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18 March 2010

Barbra Amesbury (1948 – ) musician, film maker.

Bill Amesbury was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. He became a singer-songwriter who had several hit singles and albums in Canada and the UK in the 1970s. His biggest hit was “Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)” in 1974. His 1976 LP Can You Feel It, has a song “A thrill’s a thrill”which contains:
“The gays are straight/
and the straights are queer/
and the bi's just call everybody dear. … I know a boy who growing tits,/
and, he swears -/
A thrill’s a thrill, even in paradise”.
 The song was also recorded by Long John Baldry and Marianne Faithful (in the latter case with slightly censored lyrics).

Bill transitioned and became Barbra in the early 1980s. She retired as a performer and became an arts patron with her partner Joan Chalmers, the Maclean-Hunter publishers heir. In 1994 they organized an exhibition re breast cancer survivors, and Barbra made a documentary film about the tour of the exhibition 1995-8.

In 2002, James Collins had a top-40 radio hit with his song about Barbra and the problems that friends have about talking about the pre-transition self.   Apparently this was done without either input or approval by Barbra.

In 2006/7 Barbra’s documentary The G8 is Coming was shown at several film festivals.

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