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.

Jackie Shane - Toronto's answer to Little Richard

The North American rhythm-and-blues circuit of the 1950s and ’60s had a surprising number of artists pushing gender boundaries. Macon, Georgia’s Little Richard, who’d once performed as Princess Lavonne in a traveling tent show called Sugarfoot Sam's, was certainly the best known. But Richard was heavily influenced by Esquerita, a flamboyant and feminine pianist from New Orleans. Also from New Orleans were two other artists who were gay or transgender or nonbinary: Patsy Vidalia, born Irving Ale, hosted the city’s legendary Dew Drop Inn and recorded as Pat Valdelar; and gay soul singer and impresario Bobby Marchan regularly switched between male and female clothing—complete wit...
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Toronto Songs: Gordon Lightfoot's On Yonge Street

Gordon Lightfoot got his start on Yonge Street, not in Yorkville. Although the bard of Canadian song is often associated with Yorkville’s Riverboat coffeehouse, where he first became a star while performing weeklong stints in the mid-1960s, his first real home as a solo artist was Steele’s Tavern, at 349 Yonge. A two-storey operation run by Greek restaurateur Steele Basil, Steele’s was sandwiched between Yonge Street’s famously competitive record stores: Sam’s and A&A’s. There, in the upstairs Venetian Lounge, Lightfoot performed his songs for anyone who would listen, often competing with the clink of beer glasses and televised hockey games for people’s attention.Lightfoot had traveled d...
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Obituary: Soul singer Jackie Shane

Photo courtesy of Gerry Miskolczi
Jackie Shane broke all the rules. An American-born, black, transgender woman, Ms. Shane first came to Canada in the conservative early 1960s and won over audiences with her glamorous image and soulful singing. For the next decade, she packed clubs in Ontario and Quebec and landed one memorable song, the slinky, sassy “Any Other Way,” near the top of the charts. But then Ms. Shane disappeared and erroneous rumours circulated of a possible murder or suicide. For the next 40 years, the mystery grew until word came that the retired performer was living back in her native Nashville.Ms. Shane’s rediscovery resulted in a massive comeback that the former singer never planned – nor actively participa...
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Before the Gold Rush - Flashbacks to the Dawn of the Canadian Sound

Book Description from AmazonThis is an entertaining, authoritative, and highly anecdotal look at the golden era of Canadian pop music-the historically important decade that gave birth to such internationally respected recording artists as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Ian & Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan, Bruce Cockburn, Buffy Saint Marie, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Ronnie Hawkins. In the bohemian sixties, Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood was a hippie haven-our version of Haight-Ashbury or Greenwich Village, a place where coffeehouses like the Riverboat and the Purple Onion offered a creative mecca for musicians from across Canada. They came from Saskatoon and Winnipe...
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