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: Big Sugar bassist Garry Lowe

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He was the gentle, dreadlocked musician who gave popular Canadian blues-reggae rockers Big Sugar its distinctive bass sound. But Garry Lowe, who passed away July 7, played a far greater role, bridging the reggae and Rastafarian culture of his native Jamaica with diverse audiences wherever he went, both with Big Sugar and as a prominent member of numerous other bands. And whenever a Jamaican star visited Toronto, Lowe was almost always there onstage, laying down his deep groove. “For a while, it seemed that Garry was the only reggae bass player in the world,” recalls Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson, commenting on Lowe’s ubiquitous presence was on the Toronto scene. “I’m sure when Garry join...
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Obituary: Paupers and Lighthouse drummer Skip Prokop

Skip-ArtUsherson Skip Prokop performs with Lighthouse at the Ontario Place Forum in 1972. Photo by Arthur Usherson.
Skip Prokop was one of Canada’s first major rock stars, a world-class drummer and talented songwriter who co-founded the groundbreaking jazz-rock band Lighthouse, which earned international acclaim in the 1970s. His death on August 30, after a long battle with heart disease, sparked an outpouring of tributes from the music world. Prokop got his start with the Paupers, an innovative Toronto rock quartet that took New York by storm in March 1967 and became the first Canadian band to land a U.S. album deal. He then recorded with Janis Joplin, performed with Cass Elliot and Carlos Santana and became greatly admired for his session work with Peter, Paul & Mary and Al Kooper and Mike...
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Obituary: Beatles visionary, talent scout Paul White

PaulWhite-Beatles-LynnBall Capitol Records Canada executive Paul White (second from left) with the Beatles, Toronto, September 1964. Photo by Lynn Ball.
He’s the man who first brought the Beatles’ music to Canada—almost a full year before America embraced Beatlemania. He then opened the doors for other British Invasion acts and went on to sign the first wave of Canadian pop artists during the 1960s, including Anne Murray and Edward Bear, in his capacity as Capitol Records’ artists & repertoire executive in Canada. When Paul White died on March 13, after a cardiac arrest, the music industry mourned the loss of a jovial gentleman and creative trailblazer. Along with issuing Beatles’ singles, beginning with “Love Me Do” on February 18, 1963 and hitting number one with “She Loves You” by the end of the year, White designed and compiled sever...
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Obituary: Full Tilt Boogie keyboardist Richard Bell

Obituary: Full Tilt Boogie keyboardist Richard Bell
Among blues-rock soloists and accompanists, he had few equals. An exceptional pianist, organist and accordion player, Richard Bell left his mark on more than 400 albums, some of which he also produced, arranged and composed and sang on. Renowned for his sense of humor as well as his dazzling keyboard chops, the Toronto-born Bell performed with such legendary figures as Janis Joplin, Paul Butterfield and Bob Dylan and played a supporting role in some key events in rock ’n’ roll history. When he died last week at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, after a year-long battle with cancer, friends and associates around the world mourned the loss of a beloved and highly respected musician who, according...
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Obituary: Jazz giant Oscar Peterson

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Few pianists swung as hard or played as fast and with as many grace notes as Canada’s Oscar Peterson. The classically trained musician could play it all, from Chopin and Liszt to blues, stride, boogie, bebop and beyond. He led his own jazz trios, performed with such legendary figures as Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, who called him “the man with four hands,” recorded more than 200 albums and wrote such memorable works as “Hymn to Freedom” and the “Canadiana Suite.” “A virtuoso without peer,” concluded his biographer, Gene Lees, in The Will to Swing . When Peterson died this week, music lovers around the world mourned the loss of a lyrical stylist and one o...
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