About Tom Cochrane
Thomas William Cochrane, OC OM is a Canadian musician known as the front man for the Canadian rock band Red Rider, and for his work as a solo singer-songwriter. Cochrane has won eight Juno Awards. He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, an officer of the Order of Canada, and has an honorary doctorate from Brandon University. In September 2009 he was inducted onto the Canadian Walk of Fame. Cochrane has also been recognized for his significant charitable work. Cochrane was born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba, to Violet and Tuck Cochrane, a bush pilot. The family relocated to Acton, Ontario, when Tom was four years old and later to Etobicoke, Ontario. He purchased his first guitar at age 11 by selling a toy train set. Cochrane attended Martingrove Collegiate Institute in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, Tom was performing in coffee houses across Canada. He eventually made his way to Los Angeles where he found a job writing theme music for the movie My Pleasure Is My Business, the Xaviera Hollander story. Unable to find steady income from music, Cochrane returned to Toronto, where he drove a taxi cab and later took a job on a Caribbean cruise liner.
Tom Cochrane Career
In 1978,after meeting at the El Mocambo tavern in Toronto, Cochrane joined the Canadian rock band Red Rider and served as their lead singer and main songwriter for more than ten years. Red Rider included Ken Greer, Jeff Jones, Peter Boynton and Rob Baker. Bruce Allen managed the band from their debut until 1985. Cochrane recorded six studio albums with Red Rider plus a live album, a best of album, and a box set. By 1986, the band was billed as “Tom Cochrane & Red Rider”. He would later refer to this period of his career as a stretch of “manageable success” before the release of Mad Mad World.
In 2002, Cochrane reunited with his former Red Rider bandmates Greer and Jones and continues to perform with them today. A complete listing of Red Rider’s recordings is included below. Already a household name in Canada from his time with Red Rider, Cochrane launched his solo career in 1991 with the release of the song “Life Is a Highway.” The single became a global success and was followed by the release of his Mad Mad World album, which would reach the six million mark in worldwide sales. The albums Ragged Ass Road, Songs of a Circling Spirit, X-Ray Sierra and No Stranger followed. Cochrane’s massive body of music and energetic live shows have established him as one of Canada’s most treasured artists.
Tom Cochrane Honors
Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction: Cochrane was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2003 for outstanding contribution to the greater recognition of Canadian music. The ceremony took place April 5, 2003, at Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec. The following night, Cochrane was honoured for his induction in a speech by Jeff Healey at the Juno Awards at the Corel Centre (now Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa). Cochrane closed the show by performing a medley of his hits and was joined onstage by host Shania Twain for the final song, “Life Is a Highway”.
Order of Canada: In April 2008, Cochrane received one of the highest honours for a Canadian citizen when he was invested as an officer of the Order of Canada (the level companion of the Order of Canada is the highest honour, and several people originally invested as officers have been promoted to companions for continued contributions to charity and the arts, among other fields).
Cochrane was honoured for a lifetime of charity work, his contribution to the arts and for being unabashedly Canadian.
Canada’s Walk of Fame: In September 2009, Cochrane was inducted onto Canada’s Walk of Fame. The induction was highlighted by a two-hour nationally televised gala at Toronto’s Four Season’s Center for the Performing Arts. Anne Murray hosted the event which also included the inductions of Kim Cattrall, Raymond Burr, Blue Rodeo, Dsquared2, Howie Mandel, Robert Munsch and Chantal Petitclerc.
Honorary colonel: In November 2007, Cochrane was formally invested as an honorary colonel (HCol) by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 409 “Nighthawks” Tactical Fighter Squadron. As part of his investiture weekend, Cochrane experienced his second flight in a CF-18.
Honorary doctorate: In May 2005, Cochrane received an honorary doctorate from Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba. In addition, musician James Ehnes, journalist Henry Champ and actress Shirley Douglas received honorary doctorates from the university at the spring convocation held May 28, 2005.
Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame Tom Cochrane was inducted on May 9, 2014, Gil Moore formerly of the band Triumph made the presentation.
Canadian Music Industry Humanitarian Award: In March 2005, Cochrane received the Humanitarian Award at the Canadian Music Industry Association’s (CMIA) gala dinner in Toronto during the annual Canadian Music Week Festival.
Allan Waters Humanitarian Award: In April 2013, Tom Cochrane received the award at the 2013 Juno Awards gala dinner.
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Henry H. Knowles Humanitarian Award In May 2014, Tom Cochrane received this award from OPSEU.
Order of Manitoba In July 2015 Tom Cochrane received the Order Of Manitoba.
On October 31, 2016, the provincial legislature of Manitoba announced a 322-kilometre section of PR 391 connecting Lynn Lake and Thompson would be renamed Tom Cochrane’s Life Is A Highway.
Tom, an avid golfer, pilot, and hockey buff, Cochrane currently lives in Oakville, Ontario with his wife Kathleen.
Tom Cochrane Albums
- 1974: Hang on to Your Resistance
- 1991: Mad Mad World
- 1995: Ragged Ass Road
- 1999: X-Ray Sierra
- 2006: No Stranger
- 2015: Take It Home
- 1997: Songs of a Circling Spirit
- 1979: Don’t Fight It
- 1981: As Far as Siam
- 1983: Neruda
- 1984: Breaking Curfew
- 1986: Tom Cochrane & Red Rider (as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider)
- 1988: Victory Day (as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider)
- 1989: The Symphony Sessions (as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider)