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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Lightfoot, the Hawk and the Rolls-Royce

By the mid-1960s, Gordon Lightfoot was spending more and more time drinking and hanging out with Ian Tyson and Ronnie Hawkins. Bar crawls on Yonge Street weren’t always possible, since the three would often be working. But Hawkins, who pretty much had the run of Le Coq d’Or, kept the place open and made sure the club’s go-go dancers stuck around so he and his buddies could trade songs and party with the girls long after closing. Lightfoot had even written a wistful lament about one of the dancers, “Go Go Round,” which became a hit record for him in early 1967 and was ultimately featured on his album The Way I Feel.Friendship with Hawkins led Lightfoot to write another song. It all stemm...
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Ronnie Hawkins - Rock of Ages

The beer was flowing freely as waitresses served platters of breaded shrimp, gourmet pizza and chicken wings. But it was not the regular hockey crowd at Gardoonie’s, a popular watering hole opposite Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. Instead, more than 300 people were gathered there last week to pay tribute to a rock ‘n’ roll legend.Standing amid the hockey memorabilia on the walls, Ronnie Hawkins was beaming as he surveyed the crowd. Officially, the lavish party was being held to launch Let it Rock!, his 26th album and the accompanying video that captures his recent 60th birthday concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall, featuring such rock luminaries as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and The B...
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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: Robbie Robertson - Songs of a native son

Stepping off a Greyhound bus from Toronto in 1961, a 17-year-old boy found himself in West Helena, Ark., by the banks of the Mississippi River, unable to believe his senses. “It smelled different and moved different,” Robbie Robertson recently recalled. “The people talked and dressed different. And the air was filled with thick and funky music.” The experience left an indelible impression on the budding guitarist and songwriter.Years later, Robertson drew on it to write some of rock’s most evocative songs—including “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” And he performed them with his group, The Band, which critic Greil Marcus has called “the best rock ’n’ roll band ...
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Music Review: King Biscuit Boy - Mouth of Steel

Mouth of Steel marks the return of Canada’s legendary bluesman King Biscuit Boy to recording after an unfortunate 10-year absence. Biscuit, also known as Richard Newell, of Hamilton, Ont., apprenticed with Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins and served with the Canadian blues band Crowbar before striking out on his own. His confident comeback album ably showcases his gutsy voice and mournful harmonica style. The piano boogie of “Route 90” and the Latin-tinged instrumental “Necromonica” display his considerable talents and those of his skilful session players. The album’s real gem is “Done Everything I Can,” on which Biscuit bends harmonica notes as soulfully as he contorts his own gravelly vocals. Mouth ...
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