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.

Blog Post: Jimi Hendrix in Toronto

Blog Post: Jimi Hendrix in Toronto
He’s one of the most famous musicians of the 20 th  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 ...
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Book Excerpt: The Soul Crusade of the Mighty Mandala

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For much of 1965, guitarist Domenic Troiano, singer George Olliver, bassist Don Elliot and drummer Whitey Glan were the house band at Toronto’s after-hours rhythm & blues club the Bluenote, downtown near the corner of Yonge and Gerrard streets. At the time, they were known as Whitey & the Roulettes. But with the addition of keyboardist Joey Chirowski, the group adopted a harder-edged sound and started calling themselves the Five Rogues. Donning pinstripe, gangster-style suits bought from tailor-to-the-stars Lou Myles, they began living up to their name as ruthless purveyors of blue-eyed soul. By the following year Toronto’s Yorkville district, like New York’s Greenwich Village and Sa...
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Music Review: Dalbello - Whomanfoursays

DalBello
From the exotically primitive portrait on the album’s jacket to the untamed sounds inside, Whomanfoursays is a daring album. The recording, Toronto-born Lisa Dabello’s first in three years, signals a dramatic departure from the singer’s carefree pop style. Part of the credit must go to her musical partnership with guitarist-producer Mick Ronson (David Bowie, The Payola$). But Dabello, as she now calls herself, has obviously undergone a profound personal metamorphosis as well. Insipid love songs have given way to complex, unsettling pieces about passion, domination and doubt. On the lusty “Gonna Get Close to You” she sings about stalking her romantic prey “like a hungry criminal,” while on “A...
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New York: If you can make it there....

The Paupers in Central Park - photo by Linda Eastman
Canadian musicians have always flocked to New York, drawn like moths to the bright lights of the city that never sleeps. Dreams of a breakthrough in New York have inspired artists ever since Toronto vocal groups the Crew-Cuts, the Four Lads and the Diamonds all had success there, followed by Ottawa teenager Paul Anka, who ventured to the Big Apple in 1957 and scored a number one hit with "Diana," his lovestruck ode to a former babysitter. The steady stream continued during the folk boom. In November, 1965, Ian & Sylvia performed at New York's prestigious Philharmonic Hall while Gordon Lightfoot played a few days later just down Broadway Avenue at the Town Hall. Both folk acts became regu...
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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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