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Gord Downie Biography,Career,Collaborations and Personal Life

About Gord Downie

Gordon Edgar “Gord” Downie CM is a Canadian rock musician, writer, and occasional actor,born 6 February 1964. He is the lead singer and lyricist for the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip. Gordon Downie (known widely as Gord Downie) grew up in a suburb of Kingston, Ontario, where he befriended the musicians who would become The Tragically Hip while attending the downtown Kingston high school Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute. 

Gord Downie Career

Downie formed the Tragically Hip with Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Davis Manning, and Gord Sinclair in 1983. Saxophone player Davis Manning left the band and guitarist Paul Langlois joined in 1986. Originally, the band started off playing cover songs in bars and quickly became famous once MCA Records president Bruce Dickinson saw them performing at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto and offered them a record deal. This much-loved Canadian band has won over many fans through the incorporation of Downie’s stories and myths about life in Canada in his songs, and his wild antics and rantings on stage.Downie diverted from the band and started his solo career with the release of his album Coke Machine Glow in 2001. Along with this release he published his first poetry and prose book named after his solo album. He went on to create a second solo album, Battle of the Nudes, in 2003. After making three more albums with the Tragically Hip, he made The Grand Bounce in 2010, which is credited to Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles. His backing band on all of those albums consisted of the indie rock band The Dinner Is Ruined, along with Josh Finlayson of Skydiggers and singer-songwriter Julie Doiron, although they were credited as The Goddamned Band on Coke Machine Glow and as Country of Miracles on the later two albums. The Grand Bounce also included Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla in the production.

Gord Downie Collaborations

Downie has collaborated with fellow Canadian and international artists. His most famous Canadian collaborations are with Richard Terfry , Dallas Green of City and Colour and Alexisonfire, the Sadies and Fucked Up. These collaborations do not include the musicians who have helped Downie to create his solo albums.

Terfry collaborated with Downie on the song Whispers of the Waves off the album 20 Odd Years. Terfry composed the track and with the help of Charles Austen, his co-writer, decided Downie’s vocals would be the best fit for their song. In his solo project City and Colour, Green had Downie sing on the track Sleeping Sickness off City and Colour’s hit album Bring Me Your Love. The album debuted at number 11 of the Top Heatseekers chart in March 2008.

In 2014, Downie released an album with the Sadies called And the Conquering Sun. He commented on working with the Sadies, saying, “I enjoy getting together with those guys; it’s a whole other universe. They’re writing all the music and I’m writing all the lyrics and we’re coming up with some neat stuff. You do it for the company but I’m genuinely shocked by the themes and things you touch based on the music you’re singing to. That’s really compelling to me.” The album consists of ten songs.

Gord Downie Philanthropy

Downie and his brother Mike, along with the Wenjack family, announced the founding of The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples ,on 13 October 2016. The Fund is a part of Downie’s legacy and commitment to Canada’s First Peoples.Chanie Wenjack is a young boy who died trying to escape a residential school,who is at the centre of Downie’s Secret Path project. The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund operates out of the Toronto Foundation.

Gord Downie Photo

Gord Downie Photo

At the Assembly of First Nations in Gatineau, Quebec on 6 December 2016, National Chief Perry Bellegarde honoured Downie with an eagle feather, a symbol of the creator above, for his support of the indigenous peoples of Canada. Bellegarde also bestowed on Downie an honorary aboriginal name, Wicapi Omani, which is Lakota for “man who walks among the stars.” Downie was appointed to the Order of Canada on June 21, 2017 in recognition of leadership in Indigenous issues.

Gord Downie Personal life

Downie was married to Laura Leigh Usher, herself a cancer survivor. They have four children. Downie and Usher separated sometime before Downie’s cancer diagnosis. On June 15, 2017, it was announced that Downie, along with the other members of The Tragically Hip, would be appointed to the Order of Canada for “their contribution to Canadian music and for their support of various social and environmental causes.

Gord Downie Video