March 07, 2013

RIP Stompin' Tom Connors

An icon of the Canadian music industry, Stompin' Tom Connors passed away yesterday at the age of 77.  The tributes are pouring in.  He was always a favourite of our family's and will be greatly missed.  There will never be another like him.  He recorded an amazing 61 albums.  Ten of which have yet to be released.


He was born Thomas Charles Connors in Saint John, New Brunswick on February 9, 1936.  He was separated from his Mom at a young age and was raised by foster parents in Skinners Pond until he was 13 years old. His life began in poverty, living in an orphanage and then hitchhiking around the country and playing his music in bars.  He became Stompin' Tom when Boyd MacDonald (a friend of my parents) introduced him to the audience at the old King George Hotel here in Peterborough.  He would keep time to the music by stompin' on an old piece of plywood with his boot.  I can remember my brother, washing dishes after dinner and stompin' his foot while singing "Bud the Spud" or "Sudbury Saturday Night" at the top of his lungs.  Tom's legend grew into one of hit songs that struck a chord with their true Canadian vibe and he performed to sold out crowds at national concert tours.  He was beloved.


There was an announcement of his passing at the Leafs and Sens game last night during the third period when they played "The Hockey Song", probably his most popular song.


Tom knew the end was near and left us a letter on his website,


"Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom."

"It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it's 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."

Sincerely,
Your Friend always,
Stompin' Tom Connors


My favourite Stompin" Tom song was always The Ketchup Song.




There will be a memorial service for Tom held at the Peterborough Memorial Centre (our local hockey arena) on Wednesday March 13th.  I'm hoping the line-ups aren't too long and that Mom and I can get in.  The family has asked for donations to the food bank or homeless shelters in lieu of flowers.  A great Canadian, may he rest in peace.

Julie

11 comments:

  1. Great remembrance! Thanks!

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to Stompin' Tom, Julie. Thank you for taking time to post about his life here at your blog. He was one in a million and will be greatly missed. He was true Canadian.

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  3. Wonderful Tribute to a wonderful Canadian, Tom's stomping in heaven now....Francine.

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  4. That is a lovely tribute to one of our true Canadian artists.

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  5. He was an amazing Canadian...one I am proud to know lived in the same country as us. There are many bits and pieces of his songs in my head.

    Stompin Tom, we will miss you.

    Jen

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  6. Hi Julie,
    My grandfathers’ name was Boyde MacDonald, I suspect he is the Boyde MacDonald you speak of. To my knowledge he was working at bars in Peterborough around that same time. I had heard stories in the past from family that he was associated with Stompin’ Tom and since his passing I have come across this story on the internet. I am hoping you could provide me with more information about my grandfather, to be sure that it is indeed him. Perhaps your parents remember him speaking of his family or where was from. My grandfather was knows as the life of the party and loved country music. He died in May of 1968. I am looking forward to your reply
    Thank you,
    Robynne MacDonald

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    1. Hi Julie, I noticed I put an "e" on the end of Boyd, sorry, my mistake.

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  7. Ho Robynne - I'm not sure. Just spoke to my Mom and she didn't think Boyd died that young. However, If it's your grandfather, then your Grandmother's name was Shirley. Boyd worked full-time during the day for my father at Superior Propane and worked in the bars around Peterborough at night to bring in extra money for the family. He worked as a waiter and a singer and Shirley sang too. I believe we have a couple of pictures of Boyd. One where he was at a party in our recroom and playing the guitar. Mom believes there is another one somewhere where he was goofing around and wearing my winter hat. He was always the life of the party. I remember him as a very young child playing the guitar at a party. She believes his oldest son's name was Darryl and he had a son named Larry who played in the Band "Montana Sky". Let me know if this helps and if you'd like copies of the pictures if I can track them down. J

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  8. Hi Robynne - Boyd came from down east and Mom says if he is the right person, we could get in touch with some of the Superior Propane people to get you more information. J

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  9. Hi Julie, unfortunately your information does not match mine. Thank you very much for your quick response and time.

    Robynne

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  10. That's too bad Robynne. Good luck in your search. J

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