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.

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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Book Excerpt: Yorkville's Ugly Summer of Love

By the summer of ’67, Yorkvilleʼs hippies found themselves choking on exhaust fumes from bumper-to-bumper traffic. Reduced to curiosities for the passing, pointing motorists, many resented the way their community was being taken over by tourists gawking at the longhairs. Kids started demanding that Yorkvilleʼs streets be closed to cars. The Diggers seized on this and the issue became the hippiesʼ new mantra.Yorkville had been a thorn in the side of Toronto the Good for some time. But in the heat of that summer, the problems came to a head. Cops in the village started hassling kids with a “move-along, move-along” attitude. Politicians, meanwhile, railed against the presence of runaway youths,...
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Live in Toronto

Toronto has a long history of live music recordings, from clubs, coffeehouses and dance halls to football stadiums, hockey arenas and concert auditoriums. Some have been commercially released by record companies, while others have been secretively bootlegged by nefarious fans.The most legendary live recordings from Toronto have been those made with world famous rock, pop and blues acts like the Rolling Stones, who recorded parts of 1977's Love You Live at the El Mocambo club, where more live recordings have been made than anywhere else in the city. Others recording there include April Wine, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, the Cars, Big Walter Horton, Whiskey Howl, George Thorogood ...
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Music Feature: Tarig Abubakar and the rise of African music in Toronto

On a cool June night in 1988, Tarig Abubakar found himself walking along a desolate highway near Montreal’s Mirabel Airport, a bewildered stranger in an even stranger land. The Sudanese-born musician had just arrived on a flight from the motherland seeking to start a new life in Canada. But, without a friend or relation to greet him, his luggage lost in transit and with only $10 in his pocket, he was a lost soul. Four Haitians spotted him—a weary black figure dressed in a disheveled white suit—and offered him a ride. When they learned his circumstances and that he had no destination, they took him to Ballatou, an African music club in downtown Montreal. Being English-speaking,...
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Music Feature: Jimi Hendrix in Toronto

He’s one of the most famous musicians of the 20th century and a rock guitarist of unparalleled talent. Although his mainstream career lasted only four years before his death on Sept. 18, 1970 of an apparent drug overdose, Jimi Hendrix shone so brightly that today his albums and concert appearances are the stuff of legend. The official Hendrix website, run by his estate, painstakingly catalogues every recording and performance he ever made under his own name. And many devoted fan sites do the same.As most fans know, the Jimi Hendrix Experience performed twice in Toronto: once at the Canadian National Exhibition on Feb. 24, 1968, on a bill with England’s Soft Machine and Toronto’s own Pau...
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