Yesterday, Stompin’ Tom Connors died at 77 years old. To a lot of people, he was a patriotic pioneer, a good ol' boy in the best sense who believed in honouring hard-working musicians and artists who were often overlooked by virtue of being Canadian.
Some considered him a novelty act and are baffled by the eulogizing of the guy who wrote "The Hockey Song." But the majority of the country feels like they lost an icon, a peer, a grandpa or a friend.
No matter which side of the puck drop you fall on, CBC Music has collected five things you may not know to help better shape your memory of this legendary man.
For the people asking, 'Why is Canada in collective mourning?'
1. Stompin’ Tom got his name thanks to his size-12 boot and an absence of amplification, making him pound out the rhythm of his songs on the floorboards.
2. Though he wasn’t born there, his memorial is in Peterborough, in part because that’s where he first earned the moniker “Stompin’.”
3. He married his wife, Lena, in 1973 on the CBC TV program, Luncheon Date.
4. After winning a number of Juno Awards from 1970–1975, Connors returned all of them in 1978, protesting the awards given to Canadians who had left the country to find mainstream success.
5. Fiercely patriotic, he allegedly never performed outside of Canada.
For the people mourning a national icon
1. Connors was born to an unwed teenage mother and spent some of his childhood with her in a low-security penitentiary before being taken away by Children’s Aid Society.
2. Connors had a TV series on CBC in 1974 called Stompin Tom’s Canada, which ran for 26 episodes.
3. At the 1996 East Coast Music Awards, Connors asked to re-dedicate his 1993 Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award to the “unsung heroes of the Maritime music industry.”
4. When Late Night With Conan O’Brien taped episodes in Canada in 2004, Connors performed and led the audience in a sing-along of “The Hockey Song.”
5. Though prolific barely begins to describe Connors’s songwriting output, fans can expect an onslaught of posthumous material: he allegedly has 10 albums recorded and yet to be released.
Follow Andrea Warner on Twitter: @_AndreaWarner
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on Mar 07, 2013