Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

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Obituaries, Books

Dr. Music and Brother Ray

Toronto’s Doug Riley was a gifted pianist and arranger. He began on his instrument at the age of three, graduated in music at the University of Toronto and went on to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music (interestingly, doing his postgraduate work on the music of the Iroquois).  In his teens, Riley played with the Silhouettes, a popular Toronto rhythm & blues group that became the red-hot house band at Yonge Street’s Bluenote club, backing top singers like Dianne Brooks and Jack Hardin. In 1969, before he was given the title Dr. Music and formed a formidable jazz group of the same name, Riley’s reputation had travelled beyond Toronto and earned him a call from one of his biggest...
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Fran's Restaurants - Would you like some music with your banquet burger?

For over 80 years, Fran’s restaurants have enjoyed a warm and cozy relationship with Toronto. Like the comfort food in which they specialize, the chain of family-style eateries won fans with their affordable, unpretentious offerings, from bottomless cups of coffee and belly-busting all-day breakfasts to the world’s first banquet burger, a burger served with bacon and cheese. Fran’s restaurants were the brainchild of Francis “Fran” Deck, who shuffled here from Buffalo in 1940. He opened his first restaurant the following year—a diner at 21 St. Clair Avenue West that originally had just 10 seats. His second location, at 20 College Street, opened in 1950, and quickly became popular with Eaton’s...
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Jackie Mittoo - Reggae's Keyboard King

Born on this day, March 3, in 1948, Jackie Mittoo can be rightly called the godfather of reggae music in Canada. When he emigrated to Toronto in 1969, Jackie was already a major star in Jamaica, having been a founding member of the ground-breaking Skatalites and a composer-arranger whose inspired keyboard work on countless Studio One recordings helped Jamaican music evolve from ska to rocksteady. Some say the gifted performer was the inventor of reggae itself.  After landing in Toronto, Jackie quickly began introducing audiences to a bubbling, keyboard-driven sound that came to be called reggae—earning himself widespread media attention and national airplay. Meanwhile, he recorded and t...
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