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.

Obituary: Crowbar frontman Kelly Jay - Larger than life

Obituary: Crowbar frontman Kelly Jay - Larger than life Kelly Jay with Pierre Trudeau
During the early 1970s, no musician wore his Canadian nationality more proudly on his sleeve than Blake Fordham, better known as Kelly Jay, the charismatic man mountain who fronted boogie-rockers Crowbar. At a time when many still shied away from overt flag-waving, Mr. Fordham, the singer and pianist behind the anthemic hit song “Oh What a Feeling,” unabashedly embraced a good-time nationalism in both his lyrics and clothing. “Kelly Jay and Crowbar made young Canadians feel cool about their country, about being Canadian and everything that stood for,” recalls Frank Davies, Crowbar’s original producer and publisher, who cited Mr. Fordham’s “Captain Canada” nickname, beaverskin hats, deerskin ...
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Obituary: Deane Cameron - Music executive passionately supported Canadian talent

Barry Roden photo With Stompin' Tom Connors
In the industry where he spent his entire working life, Deane Cameron was fondly known as Captain Canada, a passionate man with an unwavering commitment to musicians, a hilarious way with one-liners and a heart, many say, that was as big as the country itself. Too modest to embrace any superhero title, Mr. Cameron worked tirelessly to boost new and established Canadian pop and rock artists during his nearly 25 years as head of Capitol Records-EMI of Canada (renamed EMI Music Canada), where he famously started in the warehouse and worked his way up to president. Few have played a more vital role in this country’s musical culture. Among his many accomplishments, he coaxed Stompin’ Tom Connors ...
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Obituary: Oddball musical genius Joe Hall

Joe Hall in bathtub - Cordova Bay Archives
Joe Hall possessed one of the most fertile imaginations in Canadian songwriting. His concerts in the 1970s and 80s are the stuff of legend: frenetic displays of eclectic music and absurdist theatre in which he seemed to have narrowly escaped a straitjacket. Although his star dimmed in subsequent decades, the prolific artist never stopped writing songs, recording and performing. When news spread recently that he had died, fans across Canada mourned the loss of a gifted, lovable oddball whose commercial success never matched his unbridled talent. During Mr. Hall’s heyday touring widely with his band the Continental Drift, he often drew comparisons to Frank Zappa for wild performances of songs ...
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Obituary: Composer Galt MacDermot

galt-macdermot-home1
The world-renowned composer of Broadway’s hit musical Hair began his musical career in the 1950s as the organist-choirmaster at Montreal’s Westmount Baptist Church. At the time, Galt MacDermot also moonlighted in nightclubs around his hometown—“crashing about on the piano, turning church hymns into jazz,” as one of his relatives, the writer Janet Savage Blachford, once recalled. By 1957, the son of a Canadian diplomat and teacher had composed music for My Fur Lady , Canada’s most successful original musical. MacDermot moved around a lot as a child, but music was a constant preoccupation. Encouraged by his piano-playing father, Terence, Galt began experimenting on the record at age five and b...
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Obituary: Soul singer Jackie Shane

JackieShane-promoshot Photo courtesy of Gerry Miskolczi
Jackie Shane broke all the rules. An American-born, black, transgender woman, Ms. Shane first came to Canada in the conservative early 1960s and won over audiences with her glamorous image and soulful singing. For the next decade, she packed clubs in Ontario and Quebec and landed one memorable song, the slinky, sassy “Any Other Way , ” near the top of the charts. But then Ms. Shane disappeared and erroneous rumours circulated of a possible murder or suicide. For the next 40 years, the mystery grew until word came that the retired performer was living back in her native Nashville. Ms. Shane’s rediscovery resulted in a massive comeback that the former singer never planned – nor actively partic...
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