Reuters

"Stompin' Tom" sang about the life of a streetcar driver, hauling a load of potatoes from Prince Edward Island.

Canadian country folk singer Tom Connors passed away yesterday. He was 77.

Connors was fiercely proud of his country, and seen by many as a cultural icon. He frequently used his music to tell stories about life in Canada, including tunes like "Ketchup Song," inspired by a policeman who asked him to write "a nice lovable song about our nice lovable town of Leamington" while he was hitchhiking through it.

His audience was limited mostly to the boundaries of his home country thank to his Canada-centric lyrics. Stompin’ Tom Connors’ voice rarely traveled into the United States besides at the occasional NHL game.

One of his more famous tunes, "Bud the Spud," was about a speeding trucker hauling a load of potatoes from Prince Edward Island back to his food terminal in Toronto.

As seen above in the 1973 concert film "Across this Land with Stompin Tom Connors," he took his songwriting into unusual territory for country music singers. He covered public transportation, penning the like of "TTC Skidaddler," about the life of a streetcar driver in Toronto:

Don't forget your ticket when I open up the door-
Kindly make your way along the aisle
I'll drive ya down to work and I'll safely bring ya back
And I'll try to render service with a smile
I'm a TTC skidaddler...
I been a street car driver now about eleven years
And I know the old Toronto city well
There's a whole lot of people who wait along the track.
For the signal from my clangin’ trolley bell.

According to his obituary in the Global Winnipeg, Connors once said:

I'm a man of the land, I go out into the country and I talk to people and I know the jobs they do and how they feel about their jobs. And I've been doing that all my life so I know Canada like the palm of my hand. I don't need a map to go anywhere in Canada, I know it all.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    Britain's Next Megaproject: A Coast-to-Coast Forest

    The plan is for 50 million new trees to repopulate one of the least wooded parts of the country—and offer a natural escape from several cities in the north.

  2. A small accessory dwelling unit—known as an ADU—is attached to an older single-family home in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood.
    Design

    The Granny Flats Are Coming

    A new book argues that the U.S. is about to see more accessory dwelling units and guides homeowners on how to design and build them.

  3. Design

    These Sneakers Are Your Free Transit Pass

    A new BVG-Adidas collaboration means unlimited travel along Berlin’s public transit network for the rest of 2018. That is if you can find a pair.

  4. Police cars outside the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City
    Life

    The Great Crime Decline and the Comeback of Cities

    Patrick Sharkey, author of Uneasy Peace, talks to CityLab about how the drop in crime has transformed American cities.

  5. Two different Eiffel Towers rise above manicured lawns. The one on the left is an image from Tianducheng, a city in China, and the one on the right is an image from Paris.
    Photos

    Which One Is Paris?

    Francois Prost’s new photo series looks at Tianducheng, a town built to look exactly like the City of Lights.