The original bass player for Gordon Lightfoot, a member of the legendary trio of Lightfoot and guitarist Red Shea, passed away on Monday, August 20th, 2012 of natural causes. He was 69.
A self-taught musician who received further training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, John began his musical journey at a young age, touring extensively throughout Europe and North America. One of his earliest European tours was as the bassist for Tommy Danton and the Echoes. For a number of years in the early 60s, he performed for the daily CBC Music Hop show hosted by Alex Trebec, and the CTV television music show After Four.
The most memorable period of his distinguished musical career began in 1965 as the bassist for Gordon Lightfoot during the renowned United Artists years. John was an influential force in music during the numerous concert tours and recording sessions completed in Nashville and New York. The Guess Who paid tribute to John by naming him in their song Lightfoot.
He will always be remembered for the familiar bass playing on Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot's most successful U.S. single which topped the charts at number one in 1974.
In 1969 , John moved to New York where he lived, recorded, and performed with the late Jim Croce. This included appearances on both the Mike Douglas Show and the Today Show at the outset of Croce's career.
Upon his return to Toronto in the early 70s, John continued his music as the bassist for Dan Hill on his first RCA recording sessions and for Tommy Hunter, performing on both the Canadian and European tours, as well as on the Tommy Hunter television and radio show on CBC.
Over the years he has played with local artists such as Ron Nigrini, and legendary artists such as Gene MacLellan, Mel Torme and Cab Calloway.
He continued throughout his career as musical director and consultant for numerous television and radio productions. He was also involved in music publishing in Nashville, Tennessee.
John is survived by his four children Sheri, John, Jennifer and Will, and grandchildren Marlee, Travis, Nathan, and Mia, as well as surviving siblings George, Billy, Gordie and Darlene.
A private family funeral will be held on Friday, August 31st, at 11:00 am at St. Peter's Erindale Anglican Church in Mississauga.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.
Thursday August 30, 2012
© Copyright 2015 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Globe and Mail, 444 Front St. W., Toronto, ON Canada M5V 2S9
Phillip Crawley, Publisher