|Through a friend, Keith met producer Bill Misener, then working for
RCA in Toronto. Bill was an original member of the rock group The Paupers,
which also included Skip Prokop (leader of Lighthouse). Misener had worked as a
staff producer for RCA for several years before meeting Hampshire, and was
recognized within the industry for various successful RCA
Hampshire recorded "I Wish I Could Wish Away," written and produced by Misener, during an after-hours session at the RCA studio. RCA Records agreed to release the single (re-titled "Ebenezer"). When sales weren't of hit proportions, RCA indicated it wouldn't be interested in any future product.
Soon afterwards, Keith played Bill "Daytime Night-Time," written by Mike Hugg, an original member of Manfred Mann. Both agreed the song could be a North American hit if it was reworked. The two booked the RCA studio, laid down a basic track, and approached A&M of Canada. Misener also decided at that time to form an independent production company Pig Weed Productions.
"Daytime Night-Time" became a Top 10 hit in Canada in 1973 and also appeared in the U.S. Top 50. Its powerful successor, "The First Cut Is The Deepest," reached the coveted number 1 spot in Canada on May 12,1973, was a big hit in Australia and also cracked the U.S. Top 100.
The follow-up, "Big Time Operator" went Top 5 in Canada, Top 100 in the U.S. and number 1 in South Africa. The album, The First Cut unhappily did not fare as well. And after a couple of other singles, namely "For Ever and Ever" and "Hallelujah Freedom," Keith left the A&M stable.
Without missing a beat, Keith became the host of a coast-to-coast CBC-TV network show called, Music Machine, from 1974-1975. It featured all the top Canadian recording artists of the day as special weekly guests. Artists like Klaatu, The Bells, Copperpenny, Rush, Lighthouse, The Stampeders, Valdy and others made some of their first television appearances on Keith's show.
After leaving Music Machine, Keith made a few more recordings, and released the single, "Something Good," backed with another gem, "Just Another Fool," on the Axe Records label. A second version of "Something Good" soon appeared on Keith's second album, Variations, named after his old band. It was released in 1981 on Freedom Records, where Keith also served as an A&R man, helping sign artists like David Wilcox and Lee Aaron to their first recording contracts.
In 1983, Keith was presented with his first Gold Record for "OK Blue Jays," a track he recorded with The Bat Boys as the theme song for the Toronto baseball team. Another memorable performance came at the Canada Day 2000 celebrations when Keith sang "Daytime Night-Time" to a crowd of over 100000 fans in Ottawa.
Over the years Keith has also enjoyed work off-camera as a jingle singer, voice-over or character-voice on television commercials, radio commercials (listen here), motion pictures (listen here), cartoon series and radio plays.