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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Mod Club memories

Far too many Toronto music venues have been dying, with owners falling victim to the double whammy of prohibitive rents and crippling taxes. The covid pandemic is just the latest nail in the coffin. First hit were the clubs; now it’s concert halls.The news that the Mod Club is closing has hit the music community especially hard. The 700-capacity concert hall in Little Italy,  at the corner of College and Crawford streets, was the perfect size for mid-level international acts and local artists whose stars were on the rise. It boasted brilliant sight lines, state-of-the-art lighting and exceptional sound and became one of the venues of choice for the Canadian Music Week and North By North...
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Remembering Toronto's Colonial Tavern

The illustrious history of Toronto's famous Colonial Tavern, once one of North America's top music clubs, is now etched into the sidewalk at 203 Yonge Street on a fabulous granite disc, thanks to the Downtown Yonge business association and MOD Developments. The disc, which features the names of over 130 artists who performed at the Colonial, was unveiled on Oct. 29, 2020.So many Canadian artists—of all genres— played Toronto’s storied Colonial, from Cy McLean & his Rhythm Rompers (who broke Yonge Street’s colour barrier in the late ‘40s) to The Viletones (who simply tore up the place in the ‘70s).Through the 1950s and into the '60s, the world's top jazz artists played the Colonial, inclu...
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Beatlemania and the Toronto Sound

The Beatles changed the world in countless ways, but they also dramatically changed Toronto over three consecutive years of performances (1964 to 1966) at Maple Leaf Gardens. Almost overnight, the city was hit with a cultural shift of seismic proportions: Boys grew Beatle bangs, girls pinned photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo on their walls and parents worried about the sanity of their teenaged children. Canada’s folk darlings Ian & Sylvia had ruled up to that point, but as the male half of that duo, Ian Tyson, remembers, “the minute the Beatles arrived, it was over—well and truly over.” The folk boom slowed, as every kid on the block rushed to form rock bands.Toronto’s music scene f...
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Music Feature: Jimi Hendrix in Toronto

He’s one of the most famous musicians of the 20th century and a rock guitarist of unparalleled talent. Although his mainstream career lasted only four years before his death on Sept. 18, 1970 of an apparent drug overdose, Jimi Hendrix shone so brightly that today his albums and concert appearances are the stuff of legend. The official Hendrix website, run by his estate, painstakingly catalogues every recording and performance he ever made under his own name. And many devoted fan sites do the same.As most fans know, the Jimi Hendrix Experience performed twice in Toronto: once at the Canadian National Exhibition on Feb. 24, 1968, on a bill with England’s Soft Machine and Toronto’s own Pau...
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Music Feature: Rune Halland and Cruisin' Records

Rune Halland, of Oslo’s Cruisin’ Records, caught the music bug—you could say a case of rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu—at an early age. At 22, the university student made a pilgrimage all the way to New Orleans, the cradle of jazz and the home of rhythm & blues greats like Fats Domino, Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint. While in the Big Easy, Halland heard that his hellcat hero Jerry Lee Lewis was performing in Detroit. He excitedly bought a bus ticket and headed north, only to find when he arrived in the Motor City, after an arduous 30-hour-long journey, that the Killer had cancelled. What to do?After wandering the mean streets of Detroit, in predominantly black ne...
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