Stompin’ Tom Connors dies at 77: A look back at a Canadian country icon – by Greg Quill (Toronto Star – March 7, 2013)


The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Stompin Tom Connors’ Mining Songs:

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.

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.

“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 .

“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.

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