Triumph is a Canadian hard rock band formed in the mid 1970s in Mississauga, Ontario. Along with fellow power trio Rush, the band rose to prominence in the late 70s be delivering powerful live performances. Sometimes referred to as a progressive rock trio like Rush, the band actually produced music of several styles, and are also thought of as a hard rock or heavy metal band. The band has released 10 studio albums and five live albums to date, earning gold or platinum certification in either Canada or the US on all but five of those releases. Considered one of Canada's most successful rock bands ever, Triumph has been a regular nominee at the annual Juno Awards (Canada's Grammys), earning nominations for Group of the Year in 1979, 1985, 1986 and 1987. The band was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and a street is named for the group in their hometown of Mississauga.

Triumph was started by drummer / vocalist Gil Moore and bassist / keyboardist Mike Levine. Having already earned a reputation in the Ontario music scene with bands like Terry and the Pyrates and Mushroom Castle, the two managed to sign a recording contract with indie label Attic Records despite not having a full lineup. The two musicians discovered guitarist Rick Emmett at a Toronto club called the Hollywood Tavern, where he was performing with a band called ACT III. After a promising jam session, Moore and Levine convinced Emmett to join the band by guaranteeing a minimum weekly paycheck of $175. The trio's first paid gig took place at Mississauga's Simcoe High School on September, 1975, with the band earning $750 for the performance. Less than 3 years later the band performed in front of more than 100,000 fans as the headlining act of the 1978 Canada Jam Festival at Mosport Park.

Triumph, Left to Right: Mike Levine, Rik Emmett, Gil Moore

Triumph released their self-titled debut album in October, 1976. The album failed to achieve much commercial success, mostly because Attic failed to adequately distribute the record outside of Canada. The effort is considered a classic by Triumph's loyal fans, however, and was reissued years later with the title In the Beginning. Interestingly, Emmett's first name was misspelled on the album, prompting the guitarist to change his name officially. He would later explain that changing his name was far easier than getting the label to make a correction. Subsequent support tours got the band noticed by RCA Records, who signed the band for distribution outside of Canada (Attic would continue to be the band's Canada label for four more albums). The band's second release, titled Rock & Roll Machine, was released in November 1977 in Canada and in early 1978 elsewhere. While not a huge success initially, the album did spawn the band's first hit single, a cover of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way", which helped the album land on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the US. The album would eventually receive double-platinum certification in Canada for selling more than 200,000 copies there.

In mid-1978 Triumph established a long-lasting popularity in San Antonio, Texas when they were asked to sub for Sammy Hagar at an in-studio radio station promotion. The DJ began playing Triumph heavily on the station after that, and the band capitalized on the opportunity by embarking on a brief tour of the Lone Star State. The shows helped boost the band's popularity, and the Texas market has been favorable for the band ever since. As the band's popularity and commercial success grew, so did their use of elaborate lighting and pyrotechnics at their concerts, earning the band a reputation for memorable live shows in the vein of KISS. With its fan-base growing, the band signed a new record deal with MCA Records, hitting the studio in the fall of 1978 to begin working on a third full-length album. The album was finished before the end of the year, and was the band's first effort to be solely produced by Levine, who had co-produced the band's first two albums.

The third Triumph record, Just A Game, was released on March 30, 1979, garnering positive reception from fans and critics alike. The album spawned the band's first hit singles, as both "Hold On" and "Lay It On the Line" spent several weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at No. 38 and 86, respectively. The two singles helped the album reach gold certification in the US, for sales of 500,000 copies, and the heavy airplay of "Hold On" helped expand the band's audience dramatically. "Lay It On the Line", meanwhile, achieved iconic status over the years at mainstream rock stations, and is likely the most oft-played single from the band's catalog on classic rock stations to this day. The band toured briefly in support of the record before heading back into the studio in December 1979 to lay down their fourth album.

Music Video for "Lay It On the Line"

Progressions of Power hit stores on March 25, 1980, and was Triumph's first effort recorded entirely at their own Metalworks Studio in Mississauga. The effort was also the band's highest-charting LP at that point, reaching No. 32 on the Billboard 200, despite not producing a Top 40 single. The album did produce the band's first single to chart in the UK, as "I Live for the Weekend" reached No. 59 on the British chart, and "I Can Survive" peaked at No. 91 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band toured extensively to support Progressions of Power, furthering their reputation as one of the best live bands in the world. With their popularity at an all-time high, the band headed back into MetalWorks in April, 1981 to begin laying down what would ultimately be their biggest commercial success. The album spent over four months in the studio on their fifth album, releasing the set on September 19, 1981.

Titled Allied Forces, Triumph's fifth full-length is considered by many loyal fans as the quintessential Triumph record. The LP is the band's only release to achieve platinum certification in the US for selling over a million copies, as well as their first to spawn three hit singles. "Fight the Good Fight" reached No. 18 on the US Mainstream Rock Songs chart, while "Magic Power" reached No. 8 on that chart and landed at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100. The effort also concluded Triumph's contract with Attic Records, and RCA would take over Canadian distribution on their next album, though a contentious relationship with RCA executives would bring about another label change just a few years later. By this time, the band's reputation as a "Must-See" live act was undeniable, and the band was a staple at major rock festivals all over the world for much of the 1980s. Triumph toured for about a year in support of Allied Forces, bringing it's frenetic live show to fans in nearly every major hard rock market in the world.

With their popularity at an all-time high, Triumph hit the studio in late 1982 to being working on album number six. Titled Never Surrender, the set arrived in stores on January 28, 1983. While critical reception was not overwhelmingly positive, the record quickly achieved gold certification for selling 500,000 copies, and charted in the US, Sweden and the band's home country of Canada. The album's first single, "All the Way", reached No. 2 on the US Mainstream Rock Songs chart, while "A World of Fantasy" peaked at No. 3. The album's title track was also released as a single, reaching No. 23 on the Mainstream Rock chart, though none of these singles charted on the Billboard Hot 100. Never Surrender brought about an evolution in Rik Emmett's writing style, as five Emmett-penned tracks featured political themes, whereas previous Triumph records only featured one of these politically motivated compositions each. Despite the commercial success of the album, the band's relationship with RCA began to sour and the label did very little to promote the album.

Unhappy with RCA's marketing efforts, Triumph ended their association with the label in early 1984, landing with MCA Records, signing a contract for their next five albums. Their new label also co-opted the band's outstanding debts and assumed distribution rights for their previous albums. With a new deal in place, the band hit the studio again in April 1984. The band spent several months working on their seventh album at Gil Moore's MetalWorks studio in Ontario before finishing the effort at the Producers Workshop in L.A. Titled Thunder Seven, the album was released on November 19, 1984, initially only on Compact Disc, or CD. The format was still relatively new at that point, however, so sales were disappointing because CD players were still too expensive for many fans. Sales picked up dramatically when cassette and vinyl versions were released, allowing the album to chart in the US, Canada and Sweden. Thunder Seven also became Triumph's fourth effort to achieve gold certification in the US and third to reach platinum status in Canada.

Triumph's eighth official release was Stages, a double live album recorded at various concerts performed between 1981 and 1984. Released in 1985, the album included a pair of previously unreleased studio tracks. The effort charted in Canada, Sweden and the US and eventually earned gold certification in Canada. The band hit the studio again in May 1986 to begin work on their eighth studio album, dropping the record in September of the same year. The album did achieve some initial success, charting in the US and Canada, but critical reception was mostly negative. The album did produce the single "Somebody's Out There", which climbed to No. 27 on Billboard's Hot 100, making it the highest-charting single in the band's career. Unfortunately, the band's relationship with MCA was souring at this time, and creative differences between the band's members began to surface. The band added a second guitarist for a subsequent tour opening for Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.

In February 1987, Triumph hit the studio to begin working on their ninth album, despite a growing separation in artistic direction between Emmett and the other two members. Emmett's songwriting style was moving toward a very progressive and modern sound, while Moore and Levine wanted to release classic blues-rock music. Despite the growing tension, the band managed to release an album considered a return to form by many longtime Triumph fans. Titled Surveillance, the effort was released July 27, 1987 and produced a pair of singles that reached the Top 30 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The album itself charted in both the US and Canada, and would eventually go gold in Canada. The band embarked on a lengthy tour to promote the album, which concluded with a show near Toronto in September 1988.

Following the Surveillance tour, Emmett made the decision to put Triumph behind him. The decision was not an easy one, as the band had a long-standing agreement that if anyone left the band, his share would be reduced from a third to one-ninth. Emmett went on to a moderately successful solo career and was part of the acoustic-leaning duo the Strung-Out Troubadors in the late 2000s. Emmett is widely considered one of the most talented guitarists in rock history, and spent several years as a writer for Guitar Player magazine. He also contributed a number of satirical cartoons poking fun at the music industry which appeared in Hit Parader, and has worked as a teacher of songwriting and music business at Humber College in Toronto. Emmett would reunite with Triumph when the band was inducted into the Canada Music Hall of Fame in 2008, though only a handful of performances and no new material ever came out of the reunion.

Intent on moving forward without Emmett, Moore and Levine recruited guitarist Phil X, formerly of Aldo Nova, and released a compilation album entitled Classics to conclude their contractual obligations to MCA. The band launched an extensive tour to introduce the new lineup, taking along Santers to play keyboards and sing Emmett's vocal parts. With Moore handling all the lead vocals, the band hit the studio in 1992 to record a tenth studio album, releasing the effort in January 1993. Titled Edge of Success, the album failed to chart anywhere and was viewed as a disappointment by the band's longtime fans. Shortly after the album's release, the band's new label Victory Records dissolved unexpectedly, effectively voiding the band's recording contract. Deciding the run was over, Moore and Levine decided to call it quits and go their separate ways.

After disbanding Triumph, Gil Moore dedicated the bulk of his time to MetalWorks Studios in Mississauga. Under his leadership, the studio has become world renowned and has prodcued records from dozens of popular artists including, Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, the Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry. Moore also founded the MetalWorks Institute for Sound and Music Production, the premier Canadian institute of higher learning for audio production. In 2003, Moore and Levine got together and purchased their entire back catalog from MCA and began reissuing the band's classic titles on their own label, TML Entertainment. Over the years, the band has released several live albums and compilations on the imprint, in addition to the reissues, but has not released any new material. Triumph's three founding members shared the stage again in 2008, when they were inducted to the Canada Music Hall of Fame as part of that year's Juno Awards ceremony, and have performed together at several festivals since.