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.
Web Design & Digital Marketing

The thrilling blues of Luke & the Apostles

Starting in the mid-1960s, Luke & the Apostles—a quintet fronted by the Mick Jagger-like Luke Gibson—were packing Yorkville’s Purple Onion night after night. Although guys were drawn to the Apostlesʼ raw covers of songs like “Crossroads,” “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” and “You Canʼt Judge a Book,” girls were drooling over the sight of Gibson.Off-stage, Gibson was shy and quiet, but on-stage, he was transformed into a writhing, shaking, screaming package of pure sexual energy. With his curly hair and boyish good looks, Gibson was the bandʼs biggest asset. But the Apostles—guitarist Mike McKenna, keyboardist Peter Jermyn, bassist Jim Jones and drummer Rich McMurray—sounded good enough t...
Continue reading
  236 Hits

Malka & Joso - Songs in Many Tongues

Long before the term “world music” became a popular catch-all for sounds from around the globe, Malka & Joso were singing songs in Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Creole French, Macedonian and Russian. During the mid-1960s, the handsome folk duo brought a distinctly international flavour to the Canadian folk scene, performing in coffeehouses and concert halls, at folk festivals and on television with their own weekly CBC program. Malka & Joso’s three albums for Capitol Records were the unlikely hits of the decade, outselling many of the label’s English-language albums.Malka Marom was born in Israel, the daughter of a cantor. Joso Spralja was born in the former Yugoslavia, the son of a fish...
Continue reading
  235 Hits

Obituary: Elyse Weinberg - Yorkville's Forgotten Folkie

She was one of Yorkville’s forgotten female folkies, a contemporary of Joni Mitchell and a friend of Neil Young who left Toronto in 1968 for the hills above Los Angeles. For a while, Elyse Weinberg was a Lady of the Canyon herself, with an acclaimed debut album and a rose-tinted future. Newsweek magazine even compared her to Ms. Mitchell, Melanie and Laura Nyro. But disillusionment with the music business eventually caused the husky-voiced singer to drop out, move to the rural northwest and change her name.In 2000 Ms. Weinberg, then living as Cori Bishop in Ashland, Ore., received an out-of-the-blue phone call: a young musician had found her mystical self-titled debut in a thrift s...
Continue reading
  910 Hits

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,...
Continue reading
  465 Hits

Toronto Songs: Neil Young's Ambulance Blues

Neil Young returned to the city of his birth in 1965, determined to break into Toronto’s flourishing music scene. He’d arrived with his Winnipeg group, the Squires, but their new folk-rock sound fell on deaf ears. Even changing their name to Four to Go failed to make a difference. So Young parted ways with his bandmates and launched himself as a solo folksinger.Before leaving Winnipeg, Young had become enamored of Bob Dylan’s music and taught himself to play “Four Strong Winds,” Ian Tyson’s Canada-referencing response to “Blowin’ in the Wind.” He’d also encountered Joni Mitchell, who was performing at the Fourth Dimension coffeehouse with her husband. After the show, Young went up to Joni, t...
Continue reading
  1322 Hits