Whereas Edward Bear’s original sound was blues-rock, Last Song is a moderate-tempo light-pop commercial ballad written for the AM radio style that Evoy loved. The group’s record label, Capitol, did not interfere with their choice of material. The single, featuring Evoy’s distinctive voice, was arranged by Doug Riley (of Dr. Music) and produced by Gene Martynec at Thunder Sound. Capitol released it in North America in October 1972, with Best Friend on the B side.
Last Song relates a story of unrequited love, using the lovely poetic metaphor of a burning light (“Still my light’s on”) to represent the singer’s feelings. He realizes that his girl will never feel the way he does about her, and he decides, regretfully, to move on. The universality of this emotion made the song one of the most popular of the early 1970s.
Last Song’s climb up the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart was slow during November and December 1972. It gradually rose to No. 2 by January 27, 1973 and finally to No. 1 on February 3, and did not fall out of the Top 10 until mid-March. The new year also saw the song gather listeners in the US. On Billboard’s Easy Listening (Adult Contemporary) chart, the song rocketed from No. 20 on January 27, 1973 to No. 9 on February 3 and No. 3 by February 17; it spent a week at No. 2 before reaching the peak No. 1 spot on March 3 and remaining there for another week. It also peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1973. Australian fans also kept the song in their own Top 5.
Last Song won Edward Bear the best single Juno in 1973 (Outstanding Performance) and Gene Martynec the best producer Juno. The recording also had a Gold Leaf award from RPM Magazine for outstanding sales (at least 75,000 copies) and a Recording Industry Association of America gold disc for selling more than 1 million records.
Published by Eeyor Music (the name taken, like the band’s name, from “Winnie the Pooh”), Last Song was included on the band’s 1973 “Edward Bear” album. It has appeared in compilation albums including “Edward Bear – The Best of The Bear” (1984), “The Edward Bear Collection” (1991), “Oh What a Feeling: Celebrating 35 Years of the Best in Canadian Music,” and “Rock Me Gently: Mellow Rock’s Greatest Hits.” It was also heard in the 1998 film “Last Night.” Vikki Carr has sung it and pianist Ronnie Aldrich recorded an instrumental version.
By 1973, Edward Bear’s original line up had disbanded. Larry Evoy remained as the primary songwriter and creative force throughout the band’s career, rebuilding the group twice, until it split up in 1974. Evoy went on to release a solo album and a successful single (Here I Go Again). Following his retirement from performance, he ran a music publishing business and small recording studio. He received a SOCAN Classics Award in 1994 for each of his compositions – Close Your Eyes, Last Song and You, Me and Mexico – being played over 100,000 times on radio. From 1984, Evoy operated his own horse farm north of Toronto where he and his wife, Sara, would raise and show horses, one of whom went on to win team silver for Canada in show jumping at the Beijing Olympics. “The farm is still home, but the horses have since retired,” said Larry.