Stompin’ Tom Conners

7 03 2013

Yesterday, Canada lost a legend and a musical icon with the death of Stompin’ Tom Conners. While not a gigantic commercial success, his songs were part of the soundtrack of Canada. Perhaps his most famous song is one of the two unofficial anthems of hockey in Canada, appropriately named The Hockey Song. Most Canadians can quote some lyric or another from one of Stompin’ Tom’s songs, but he never really sought big-time fame.

Stompin’ Tom was fiercely Canadian, having never tried to gain fame or fortune outside our own borders. He derided other artists that were “border jumpers”, bands and musicians that left the country (primarily for the United States) to gain a wider audience and greater commercial success. He strongly believed that Canadian artists should stay in, and sing about, Canada.

While it could be argued that his views were rather narrow and lacked vision, what can’t be questioned are his convictions. He loved Canada, and his songs reflect that deep and abiding love of country. His songs and music were about the entire country. He wasn’t focused on any particular region, and sang about every part of Canada. He was born in New Brunswick, lived for a time in PEI, but dressed like he grew up in Western Canada. He sang about ordinary people, sometimes in extraordinary situations. His words and music were plain, straightforward and accessible to everyone. He didn’t try to experiment, set trends or “push the boundaries”. He sang great, simple songs that told great stories.

Of all of his songs, my favourite is The Hockey Song. Played at least once during every NHL game in Canada (I’m sure. I hear it at least once every time I’m at the Saddledome to watch the Flames), it is one of the two anthems for hockey in Canada. For the curious, the other is Dolores Claman’s The Hockey Theme. Stompin’ Tom’s song is a timeless story about hockey. It encapsulates everything that makes hockey a great sport: the speed, the excitement, the roar of the fans. In 3 verses, he managed to capture the essence and spirit of hockey, and what it means to Canadians.

We will miss Stompin’ Tom Conners. A Canadian’s best tribute to him is to continue to listen to his music, enjoy it, and think of home.




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