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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Obituary: Lucille Starr - Queen of Yodels and Yearning Ballads

She was Canada’s consummate country music queen: petite, buxom and with towering hair to match a voice that could scale heartbreaking heights. Beginning in the late 1950s and early ’60s, Lucille Starr was also a trailblazer, singing in both English and her native French while becoming the first Canadian woman to sell one million records and the first to perform at Nashville’s famous Grand Ole Opry.There were many other firsts for the feisty francophone artist, an accomplished yodeller who yodeled Cousin Pearl’s character on TV’s The Beverly Hillbillies. Signed to A&M Records in Los Angeles with Bob Regan, her partner in the Canadian Sweethearts duo, Ms. Starr was simultaneously...
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Obituary: Roy Orbison - Rock ’n’ roll romantic

He sang songs steeped in melancholy with a voice that could hit the sweetest heights. As a member of the first generation of rock-and-rollers, he was a loner, a shy teetotaller who, despite his tough-looking, dark attire and ever-present sunglasses, preferred wrenching ballads to the rugged side of rock. And when he died last week from a heart attack at 52, Roy Orbison touched off a new wave of emotion from a diverse range of musicians and fans. At the peak of his career in the 1960s, Orbison had 27 consecutive records on the charts, including “Only the Lonely” and “Oh Pretty Woman.” Recently, he returned to the charts by collaborating with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Tom Petty in the gro...
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Obituary: Elyse Weinberg - Yorkville's Forgotten Folkie

She was one of Yorkville’s forgotten female folkies, a contemporary of Joni Mitchell and a friend of Neil Young who left Toronto in 1968 for the hills above Los Angeles. For a while, Elyse Weinberg was a Lady of the Canyon herself, with an acclaimed debut album and a rose-tinted future. Newsweek magazine even compared her to Ms. Mitchell, Melanie and Laura Nyro. But disillusionment with the music business eventually caused the husky-voiced singer to drop out, move to the rural northwest and change her name.In 2000 Ms. Weinberg, then living as Cori Bishop in Ashland, Ore., received an out-of-the-blue phone call: a young musician had found her mystical self-titled debut in a thrift s...
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Obituary: Wray Downes - The Grand Man of the Piano

Wray Downes was a gifted pianist, an Oscar Peterson protégé blessed with perfect pitch and impeccable timing and a be-bop man who possessed one of the most expressive right hands in all of jazz. Mr. Peterson – and many others in the field – recognized Mr. Downes as a formidable talent.In 1980, Mr. Peterson told author and former Globe and Mail jazz critic Mark Miller of his deep respect, in competitive terms, for his shy, unassuming former student. “Wray’s the kind of guy – you look up and all of a sudden, you’re bleeding. If you go up onstage in a group, and he’s in the other group, quietly he’ll take his lumps out on you.”When Mr. Downes died on March 19, at 89 from lung cancer, ...
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Obituary: Neil Peart - Rush's drummer was one of the world's best

Neil Peart was not like most drummers. Seen from above, his sprawling kit resembled a painter’s pallet, with myriad drumheads and cymbals providing the bold primary and pastel shades of his art. He played his instrument with virtuosity and athleticism, pushing himself to the outermost limits of his creativity and ability with distinctive fills and complex solos that helped to make Rush such a formidable rock band.While most drummers are content to sit, dutifully holding down the backbeat, Mr. Peart was a restless soul with inexhaustible ambition and an insatiable curiosity that took him unexpected places. He traveled widely, rode motorcycles, collected vintage cars and Canadian art and read ...
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