HOME · HISTORY · AROUND TOWN · INFO BOOTH · FUN STUFF · NEW BRUNSWICK

Saint John, New Brunswick


FAMOUS FOLK
STOMPIN' TOM CONNORS

Stompin Tom Connors
Stompin' Tom Connors - Charles Thomas Connors
Born - February 9th, 1936 Saint John, New Brunswick



   I was introduced to Tom's music when I was quite young, I remember watching TV on a rainy afternoon and seeing this tall skinny man with a black hat and a red shirt, stomping his foot as he sang a bunch of twangy songs. The room was dimly lite and full of drinkin', smokin' working class people. They all laughed and sang with Tom as he went on to play his songs, while taking some time to chat with the people that admired him. I remember being amazed how his twangy voice twanged when he sang his songs. I now own that concert of his at the Horseshoe Tavern "Across the Land, with Stompin' Tom Connors" and what a great video it is!

   There is not one Canadian in Canada who doesn't know him. They know Tom because of the songs that he has written, either about their city or town. He sings about the beauty of Canada that he lives in. He sings about his home land, the land that he loves. He is called by the people of this land as Stompin' Tom, the Canadian Legend? Over the years Tom's life has been documented and now with the release of his very own book "Before The Fame", we now have the definitive story from Tom. In 1967 it was then that Tom Connors had been given the nick name of Stompin' from someone who shouted it at him as he played a show in Peterborough, Ontario.

   The man has written more than 300 songs, his 40 albums have sold more than 3 million copies, and his autobiography recently soared high up the best-sellers list. He has been the subject of at least one master's thesis, been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law degree, received a citation from Queen Elisabeth as well as the prestigious Order of Canada. He even got married live on national television. But chances are you have never heard of, much less heard, Stompin' Tom if you Stompin' Tom Connorslive outside of Canada. For the man has never performed outside of Canada and has never had a single record released outside of Canada in his so some-odd-year career. You see, after winning an unprecedented six consecutive "Canadian Grammys" as Male Country Singer of the year, Stompin' Tom defiantly returned all these Juno Awards in 1978 as a protest against "Border Jumpers": Canadian artists who no longer live and rarely perform in their home an native land. Soon afterwards, at the peak of his initial stardom, he enacted -by himself- a one year live performance boycott to further draw attention to Canada's mistreatment of its native artists. Interestingly, this fervent, stubborn nationalism didn't help Connors own career at home, as he inexplicably has yet to place a solitary song on a Canadian country music chart ("They told me in 1964 that I didn't fit the format, they told me that in 1974, in 1984, they told me that again." Tom says. "I guess the format hasn't changed that much!" That Stompin' Tom has not only survived but actually thrived under such adverse conditions (by the way, that one-year boycott? It lasted 10) is a testament not only to the man's abundance of talent, but his self-described "to-it-and-at-it-iveness."

   Everyone of his songs stick in your head and I'm sure you haven't never sang one of them without noticing. His song (THE HOCKEY Tom with Lester B. PersonSONG) is played at least once at ever NHL hockey game that is played here in Canada. His music does something to your body, and what it does is that it makes your foot stomp, and your hands clap as you sing along with him. He has been honored by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, and lately he's been given a medal by Canada as one of the most recognized Canadians, and for his dedication to the land that he calls home. Recently he was asked to sing his "Hockey Song" at the last hockey game to be played in the Maple Leaf Gardens, which to most of the viewers was a touching moment as he did so, with such great emotion.

   Well, really I don't know that much about Tom's personal life, that is why I went out and bought his Autobiography. The Book came out October, 1997 and it is the one at the top right of this page "Stompin' Tom, Before the Fame" via Penguin Books Canada. The book was written by Tom in his own words, and the book is only about the first thirty-one years of his life, he goes from Rebel Records to Boot Records, up in till he reached his fame.

   I'm not gonna tell you everything about him that I know so far, because that would ruin half the book for you. But I will tell you what the book is about to give you a vague idea what you're in for by reading it. The book has a total of 532 pages as well as some pictures and they are all about Tom, before the fame. (rumor has it Tom is in the works on his second novel about his life with the fame.) Tom tells the real story of his life, born to an unwed teenager in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1936. His father unknown at the time, but had known a couple of men, that were his mothers boyfriends to be his Young Tomacting father at the time. He was even hitchhiking with his mother at the age of three, to begging on the streets. He had a few close to death situations happen in his life time, which had turned out for the best that he survived. He traveled to two different orphanages and a foster home. As a child he was nothing more than a yo-yo, he never knew what the next day held out for him. Not even being able to make friends, that he could play with, as of never living in the same place for to long. His life was not at all easy as like with most kids these days, which makes this book emotional as well as fun to read. He then was taken (or bought!) by a family (foster home) located in Skinners Pond in which he was mainly there to work and only work. He seemed to get along with the man, but with the wife of the house he just bumped heads with. The only way that he would get any kind of sense of love from her was to acted like he had a stuttering problem in order for her to sympathize with him. This was no way for a child to grow up, so he ran away, then he was caught by the mounties and brought back home. Again and again he continued to attempt to run away either with a friend that he would con into the adventure or just by himself. Till he finally got away and never returned till many years later, and he still doesn't like going back to that area due to having bad memories of his earlier years there. Tom hitch hicked for many years going back and forth to places all over Canada, and met many different friendly and non-friendly people in his journeys. One of his main nightly shelters was a jail cell, not that he was put there for miss behaving but because he knew that the police would put him up for the night and he would be free to leave the very next morning. The other alternatives for shelters at night were either the Sally Anne (Salvation Army, which the doors closed at 7:00 so you had to be there early in order to get a spot!) or just the good ole' out doors, which at times were the opposite of being good!

   During the East Coast Music Awards that where held February 9th, '98. Stompin' Tom had received 'red carpet' welcome from the people there. He also was on the front covers of the daily papers every day that he was staying there. The event connected with Tom as he was honoured at the Premier Catherine Callbeck's Reception at the Confederation Centre for the Arts and Culture. It marked the opening of the 1996 ECMA's the year where Toms wish to rededicate his 1993 Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award to the unsung heroes of the Maritime Music Industry would be granted. Tom was quoted at saying: "If I could, I would like to ask the people that are responsible for the East Coast Music Awards if they would keep this award, probably in the main office. And for all the folks out there who quit the business a long time ago, I ask for them to write in and let thStreet named after Tome people know the work they have done, their recordings and the bands they were in. I would like that list to go along with this award."

   August 2nd, 1999 was a big day for Tom, especially on the day after his "Welcome home Stompin' Tom" concert in Tignish P.E.I., Tom was presented with a street named after him in front of his Skinners Pond School House which acts as a Stompin' Tom museum. Tom had the honour of unveiling the new street sign that now bares his name: "Stompin' Tom Rd." The day was packed with over 500 people, as well as TV camera crews, reporters. After all the pictures where taken Tom took a drink of beer, and headed off towards the School house to sign autographs for all the fans that were attending the big event.

   The above article is an excerpt taken from a web site by one of Tom's biggest fans, Mike Dunlop. Mike is a 23 year old who lives just outside Toronto, Ontario. In Mikes own words "He, to me is a true Canadian artist!" If you would like to see more of Mike site dedicated to this famous Canadian, be sure to check out his web site at: http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/Opry/4014

   Tom Connors was so impressed with Mike's efforts that he has now ask Mike to do Tom's official site. You can reach it by clicking on the banner below.

Stompin' Tom Connors

   All images of Stompin' Tom Connors on this page are owned by Mike Dunlop and copying is strictly prohibited. WebWise has written permission from Mike to use them on this page.

BACK

HOME · HISTORY · AROUND TOWN · INFO BOOTH · FUN STUFF · NEW BRUNSWICK