Stan Rogers Biography

Stanley Allison Rogers, 29 November 1949, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, d. 2 June 1983, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Singer-songwriter Rogers began as a bass player in pick-up rock outfits in his native Hamilton, before becoming possibly Canada’s finest ever folk singer-songwriter. In 1969, he turned professional and, the following year, released two singles (‘Here’s To You, Santa Claus’, ‘The Fat Girl Rag’) for RCA Records. Rogers released his self-titled debut album in 1971 before signing an abortive recording contract with Vanguard Records. Three further singles for PolyGram Records between 1973 and 1974 preceded a period of playing the coffee house circuit with his brother Garnet Rogers (violin/flute/vocals/guitar). His first independent album, Fogarty’s Cove, was released in 1976 on the short-lived Barn Swallow Records label. The follow-up was financed by Rogers’ mother and released on the singer’s own Fogarty’s Cove Music label. Rogers went on to release a series of acclaimed independent releases, in addition to the traditional acoustic folk set For The Family. Writing for films and television, and having toured a number of countries, Rogers was poised for international success but died of smoke inhalation in an airplane fire in June 1983 while travelling home from the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.

Rogers’ low-register voice exuded a warm sensitive sound, the perfect complement to his quasi-mystical lyrics which explored contemporary and historical Canada in a series of breathtaking song cycles. He is best remembered for songs such as ‘Northwest Passage’, ‘Lock-keeper’ and ‘The Mary Ellen Carter’. In 1976, he had composed ‘Forty-Five Years’ for his wife Ariel, and in fulfilment of his wishes, his ashes were scattered in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, the place where he had written the song. He was posthumously awarded the Diplome d’Honneur by the Canadian Conference of the Arts.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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