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Good bye to a great Canadian

Posted by Don McLenaghen on March 13, 2013

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Well, as our listeners know CiTR is primarily a music station and our show has little to do with music; however occasionally though the paths of talk and music radio cross. I would like to take a moment and say good bye to a great icon of Canada. Most people heard the sad news that Stompin Tom Connors died last week.

Stompin Tom was always very proud of his Canadian identity, which could be heard in his songs about this country: Canada Day, Up Canada Way, The Hockey Song, Bud the Spud, and Sudbury Saturday Night. If it was not about Canada, his songs were almost always placed in Canada or about Canadians. He should be seen as the poet laureate of Canada.

He said in an interview in 2008 when he was 72 years old:

“I don’t know why I seem to be the only one, or almost the only one, writing about this country. 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.”

He lived and worked in Canada and was offended by what he called “border jumpers”, those people who were awarded Canadian awards but who were based and worked outside Canada. In 1976 he famously returned all his Juno Awards in protest stating:

“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”

Although famous by Canadian standards, he never lost his oneness with his fellow Canadians,  he was often known to, after a show, talk to his fans…especially if they bought him a beer…he would make sure anyone who wanted an autograph, got one. He came from real people, he was one of them and he never forgot that.

Connors said in the 2008 interview:

 “I do it for my country and I do it for my countrymen and that’s the only value that I really have. If there was no money in this, I’d be doing it anyway. I’ve always been that way. Because it’s what I am.”

It is truly a sad week for Canadians ever where. So long Stompin’ Tom, you will be missed but not forgotten.

State Funeral for Stompin’ Tom Connors

How Stompin’ Tom planned his own public memorial

Stompin’ Tom Connors

Official Site – StompinTom.com

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