Musicians remember Windsor radio producer known as girl with the golden ear

Musicians are mourning the loss of Rosalie Trombley, the influential Windsor radio music director known in the industry as the girl with the golden ear. Trombley's talent as a tastemaker put artists including The Guess Who and Bob Seger on the charts.

'Maybe only God has made more stars than Rosalie Trombley,' said singer-songwriter Tony Orlando

Tony Orlando remembers Rosalie Trombley

1 year ago
Duration 1:29
Singer songwriter Tony Orlando talks about the girl with the golden ear, Windsor radio producer Rosalie Trombley.

Musicians are mourning the loss of Rosalie Trombley, the influential Windsor radio music director who was known as the girl with the golden ear.

Trombley, who died on Tuesday, became the music director at AM800 CKLW in 1968, when the station played Top 40 songs. She became well known on both sides of the border as an industry tastemaker.

"Maybe only God has made more stars than Rosalie Trombley," said singer-songwriter Tony Orlando from his home in Branson, Mo., crediting her for his career and the careers of many others in the music industry. 

"To be honest with you, without her, I don't think Elton would have a career, I would have a career, Bob Seger would have a career."

WATCH | Rosalie Trombley backed up her golden ear with record store research:

Rosalie Trombley was known as the girl with the golden ear

1 year ago
Duration 1:05
CREDIT: The Rise & Fall of the Big 8/Markham Street Films Inc..

Randy Bachman, of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who, said she put Windsor on the map when it came to the music industry.

"I think Windsor was more important than Toronto at that time in radio because of Rosalie," he said.

"She basically made These Eyes a big hit."

Rosalie Trombley, seen in an undated photo from the University of Windsor Archives, became the music director at Windsor radio station AM800 CKLW in 1968, where her golden ear propelled to stardom artists like Bob Seger, The Guess Who, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. Trombley died Tuesday at the age of 82. (Leddy Library Archives & Special Collections, University of Windsor)

Bachman said Trombley was a "powerful, strong woman" who was ahead of the "women are equal kind of thing."

"She was more than equal. I mean, every other guy who is a music program director looked up to her."

'She had a 50,000 watt heart'

Orlando said Trombley's work with CKLW in Windsor rivalled the biggest stations in North America, and the leading hit-makers in New York and Chicago often followed her lead.

"Rosalie was in such power in the record industry and radio that every radio station in the U.S. and Canada waited for her to make the first move. If they saw Rosalie went on a record — forget about it," he said.

'She either heard it or she didn't. And if she didn't, she was honest enough to tell you,' said Randy Bachman of Rosalie Trombley. (CBC)

"CKLW in Windsor, Canada was the most powerful radio station on the planet because not only does it serve Canada, but it also served all the way — you could hear that station in Dallas, Texas.

"It's a 50,000 watt station, but she had a 50,000 watt heart."

"Recording artists, both established and aspiring, visited Trombley to promote their latest single releases," Trombley's family said in a media release that also noted she is credited with helping artists such as The Guess Who, Gordon Lightfoot, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith break onto the charts.

Bachman said Trombley had a knack as a music director for telling artists what they needed to do to make their music better.

'She either heard it or she didn't'

"She seemed to have these magic ears. She either heard it or she didn't. And if she didn't, she was honest enough to tell you."

That's something Orlando agreed with.

"All she cared about was giving to people and caring about people," he said.

"And it's a very sad day in our industry and a very sad day in your country of Canada and here in the States to lose such an influential, incredible and I mean incredible woman."

Trombley won the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the Junos in 2016. She was also the inspiration behind the 1970s Bob Seger song bearing her name.

Trombley died on Tuesday, according to a statement from her family. She was 82. A cause of death was not disclosed.

LISTEN | Bob Seger immortalized Trombley with his song Rosalie: 

With files from Kerri Breen, Mike Evans and Katerina Georgieva


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