Canada loses Stompin’ Tom Connors

Stompin’ Tom Connors. Photo: Youtube video still

Canadian country-folk icon Stompin’ Tom Connors has died at age 77.

Not being from Canada myself, I share this news as a cultural literacy supplement.

Was he the Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger of Canada? Well, no and yes. Connors isn’t associated with the same degree of social activism. But in terms of songs and popularity – as a regular guy who traveled Canada and knew what he sang about – I’d say he deserves that comparison.

Connors was best known for ditties like “The Hockey Song“, “Bud the Spud“,  Canada Day, Up Canada Way“, and “Sudbury Saturday Night“. Simple, singable tunes that celebrate Canada and being Canadian.

Canada is home to deep, broad musical talent. But Connors felt too many musicians here look outward and elsewhere. In this obituary for the Canadian Press Nick Patch and Diana Mehta included Connors’ views on that subject:

“I don’t know why I seem to be the only one, or almost the only one, writing about this country,” Connors said in a rare one-on-one interview at his home in Halton Hills, Ont., in 2008.

“It just amazes me that I’ve been going so long I would think that somebody else (would have) picked up the torch a long time ago and started writing tons of songs about this country. This country is the most underwritten country in the world as far as songs are concerned. We starve, the people in this country are starving for songs about their homeland.”

It’s a good article for getting a sense of the man, how he approached music and why Canada mourns his loss. This Wikipedia bio includes a discography. You can hear CBC’s “Q with Jian Ghomeshi” pay tribute to Connors here.

Are you familiar with Stompin’ Tom songs? Which are your favorites?

Here’s Stompin’ Tom performing “Sudbury Saturday Night.”

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6 Comments on “Canada loses Stompin’ Tom Connors”

  1. shovel says:

    I didn’t know of Stompin’ Tom, but your post brings to mind another Canadian singer/songwriter who wrote many songs about Canada: Stan Rogers. His songs were portraits of the country and of the people, heartfelt and sharp. Sadly, he died quite young in a plane accident.

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  2. jillvaughan says:

    loved him- unique. He will be missed- his kind of music, and his perspective, no longer exists as far as I know. Fascinating story- foster care, abuse, poverty- and music.

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  3. dave says:

    This makes me sad. But also brings back lots of good memories of listening to the Hockey Song while playing and going to games.

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  4. John says:

    I rember seeing a play about him at the 1000 Islands Playhouse where some of his songs and opinions attributed to him seemed to ruffle the feathers of quite a few Americans in the audience. I imagine he might have enjoyed that if he had known.

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  5. Dick Cooke says:

    Living on the American side of the border, we receive the Montreal radio and tv stations, and I have seen specials that Tom did, and heard him many times on the radio. He carried a long block of hardwood that had a notch carved in it, and it fit his boot to keep rhythm to his music, so that’s why he was stompin Tom He was a good entertainer.

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  6. Sylvia says:

    I have seen Stompin’ Tom in concerts and never saw a notch carved in his plywood. I knew him personally
    and he was a great entertainer and true friend. He wore the holes in his plywood, and it was plywood.
    He will be missed.
    A proud Canadian as Tom was.

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