Sad Goodbyes

It’s been a real roller-coaster of emotions this year with the sad news in the Rock ‘N’ Roll World. Closer to home was the passing of Kenny Shields.

We were fortunate to be asked to participate in a tribute to Kenny that featured the original members of Streetheart … Paul Dean, Matt Frenette and Spider of Loverboy, Honeymoon Suite, The Pumps and ourselves. It was awesome!

The setting was Shaw Park (a baseball park) right in the centre of downtown Winnipeg.

I was given the honour of singing “Under My Thumb” with Spider, Matt, Paul and the incomparable Daryl Gutheil! It was the thrill of a lifetime to share the stage with these icons of Canadian Rock.

Paul McNair did a few Streetheart tunes too and represented us very nicely!

Earlier in the year we lost Greg Allman, one of the most soulful voices of all time; his original drummer, Butch Trucks, left us too.

Chuck Berry … where would rock ‘n’ roll be without him?

Clyde Stubblefield, who kicked James Brown’s ass all over that stage wit ‘dem funky beats!

Walter Becker … half of Steely Dan!

I can’t tell you what I would have given to be in that band, but had I … I would have been unable to breed!

Al Jarreau … some of you may not know who he was, but he was an incredible jazz singer. I met him early in my career when he saw me play in Minneapolis … and he gave me a thumbs up. I was flabbergasted.

Chris Cornell … way too early to exit!! OMG!

I will never forget the day Tom Petty died.

Maybe it was because it was the same day all those people perished in Vegas at a country western concert but I walked around in a stupor the entire day and … I will have to admit … I shed a lot of tears!

Tom was an exceptional songwriter! The proof … he was in a band with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and the rarely mentioned Jim Keltner. Maybe you’ve never heard Jim’s name before but you have definitely heard him play many, many times!! Google him because the list of hit songs he played on is far too long to mention in this piece!

Tom was a real craftsman and always managed to make songwriting sound so simple. He always got to the point in an ergonomic way with the perfect words, beautiful melodies and chord structures that just seemed to fall into place effortlessly!

I’m not fooling myself though … I know he likely worked long hours on every little detail … and you can hear it!

If you’ve ever heard his interviews … they were all as good as his songs.

He had opinions and always stood up to be counted on all things that mattered to him!

God love him!

George

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2 Comments

  1. Well said George…., I’m still in shock
    Over Bowie, Waylon and a few others we lost over the years, but the last two years seem to remind us, we are all growing old, and no Matter who you are, someone will miss you. Now with Gord’s passing, we knew time will be done…. As we grow old, friends, family, musicians, actors…. Are all starting to vade away, and in time, the next generation of fans and idols, will demense as well, Let their music and talents live on forever. Streetheart snd Kenny( whom i met many times at shows) was my favorite band, got me through some trying times. Peace my friend.

  2. Well written George. It has indeed been a year filled with sorrow, yet I can’t help but embrace it….the sadness is an indicator that each person lost meant something to me–touched my life, my heart. For me, the big one was Kenny. Growing up in Saskatchewan and hitting 16 in ’79, Streetheart was my influence, my heart, the soundtrack of my trek from adolescence to young adulthood. And I was fortunate enough to Know Kenny, who was truly a kind hearted man. All of you Canadian rockers shaped my musical taste…Harlequin, Loverboy, Trooper, Headpins, Prism….each concert, each album, in my heart and soul forever. I love you all, and the music you share, the memories kept.