Les Emmerson obituary: Songwriter of classic rock anthem Signs dies at 77

The Emmersons was a Canadian singer-songwriter who wrote the classic rock anthem “Signs,” which was a hit song for his band, the Five Man Electrical Band.


Les Emmersons was the lead songwriter, singer and guitarist of the Canadian rock group Five Man Electrical Band. The group from Ottawa, Ontario was first known as Staccatos and had a top ten in Canada in 1966 titled “Half Past Midnight”. Although they had some success in their homeland, they had not made it into America. They changed the group’s name to Five Man Electrical Band and released an eponymous LP in 1969. In 1971, the song written by Emmerson “Signs” became the group’s first international hit, reaching the top ten in America, Canada. and Australia. . The song became a generational anthem that Emmerson wrote after driving in California and noticing the billboards blocking the beautiful scenery. The group broke up in 1975 and Emmerson released solo material. He was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Notable quote

“One day we played together and decided to start a small group. “He turned out to be one of my very good friends and he was the one who brought me up on stage. I don’t think we made any money that night, but it really didn’t matter. – He told the Barrhaven Independent in 2020

Tributes to the Emmersons

Complete obituary: CTV News

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