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: Jack Scott - Canadian rock's forgotten man

In the late 1950s and early ’60s, there were few bigger stars than Jack Scott. With his signature mix of snarling rockers and soothing ballads, the Canadian-born, U.S.-based musician scored 19 hit singles in just 41 months, a feat achieved by only a handful of other pop acts, including the Beatles. And seven of those hits were on his self-titled debut album. Blessed with a superb baritone and a wide vocal range, Mr. Scott was one of early rock’s most gifted male singers, surpassed only by Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley. And, unlike Mr. Presley, he wrote his own songs. Mr. Scott’s death on Dec. 12, of congestive heart failure, led to an outpouring of tributes from musicians and fans all over t...
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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

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 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

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 be...
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