Thursday, October 19, 2017

RIP Gord Downie

Gord Downie, the lead singer and soul of one of the biggest bands in Canada finally succumbed to his brain cancer and passed away yesterday.

He was 53.  My age.

The Tragically Hip is Canada's version of U2, with Downie playing the role not only of Bono, but that of Dylan, Springsteen, and Jim Morrison all rolled into one.  He was musician, magician, showman, poet, and the voice of a whole damn country.  

How much did he mean?  Here's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting the press and talking about Gord:

I had the pleasure of seeing the Hip three times in my life, and was blown away by Downie's stage presence.  He was a live wire - jerking and jiving the whole night.  Likewise, he spewed out stream of consciousness jargon throughout the concert; stuff that made no sense but perfect sense at the same time.  He was a lyrical gymnast and often replaced words in his own songs - ones that still rhymed with the original, but nuanced the song all the more.  

I've loved this band since the 80's and across thirteen different albums.  I still remember when I first heard Up to Here - where I was, what the day was like - and thinking "who the hell ARE these guys?" Since then, they've been a soundtrack to my adult life.

I got the news while at lunch, sitting in my car and checking the web.  Like Trudeau, I cried.

I leave you with my favourite song (and given their library, that's saying a lot and I spelled "favourite" that way for a reason), and a performance that is classic Gord Downie.

Goodbye, Gord, and thank you.

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