Good old Stomping Tom is passed on to the big squid jigging grounds.(only Canadians will likely know what this means) RIP
Stompin’ Tom Connors dies at 77: A look back at a Canadian country icon
Stompin’ Tom Connors, the lanky, cranky country music legend who extolled Canada’s pastoral and working-class virtues in song has died. He was 77.
By:Greg QuillEntertainment Reporter, Published on Wed Mar 06 2013
Stompin’ Tom Connors , the lanky, cranky country-folk music legend who extolled Canada’s pastoral and working-class virtues in song for more than 40 years in saloons, festivals and concert halls across the country — all the time railing against a global music industry that he considered had betrayed the nation’s character and song treasury — has died. He was 77.
Connors died Wednesday among friends and family members at his home in Halton Hills, Ont. from what a spokesman called “natural causes.”
He was an inveterate four-packs-a-day smoker, who complained in a 2008 interview with the Star that Canada’s smoking laws were largely responsible for keeping him out of the public eye more often than he’d like to be.
**MORE: **Stompin’ Tom’s last letter to fans
“But it wasn’t the cigarettes that got him,” close friend Brian Edwards told the Star.
His health was in noticeable decline recently, he said. “Tom started getting very tired in the last few weeks, and he died of natural causes.”
Connors was ever loyal to his fans and, true to form, he prepared them in advance with a personal message posted two days ago on his website stompintom.com .
“Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom,” his note reads.
“It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.
“I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.”
“I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes. I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.”
Known for his powerful floor-pounding stomp, which propelled his simple, three-chord ballads during performances, the New Brunswick-born singer and songwriter turned a lonely childhood and a hardscrabble life into countless songs that endeared him to working-class Canadians from coast to coast since the late 1960s.
Connors was beloved by musicians of all stripes, among kd lang, contemporary country folk stars Dave Gunning, J.P. Cormier and Corb Lund, and Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, for his honesty and outspoken patriotism.
His maple-soaked repertoire, which could fire up thousands of punters at his performances despite next to no airplay on radio, included “Canada Day, Up Canada Way,” “The Hockey Song,” “Bud the Spud,” and “Sudbury Saturday Night.”
A rugged individualist whose nationalist fervour and outspoken criticism of Canada’s profit-fixated broadcasting and music industries often landed him in hot water, Connors used to spend much of his offstage time drinking, smoking and sharing tall tales with his fans in pubs.
As his fame grew, he resented being distanced from his followers.
“Now we play such big venues I hardly ever get to see people up close,” he told the Star in 2008 as he embarked on yet another national tour. It was also the year Canada Post issued a stamp imprinted with his likeness.
His last public performance was in July 2011 in Kingsville, Ont.
**MORE: **Stompin’ Tom interviewed by The Star interview in 1990
Despite his popularity, Connors remained his own man, a loner and a renegade. Born to an unwed teenage mother, he left home to wander the country at age 14 and found solace playing music among friends on the road, in work camps and in farmers’ fields. His life is chronicled in the autobiography *Before The Fame *.
“My songs are too country for country radio,” he said in 2008.
**MORE: **Stompin’ Tom: Photo gallery of a Canadian legend
In 1978, he returned several Juno Awards he had won to protest against Canadian musical artists who sought fame in the U.S.
“I feel that the Junos should be for people who are living in Canada, whose main base of business operations is in Canada, who are working toward the recognition of Canadian talent in this country and who are trying to further the export of such talent from this country to the world with a view to proudly showing off what this country can contribute to the world market,” he said at the time.
The gesture signalled the beginning of a 10-year self-imposed exile from the spotlight.
“I have no relationships with other songwriters, apart from encouraging the young ones to write about the things they know, the places they live, and their country,” he told the Star when he took to the road again.
“It seems to me that fewer and fewer people are doing that. They’re writing about places they’ve never been and things they’ve never done. Somehow that doesn’t seem honest to me.
“I’m not a politician, and I don’t spend much time sitting around wondering about who we are and who we’re not. I just know we’ve been here long enough for the rest of the world to be conscious of us. They know our voice, and they know what we stand for.”
Connors is survived by his wife Lena, two sons, two daughters and several grandchildren.
A celebration of the artist’s life will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. It will be open to the public.
In lieu of flowers, the Connors family has asked that donations be made to local food banks or homeless shelters, in memory of Stompin’ Tom.
Stompin Tom on the Conan O’brian show.
The good old hockey game.
He will be truly missed.
He was a living legend, saw Canada the way everyone should, by using his thumb. What a great man, I own several of his LP’s on the book case beside me.
We also lost Alvin Lee today. I saw him play one of their last shows in the Boston Garden in the late 70s. He was amazing.
Well Done Canuks Eastwood is doing a movie about Stompin Tom