When Private Eye had run its short life in late 1980, Toronto natives Gord and Hugh Leggat had been staples on the Ontario scene for years. Most prominently with Hugh with The Lords of London and Nucleus, prior to him joining A Foot In Cold Water, a major force in Canadian rock during the 1970s.

With Hugh on vocals and bass and Gord on guitars, they hooked up in 1981 with guitarist Rob Sagar, Paul Sullivan on keyboards and drummer Danny Taylor – an alumni from AFICW. The Leggatts were still under contract to Capitol Records, they caught the attention of manager Michael Cohl. They played the bar circuit for several months before heading to Master’s Workshop in Toronto. They employed a handful of friends, including Gerald O’ Brien and Chris Jensen from Surrender, and with Hugh co-produciong with Francis Davies, they recorded a couple of dozen Leggatt brothers originals between March and June, 1981.

The 10 best tracks made the debut, entitled ILLUMINATIONS, a double lp released early in ’82 that totalled less than an hour. Despite the stellar musicianship of tracks like the lead-off “White Flags” (later covered by Blue Oyster Cult), “Wallow In The Hallow” and ” Today Is An Open Road,” the record slipped under the radar of most critics, although it would become revered by many as the crowning achievement in the Leggatts’ career – progressive, and at times full of dark, brooding textures made from synthesizers combined with clever guitar hooks.

Despite a serious push from the label execs, the album got very little exposure outside of the greater Toronto area, partially due to the fact most of the songs were over four minutes long, and two were seven-minute plus epics – thus not making it particularly radio friendly.

The group disbanded less than a year later, and all the members went on to other projects. The Leggatts would resurface to the main stage for the first time in 20 years when Mississippi Hippies hit the stage in 2004.

White Flags
Slipping Into Limbo
Wallow In The Hollow
Amerikan Lights
Rolling Hard
Under Your Spell
72 Bordello Street
Red Wine and White Lies
The Ballad of Frankie D
Today Is An Open Road


foot in cold watermississippi hippiesprivate eye