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Rik Emmett
Riik Emmett.jpg
Rik Emmett plays at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.
Photo: Burns! 2002
Background information
Birth name Richard Gordon Emmett
Born July 10, 1953 (1953-07-10) (age 68)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals, synthesizer, piano, bass guitar
Years active 1975–present
  • MCA
  • Universal
  • Rockit Sounds
  • Attic
  • Duke Street
  • Fontana North
Associated acts
  • Triumph
  • Strung-Out Troubadours
  • Pavlo
  • Oscar Lopez

Richard Gordon Emmett (born July 10, 1953) is a vocalist, guitarist, and member of the Canadian rock band Triumph.


Emmett left Triumph in 1988 to pursue a solo career. His first solo album, Absolutely, was released in 1990 and became a moderate hit across the United States and Canada thanks to the hits "When a Heart Breaks" and "Saved by Love". He is also a writer for Guitar Player magazine and teaches song-writing and music business at Humber College in Toronto. For a time during the 1980s, Emmett contributed cartoons to Hit Parader magazine satirizing the music industry.

Due to a production error by Gil Moore and Mike Levine on Triumph's first album, Emmett changed the spelling of his first name to "Rik" rather than have the album recalled or cause confusion with fans.

Although he is best known as a rock guitarist, his playing style incorporates rock, blues, jazz, classical, bluegrass, and flamenco techniques. Similarly, his songwriting and discography demonstrate his ability to employ and blend multiple genres. In April 2005, he won the Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for Guitarist of the Year.

Emmett is also a proficient singer, splitting lead vocal duties of Triumph with Gil Moore. However, most of the songs garnering radio play were those of Emmett as he tended to write and sing in a more commercial style, while Moore's song-writing and singing were in more of a heavy metal style. Emmett's voice also has a noticeable resemblance to Geddy Lee (of Rush),{} leading to the band's sound itself often being compared to Rush.

In 2007, Emmett joined former Triumph bandmates Gil Moore and Mike Levine for their induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. On Sunday April 6, 2008 at The 2008 JUNO Awards, Triumph was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).

As a result of positive audience response to their dual guitar work in live shows, Emmett and guitarist Dave Dunlop formed the duo Strung-Out Troubadours. In 2007, they won 'Album of the Year' and 'Group/Duo of the Year' at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, where they were the most heavily nominated act. Both were also nominated for 'Best Guitarist'.

Emmett's 2018 tour with Dunlop may prove to be his last, citing an interest in retirement, or at least an extended break.

As of January 2019, Emmett is on hiatus from touring.


Solo albums

  • Absolutely (1990)
  • Ipso Facto (1992)
  • The Spiral Notebook (1995)
  • Ten Invitations from the Mistress of Mr. E. (1997)
  • Swing Shift (1997)
  • Raw Quartet (1999)
  • Handiwork (2002)
  • Good Faith (2003)
  • Then Again: Acoustic Selections from the Triumph Catalogue (2012)
  • Marco's Secret Songbook (2012)

Live albums

  • Rik Emmett LIVE at Berklee (2000)
  • ‘’Live at Hugh’s Room’’ (2007)


  • One Night in Cinci (2005)
  • Live at 10 Gigs (2005)

with Triumph

  • Triumph (1976)
  • Rock & Roll Machine (1977)
  • Just a Game (1979)
  • Progressions of Power (1980)
  • Allied Forces (1981)
  • Never Surrender (1982)
  • Thunder Seven (1984)
  • The Sport of Kings (1986)
  • Surveillance (1987)

with Sam Reid

  • The Spirit of Christmas (1999)

with Strung-Out Troubadours

  • Strung-Out Troubadours (2006)
  • Push & Pull (2009)
  • reCOVERy room 9 (2011)

with Airtime

  • Liberty Manifesto (2007)

with Pavlo and Oscar Lopez

  • Trifecta (2009)

with RESolution9

  • RES9 (2016)

Solo singles

Title Release Peak chart positions Album
"Big Lie" 1990 47 Absolutely
"When a Heart Breaks" 14
"Saved by Love" 1991 17
"World of Wonder" 22
"The Way That You Love Me" 76
"Bang On" 1992 48 Ipso Facto
"Dig a Little Deeper" 66
"Heaven in Your Heart" 1993 44
"Let Me be the One" 1995 31 The Spiral Notebook

Soundtrack appearances

  • "Saved by Love" (from Problem Child 2) (1991)
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