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.

Ecological Rock: Pop Musicians Sing Out to Save the Planet

It resembled the historic Live Aid concert of 1985: a global jukebox featuring some of the world's top musicians performing for a cause. And like the original world benefit for African famine relief, the event was broadcast to an audience expected in advance to number one billion viewers in more than 100 countries.Last Saturday's multinational concert, titled Our Common Future, also reflected the new activism in rock music by focusing on an urgent global issue: the environment. The performers included Elton John in Edinburgh, Diana Ross in London, Herbie Hancock and John Denver in New York City, Midnight Oil in Sydney, Sting in Rio de Janeiro, along with artists in Los Angeles, Norway, Tokyo...

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Words & Music cover stories

A sampling of cover stories written for Words & Music magazine between 2002 and 2014.

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Inside Entertainment cover stories

Cover stories written for Inside Entertainment magazine between 2002 and 2007.

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Maclean's cover stories

Cover stories written for Maclean's magazine between 1987 and 2000.

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Eurythmics - A musical marriage at the top of pop

A metamorphosis is under way. A face, seemingly made of candle wax, takes shape beneath a flickering flame. It is Annie Lennox, provocative singer of Eurythmics, the British pop duo. Then, the video for Eurythmics’ latest single, “Missionary Man,” turns more sinister, with a scene in which a dark figure — Dave Stewart, the duo’s other half—is seen cooking potions in a laboratory. The video cuts back to Lennox’s face, now helplessly harnessed to a set of mechanical devices— communicating a strong message of struggle against others’ attempts at control. For Lennox and Stewart, veterans of contractual disputes with record and management companies, that message has special resonance. The pair ha...

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Art Bergmann - Rock and a hard place

Some of the best rock ’n’ roll—from Lou Reed to the Rolling Stones—has strutted through the grim realism of the street. Unlike many pretenders to that turf, Vancouver’s Art Bergmann has actually walked on the wild side, living with prostitutes and drug addicts in the city’s seedy east end while writing some of the grittiest, most literate material in Canadian rock. “Guns and Heroin,” one song from his latest album, What Fresh Hell Is This?, is a case in point. It arose out of an experience Bergmann had in the early 1980s, when he was a member of the Vancouver band Los Popularos. A man who invested $10,000 in one of the group’s recordings turned out to be a drug dealer looking to launder...

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k-os and the changing sound of hip-hop

Pigeonholing is an act of laziness, while stereotyping stems from ignorance and prejudice. Either way, for those targeted, it’s a cultural straitjacket—something that Kevin Brereton knows all too well. Growing up black in middle-class Whitby, Ontario, Brereton discovered that corner-store owners only suspected him of shoplifting, never his white friends. As k-os, Brereton learned that narrow musical definitions would restrict him from singing as well as rapping, and from adding acoustic guitar and piano to hip-hop’s usual soundscape. But he did it anyway. “It’s just how I express myself,” says Brereton modestly. “It doesn’t make me a revolutionary.” Modesty aside, k-os is in the vanguard of ...

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Glenn Lewis - The sexy side of soul

Smooth, slow and seductive, Glenn Lewis’ debut album, World Outside My Window, was the musical equivalent of a candlelight dinner. Packed with power ballads and laced with Lewis’ soulful, Stevie Wonder-like vocals, it was also a commercial smash, reaching # 4 on Billboard’s Top 200 and featuring the Top 10 hit “Don’t You Forget It.” The Toronto-born singer suddenly found himself in the vanguard of the neo-soul revolution, alongside the likes of Macy Gray and Alicia Keys. So why has Lewis opted for a rougher, more uptempo and decidedly sexier sound on his second album, Back for More? "I’m in a good place right now and the album reflects that,” says the coolly confident Lewis, w...

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The Lion Sleepwalks Tonight

Some songs live forever. Infused with musical elixir, they transcend time and space and even their original language. The Gipsy Kings, for instance, do Sinatra's signature tune "My Way" their way. And the raunchy Latino standard "La Bamba" has been sanctified by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, no less. For all we know, Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," now hurtling somewhere out in space aboard the Voyager II, will become a hit on Neptune when it reaches the planet sometime in the next millennium. So how to explain the longevity of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," which made Brooklyn's The Tokens a one-hit wonder in the '60s? Despite its trite lyrics ("In the jungle, the mighty jungle," etc.) the song...

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Blue Rodeo - Riding High

When Wayne Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame at a gala ceremony last November, only two artists were asked to perform: Stompin’ Tom Connors and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy. For Cuddy, who plays pickup hockey throughout the winter with a group of musicians, including members of the Rheostatics and the Tragically Hip, the invitation stands as a career highlight. But the 44-year-old singer-guitarist says he’s still a bit embarrassed about how he actually got to meet the Great One. “I inflicted myself on him at the end of the night,” recalls Cuddy, still shaking his head in disgust. “Everyone was getting their picture taken with him and I just jumped right in. He was very gracious abo...

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