Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why I love Stompin' Tom Connors!

It is now known by most Canadians that we just lost one of Canada’s treasured musicians Stompin’ Tom Connors. So this will not be like most tributes running through his entire history and talking about how much he will be missed (although I love reading them, I just have nothing to add). Instead I just focused on some of my favorite things about Stompin’ Tom Connors.




He owned his own record label


Tom and his manager Jury Krytiuk created Boot Records in 1971. At first it was just a place to release Stompin’ Tom’s own material. They quickly decided to evolve and started releasing other great Canadian talent under the label including Con Archers, the Emeralds and Dick Nolan.

Although these other artists releasing albums under his label, Stompin’ Tom still dominated the number of releases, having 29 albums released in the 1970’s alone.

In later years, Boot Records started a budget label called Cynda which re-released a lot of the albums originally recorded on Boot.


He returned/refused many awards

Stompin’ Tom had won six Juno awards but later returned them. He felt that the competition was not fair for Canadians as most people who were nominated and winning Juno awards were performing and releasing their material in the United States. Stompin’ Tom did not have a problem with people recording and performing in the States but he didn’t think it was fair for them to be competing with people who released and performed primarily in Canada. He felt people who worked in the States should compete for Grammys and those who worked in Canada should compete for the Juno’s. I totally agree.

In 1993 he was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the East Coast Music Awards. Instead of accepting the award, he asked them to keep it and instead give out the award to the unsung heroes in the East Coast. This turned into an annual award and is called none other than the Stompin’ Tom Award.


He had a big heart

This is actually a story known only to a few and happened to my first cousin Danny from Miramichi, NB.
Here it is in Dan’s own words:

“My Stompin Tom Connors story in a nutshell....I was 18 - first trip to Toronto - got mugged and lost everything....knew nobody - slept on a park bench - while walking aimlessly the next day, ran into the legend himself.....Stompie! - tell him my story and he takes me to eat where Dick Nolan ("Aunt Marthas Sheep", etc) is playing - buys me lunch and a pitcher of beer which they pass around when it was empty - raised enough money for me to rent a room from a nice Jamaican family (whole other story lol) RIP Stompin Tom!!!!!!!”

“follow-up dad never ever believed that story but many years later I took Dad to a Stompin Tom concert in backstage and Stompie remembered and verified my story......a great night again all around.”

He was never afraid to speak his mind

A good example of this is when CBC sent numerous requests to Stompin’ Tom to record a TV concert for the network. Stompin’ Tom finally agreed and recorded the concert; however, when he sent it to CBC they refused to air the concert saying that they would be moving away from music specials. Making it even worse CBC then asked Stompin’ Tom to perform a song for the series Hockeyville and/or be interviewed for the series Life and Times.

A classic Stompin’ Tom response followed in an open letter:

As far as I'm concerned, if the CBC, our own public network, will not reconsider their refusal to air a Stompin' Tom special, they can take their wonderful offer of letting me sing a song as a guest on some other program and shove it” –Stompin’ Tom


I have always had space in my record collection for any Stompin’ Tom. His albums get plenty of play every year at my house and always will. Stompin’ Tom was a universal music artist being that he was loved by fans of all genres of music. Whether they are metal heads, punk rockers, or jazz and blues fanatics, more often than not you can still find a Stompin’ Tom album hidden within their collection.





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