Stay Awhile (2014)

In the 1960s, a hit Canadian band topped the music charts and made rounds on The Tonight Show, the Merv Griffith Show and American Bandstand. That band called the Five Bells, and later The Bells, born in Montreal, had enormous success with their brand of feel-good pop-rock before the Canadian music industry became what it is today.

The Bells core members were sisters Annie Edwards and Jacki Jameson, Cliff Edwards, Denny Will, and Doug Gravelle. Along with other members and those involved with the band, they talked about what it was like forming in 1964, dealing with the success and the growing pains they all suffered. Cliff and Annie were married in 1967 after the band successfully toured the US, and when Annie decided to retire and look after their children, her sister Jacki and Cliff took over the lead vocals. That led to “Stay Awhile,” a gold record single selling one million copies, putting the band back in the spotlight. As life changed for the members, fractures became more evident, and solo careers, separations and heartache plagued the band, leading to the ultimate breakup.

Written and directed by Annie and Cliff’s youngest daughter Jessica, this intimate documentary about the first band to tour across Canada and sell over 5 million records worldwide is a fascinating look at a musical group that made its mark in Canadian music history.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette

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Canadian connection

Written and directed by Jessica Edwards
Cliff Edwards’ solo career included a TV show in 1972 called the Cliff Edwards Show.