To celebrate the life and legacy of Stompin' Tom Connors, we're spinning 'Sudbury Saturday Night' off his 1967 debut LP, 'The Northlands' Own Tom Connors'. It is one of his most famous songs, celebrating the lifestyle of rock miners in the Northern Ontario city.
Tom's career spanned more than three hundred songs, four dozen albums and more than four million records sold. His strong sense of patriotism was strongly rooted in his life experience.
It was a long road from his beginnings in Saint John, New Brunswick, where was raised by foster parents. At age thirteen, he decided to hitch hike across Canada.
Over a decade later, travelling between part-time jobs with a guitar strapped to his back, he found himself at the Maple Leaf Hotel bar in Timmins, one nickel short of a beer. The bartender agreed to match his tab if Tom performed a few songs.
One beer turned into a 13-month contract at the hotel, a weekly spot on CKGB radio and eight 45-RPM recordings. His music earned him six Juno awards, which he famously returned as a protest against the Americanization of the Canadian Music Industry.
He later declined induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, but embraced the Order of Canada in 1996 and approved a postage stamp with his face on it.
The performance above is just one piece of his doc 'Across This Land' that featured his entire show at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern one night in 1973. Watch the entire set below:
For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or re-listen, all of the episodes are archived right here.