at Immuculate Conception Church in Windsor on August 22, 1959. Over the years we were blessed with three children, Lizette, Robert and Ann Marie.

I continued being successful, leaving Decca in 1963 to join Liberty Records as their Detroit Promo Man, then Midwest Promotion Manager, in 1967. I went to Atanta Georgia as the Branch Manager and in 1969, I moved to Chicago as the midwest Regional Manager. In September of 1969 I was hired by Jerry Moss and Heb Alpert, owners of A&M Records, to open their Canadian Company. On April 1, 1970, A&M Records Canada opened at 255 Yorkland Boulevard, Toronto,with three employees and myself as Managing Director.

By the year 1971, A&M Canada was well on its way to success with sales in excess of a million dollars. As a compnay and a family, we were living comfortably. Gay and I chose to adopt two more children, Cathy and Dean (siblings) as our own to complete our family. A choice we will never regret!
In 1973 my title changed to Vice-President & General Manager of A&M Records, Canada. In 1977 my title became President, all responsibilities remained the same.

Jerry Moss and Herb Albert sold A&M Records to PolyGram Records International at the end of 1990. In September 1991 I was appointed Chairman of the Polygam Music Group Canada. I retired from this polition in January, 1998. During these years Gay and I attended many great concerts, met a lot of exciting artists, and traveled the world thanks to Herb and Jerry. For us life has been a series of adventures.

May the adventures continue into our retirement!