On March 6th I was in my seat during the first period of the Flames v. Sharks game – when the song that usually we sing along to sometime during the 3rd period came early. First we heard the news though that we had lost a great Canadian Icon, a music legend and relentless Canadian Musician and patriot. “The Hockey Song” has filled the hearts of young and old with joy and rinks far and wide across the nation and beyond for years. One of the delights at every game I attend is not only singing the song along with 15,000+ of my closest friends but seeing the happy faces and dancing children, young and old and in between gleefully participating in “The Hockey Song”. RIP Stompin’ Tom Connors.
Here are some of my personal notes on Stompin’ Tom and his music as I played it during my radio career, a reflection of decades of music that is always part of the soundtrack of my life.
I certainly had some sadness when I heard the news, I remember his music since I was a kid when he had a TV show on CBC television featuring his music and travels.
I asked for a few words from Kyle Huckins to include in this blog regarding the passing of Stompin’ Tom. This is from an American’s perspective that I felt would be worthy of inclusion. Back in the ’90s Kyle and I worked together at a radio station in Houston, Texas where I introduced some of the listeners to his music. Kyle Huckins, is a Journalism Professor in Indiana and has spent many years in broadcasting and print throughout his career and we still periodically reminisce about our mutual respect for the music of Mr. Tom Connors.
“Stompin’ Tom is what every singer should be: talented in voice, able to write, willing to laugh at self and proud of his country. He could write a catchy line that would stick with a listener for years as well as croon it in inimitable style. His musical comedy is classic – there’s just no one quite as uniquely gifted. And, even as an American, I think Tom’s love for Canada is beautiful, so much so that “Ca – na – da” from “Cross Canada” bubbles up in my mind every couple of days. God bless you, Tom – we’re going to miss you in the States as well as in your beloved Dominion of Canada.” – Kyle Huckins
One of my first radio jobs while I was a broadcasting student at Humber College in Toronto was (at the time) Canada’s top country station – I had the music director listen to a sample tape of my show and get an idea what he thought of my music choices — and I’m sure its something Tom faced a lot during his recording years from the mainstream country stations in the large markets – he said “Tina, its fine, just DON’T PLAY STOMPIN’ TOM” …. I was so glad when I was at KPFT I was able to 🙂 and since there weren’t any places I knew of that the listeners could get the music I called his management team and they gave me a phone number so listeners could get his music. This resulted in me later getting phone calls from his manager/promotion guy saying “Tina, what are you doing, you’re making a hit of Tom in Texas” LOL I just laughed, and thanked him for letting me know. He also passed on to me that Tom “appreciated what you are doing”, they were getting quite a few calls from Houston from me playing his music at KPFT in Houston .at the time his album “Long Gone from the Yukon was released. – I did get a lot of calls when I played him on the air 1 in 10 was negative .. it would be “what the *@$# is that? If that’s Canadian music you can take it back with you!” hahahahaha I would just laugh because it was way in the minority but either way Stompin’ Tom generated a lot of emotion and response from the listener.
One guy phoned me and said “I was driving around downtown Houston, and saw someone in a Potato truck, and wanted to ask if his name was Bud!” haha bet a lot of potato truck drivers have been known as Bud over the years because of Stompin’ Tom’s Bud the Spud.
I was on the air in Lafayette, Louisiana and got a call at the station from some folks driving along I-10 and said they couldn’t believe it that they were hearing Stompin’ Tom in Louisiana 🙂
Anyway I never had a chance to see him perform, one of my favourite songs is To It and At It … and I use that phrase when I need to get something done, lol makes sense, you just got to get To It and At it !
Is there a spot for Stompin’ Tom in the Hockey Hall of Fame?
This is the most recent discussion – a plaque maybe, he did perform at NHL events with his hockey song, and maybe something can be placed there – Here is a piece from the CALGARY HERALD on the topic.