Amesbury's biggest hit was "Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)", which was also the first single (1974) ever released on the Casablanca Records label. "Can You Feel It" was also a minor hit in 1976. Amesbury's "Nothin' But a Fool" has been covered by Natalie Cole, and "A Thrill's a Thrill" has been covered by Long John Baldry and by Mitch Ryder with Marianne Faithfull and John Cougar.
In 1976 and 1977, Amesbury produced "No Charge" by J.J. Barrie, which became a number one hit in England.
In 1999, "Virginia" was given an award by SOCAN to mark 100,000 spins on Canadian radio stations.
In 2002, James Collins and Dave Pickell released the single "Do You Mind If We Talk About Bill?", which was written about Amesbury.
In 1994, Amesbury and her partner Joan Chalmers organized an art exhibition called Survivors, In Search of a Voice: The Art of Courage, using the stories of breast cancer survivors to inspire 24 women artists to create works of art aimed at raising awareness of breast cancer. The exhibition toured throughout North America from 1995 to 1998, accompanied by a companion book. Amesbury also shot a documentary film of the tour.
Barbra Amesbury, front, and Joan Chalmers chose artists and cancer survivors to create a remarkable exhibit opening in Toronto. Credit: Ron Bull
Barbra Amesbury (born 1948 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario) is a Canadian philanthropist, singer-songwriter, composer and filmmaker, who had several Top 40 hits in Canada in the 1970s as Bill Amesbury before coming out as transsexual. Amesbury is the long-time partner of Canadian philanthropist Joan Chalmers (born 30 May 1928 in Toronto) since before 1994. While celebrating her 70th birthday in 1998, Chalmers announced that she would provide 20 arts groups with a total of $1 million in funding.
In 2006 and 2007, her documentary film The G8 is Coming...The G8 is Coming was an official selection of the Rome International Film Festival, the Ashville Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Southern Winds Film Festival, and the Dixie Film Festival.
Amesbury and Chalmers have provided support and donations to a variety of charities and organizations through their Woodlawn Arts Foundation. In 2010 the Foundation made a significant donation of art to The 519 Church Street Community Centre to mark the official opening of The Centre's expansion including pieces from the Survivors exhibition and a piece by John B. Boyle.
Margaret Joan Chalmers, CC OOnt (born 30 May 1928 in Toronto) is a Canadian philanthropist and supporter of the arts.
In 1972, she and her parents, Floyd and Jean Chalmers, founded the annual Chalmers Awards, which donates $25,000 CAD to artists in dance, theatre, crafts, film, the visual arts and music.
She was involved with the traveling exhibit, Survivors in Search of a Voice: The Art of Courage, which as a collaboration among 24 prominent Canadian women artists and over 100 breast cancer survivors.
While celebrating her 70th birthday in 1998, she announced that she would provide 20 arts groups with a total of $1 million in funding.
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