Hey, guys I found another puck that was squashed and turned into a record. This time it’s the 1979 classic of legendary Hab-Dude Guy Lafleur, a.k.a. The Flower, teaching us how to hockey…to French-Canadian Disco! In the late 70’s there was nothing hotter that a dance beat and Les Habitants hockey in the bleu, blanc et rouge. Why not smoosh them together?
First and foremost, the packaging of this flattened biscuit is worth the price of admission alone. The cover features a helmetless Lafleur dashing quickly with laser focus toward a goal off camera. While he doesn’t have actual laser eyes, the speed lines flaring from his colorful jersey make this cover perfect for adorning any young aspiring young boy’s bedroom wall or sports bar featuring Molson beer on tap.
Inside the gatefold, we see a hapless goalie failing to stop the speeding puck from The Flower’s shot; a shot so powerful that it PHASED THROUGH THE TWINE-MINDERS GLOVE! I don’t know what the net is made of, but it managed to stop the puck even though soundwaves can clearly be seen ringing off the back end like a supersonic jet breaking the sound barrier. Fantastic — and this is just the cover.
But wait, there’s more! Inside we find a lovely 30.5 cm by 61 cm poster featuring the 70’s chic and smiling Lafleur seated next to his famous #10 jersey. A specimen of Canadian masculinity, his bare and pelted chest a rolling field of muscles, defining fit health of the decade while his teeming forearms feature only a gold chain bracelet that twinkles only slightly less that his adoring eyes and knowing, devil-may-care smile. Seated like the Rodin’s contemplating Thinker, his elbow and hand rested on his spread thighs as he’s relaxed but careers the air of a man ready for action at a moment’s notice. Le Demon Blond indeed, this is truly a poster worthy of any young aspiring hockey player’s mom’s wall.
Mais ce n’ent pas tout! It even comes with a book. Just inside are several pages of classic black and white photos of Guy giving it good to the Flyers with hockey magic.
But that’s where the fun ends because it’s time for work. The rest of the document several pages of instructions on how to hockey, featuring steps on skating, checking, shooting and scoring. There are plenty of diagrams and photos of The Flower showing a couple of young boys how it’s done properly.
Thoughtfully, the diagrams are all spelled out for you in French AND English. Your hard work is rewarded at the end with more dynamic photos of Guy’s game action, but ALSO there’s a form for you cut out and mail in along with $2 (Canadian) to become a part of the Guy Lafleur Fan Club.
For your twooney you will receive a 32-page photo album, an official membership card, a genuine denim sew-on-patch and not one but TWO letters from Guy himself. Quite the bargain.
Try not to let your head explode because THERE IS EVEN MORE! This record set also comes…with a record.
I know, I was just as surprised as all of you. The full-length LP features six tracks at Led Zepplin-esque lengths to keep the party or team practice going. Opening with crowd noise (presumably from the Montreal Forum) where a pulsating beat that would be no stranger coming from Peter Chris’s drum kit bleeds in. Bass, guitar, piano and synth zaps accompany a squad of lady vocalists (The Lafleurs? The Guyettes?) singing in French to the glorious discotheque music. I don’t speak French, but sometimes I kiss that way, so your guess is as good as mine on what they’re saying. Four of the six tracks feature Guy speaking to you, the listener, while a hip-swaying bass and smooth horn section get your heart’s tempo ready for game action. Or at least practice. You might not be ready for a game yet if you’re listening to this. Some of it is instruction, while some of it is also a bit of Guy’s own storied history:
“When I joined the Canadiens from Quebec, I found that the move that got me scoring chances in the Junior League just drew a big blank in the NHL because the defensive systems and good checkers were taking my game away from me. So I started watching, and when I soon learned that when the checker made the puck carrier come to him, the checker was boss. But: when the puck carrier was far enough to make the checker attack him… well. That was a different story.”
Now there are two different versions of this record: this one, the proper one in French, how it was made to be heard with the proper enunciation and emotional strife of what the artist was trying to convey. There is also the lazy English-language version. But if you like that one, you probably watch dubbed anime. I mean, what’s the point?
For your enjoyment, here are the track listings for both the French and English versions of Lafleur!, with links to where you can listen to those songs:
If you found yourself enjoying the music, it is probably because everyone featured (except Lafleur) are professional session musicians who worked together on many disco-oriented projects in the late 1970s and early 1980s — such as this cover of the song Witch Queen (of New Orleans) or Heather Gauthier’s band Toulouse, with their hit Funkysation. I highly recommend listening to this with the sound cranked to 11.
Geno Soccic was a pretty epic disco music producer of the time and was plucked for this album which allegedly cost $100,000 (Canadian) to make, while taking 75 hours (Canadian) of Lafleur’s own time. On top of that, Guy admitted to smoke “a pack or more of cigarettes during each recording session!”
I do not know how many copies of this sexy poster and it’s accompanying record album sold or if they recouped the 100,000 loonies it cost to make. I can safely say that while this was a very interesting side project, we should all be thankful that Guy didn’t give up his night job. ■
Jim Howard is a Carolina Hurricanes fan and reformed baseball card collector who is trying to keep the hockey collection from becoming overwhelming. And while he wishes he could give Crosby the business with his mitt, he is in fact NOT the goalie for the Red Wings.