riumph formed in 1975 at Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (a city west of Toronto) and was originally named Canuck. All the members were accomplished musicians who had previously experimented with high-tech melodic Rock, similar to another famous Toronto act, Rush. Comprising of Rick Emmett (guitar/vocals), Gil Moore (drums) and Mike Levine (bass/vocals), they followed a rocky road to stardom.
Moore and Levine scouted Emmett in the summer of 1975 at a west-end Toronto club, The Hollywood Tavern, on "The Queensway", a major street through the west end of Toronto, where Emmett was playing in a band called ACT III. The three musicians subsequently got together for a jam session in the basement of Moore's house in Mississauga, after which Moore and Levine showed Emmett promo materials and contracts they had already secured for gigs starting in September of that year. They offered Emmett a guaranteed minimum weekly paycheck of $175, and Emmett agreed to join as an equal founding partner. Their first paid concert was at Simcoe High School on September 19, 1975, for $750.
Over time, interest grew slowly with their first two releases, Triumph (1976) and Rock 'n' Roll Machine (1977), (both on the Canadian 'Attic' label) which were only available in their homeland but because of excessive demand, imported copies flowed south across the 49th parallel like it flows down Niagara Falls. When they signed to 'RCA', a compilation of the first two-titled Rock 'n' Roll Machine (1978) was issued to satisfy the US market.
Just A Game (1979) would be their first proper new international release, but it would be Progression Of Power (1980) that would see them with a breakthrough, for it and all releases after until the departure of Emmett, would land them US top 50. The follow-ups Allied Forces (1981) and Never Surrender (1982) saw them at the height of their career with US gold records each.
Thunder Seven (1984) exposed the cracks in their armor and was considered a disjointed, stiff and flat affair, as was the live album Stages (1985) that followed, despite them still achieving fair chartings. The intricate guitar work and Emmett's high-pitched vocals, as well as the keyboard fillers and rhythm section became their trademark sound. Rick Santers was frequently called in as an extra guitarist to overcome the limitations of a three-man team during live shows.
Like Rush, their concerts were highlighted with special effects, laser lights, pyrotechnics and every other conceivable device known; they were known more for these shows then the actual music itself. The Sport Of Kings (1985) saw them take a more commercial stance but seeing the folly of their ways, they quickly returned to their well-produced aggressive Rock sound on Surveillance (1987). Emmett left in 1988 to be replaced by Phil Xenides, while Moore took over vocals. Edge Of Excess (1993) came after a long rest but it was, in the end, ill advised for the departure of Emmet over internal squabbles took much of the band's character away and the act eventually split.
Gil Moore would go on to own and operate Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, originally opened in the early 1980s for Triumph's exclusive use because a studio open to any band as well as becoming a school to train engineers and sound technicians for Canada's music industry.
On March 10, 2007, Triumph was inducted to the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York Hotel. All original members of the group were present for the event. This first meeting in nearly twenty years broke the long silence between Rik Emmett and his former band-mates but was yet to create a permanent reunion for purposes of recording; it has allowed, however, several live performances and the release of subsequent live albums and compilations.
On April 6, 2008, Triumph was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as part of the Juno Awards.
Lay It on the Line was released as a DLC song for Guitar Hero 5 on October 22, 2009.
In 2011, the band reissued Allied Forces as a vinyl package for their 30th anniversary.
On July 14, 2011 a street, Triumph Lane, in the city of Mississauga, Ontario, was dedicated in honour of the band.
There was a single "reunion concert" in Sweden called "Live At Sweden Rock Festival" that was released on a CD/DVD package.
In 2013, Triumph was inducted into "Legends Row" at the inaugural ceremony held at Mississauga City Hall.