101 Fascinating Canadian Music Facts 

101 true stories to surprise and delight Canadian music fans.

Did you know that Serena Ryder played the quietest concert ever from the ocean floor during low tide at Fundy National Park? Or that “I’ll Never Smile Again,” the hit that launched Frank Sinatra’s career, was written by Toronto pianist Ruth Lowe? What about 12-year-old Liberty Silver singing in a reggae band that opened for Bob Marley at Madison Square Garden? Did you know that the title of the Tragically Hip’s 1991 album, Road Apples, is not talking about apples?

In 101 Fascinating Canadian Music Facts, author and historian David McPherson shares these and 97 other tales gathered from his more than 25 years working in the music industry. Music lovers and trivia buffs alike will enjoy perusing this collection of stories — collected from coast to coast — to discover surprising facts and hilarious tales from Canada’s music industry.

“David has uncovered Canadian music stories that should be better known.”
— Alan Cross, broadcaster and writer

“We Americans tend to think that virtually everything was made in America, but David McPherson’s “101 Fascinating Canadian Music Facts” is a fantastic and informative reminder of how much music Canada and Canadians have contributed to the soundtrack of our lives. Dig in and you will learn a thing or two or 101 about everything and everyone from Alanis to Anka, Crowbar to Celine.”

— David Wild, Emmy Award nominated writer, author and music journalist 

“Even if you think you know everything about your favorite Canadian songs and musicians, you’re going to be surprised and delighted by the facts McPherson digs up. Packed full of trivia, and written in a breezy but knowledgeable tone, this book is a must-read.”

— Annie Zaleski, music journalist/author (Duran Duran’s Rio, Pink: Raise Your Glass




Lulu’s Roadhouse, Helix lead singer deemed ‘fascinating’ in local author’s music trivia book



Massey Hall (11/2/2021)

The fascinating story of Canada’s most revered concert hall and the myriad artists who have graced its stage.

Known for its intimacy and sense of occasion, a night at Toronto’s Massey Hall is magical for both audiences and performers. For many musicians, playing the Hall is the surest sign that they have made it. Looking out over the crowd, performers often comment on the intimacy of the venue and the sense of joining history as they stand on the stage where Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, and so many other legends have stood.

Based on scores of interviews and meticulous research, Massey Hall chronicles not only the historical and musical moments of the past century, but the community of artists and supporters that has built up around the hall over the years. Covering both emerging artists such as Shakura S’Aida and William Prince and musical giants from Nana Mouskouri to the Tragically Hip, this full colour book is a celebration of music, community, and our shared cultural heritage.

Massey Hall is one of the great iconic concert venues in the world for both classical and pop music. Now it has an iconic book to go with it.

Rufus Wainwright, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and composer

David covers all the familiar and magical ground I feel when I walk through those doors … it feels like I’m inside those walls again when it open this book.

Serena Ryder, JUNO-award winning singer-songwriter

David McPherson’s appropriate reverence for Toronto’s most enduring palace of musical art is abundant on every page of this lovingly crafted and impeccably researched book … I am so happy that David has created a living and tactile testament to a building that isn’t just a hall of music, it’s a hall of magic.

Paul Myers, author

The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History
Dundurn Press (2017)


A complete history of Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern, “the Birthplace of Canadian Rock,” to coincide with its seventieth anniversary. Like the Queen Street strip that has been its home for seven decades, the Horseshoe Tavern continues to evolve. It remains as relevant today as it did when Jack Starr founded the country music club on the site of a former blacksmith shop. From country and rockabilly to rock ‘n’ roll, punk, alt/country, and back to roots music, the venerable live music venue has evolved with the times and trends — always keeping pace with the music. Over its long history, the Horseshoe has seen a flood of talent pass through. From Willie Nelson to Loretta Lynn, Stompin’ Tom Connors to The Band, and Bryan Adams to the Tragically Hip, the Horseshoe has attracted premier acts from all eras of music. In The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, David McPherson captures the turbulent life of the bar, and of Canadian rock.


Toronto Book Awards
Heritage Toronto Award, 2018 Historical Writing

a glorious two-handed plunge into the loam of the most famous rock ’n’ roll club in Canada; digging in the weeds to find the bones that find the ghosts who played there, from Hank Williams to Tom Connors to Frankie Venom to Townes Van Zandt and beyond.

Dave BidiniAuthor of Writing Gordon Lightfoot

At a time when music venues are under attack by gentrification and development, the Horseshoe remains immortal. I’ve long wondered what those checkerboard floors would say if they could talk. Now they can.  

Alan Crossinternationally renowned radio broadcaster and music writer

David McPherson does an amazing thing with this affectionate and informative book about the “Legendary Horseshoe Tavern.” As someone who has performed there and attended countless shows there over the years, it made me feel like I was a witness to something much bigger and more integral to the history of Toronto’s ever-changing music scene.

Ron SexsmithJuno award winning singer-songwriter

David McPherson’s tall cold pour of a story left me smacking my lips, nodding my head, and feeling just fine. My recommendation: pull up a chair, drain off one chapter, then another, and the next. Before long, you’ll feel absolutely giddy about the Horseshoe and its raffishly distinguished history, Toronto, music, this excellent writer, and the whole wide world.

Charles McNairauthor of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Land O’ Goshen

David McPherson has captured the soul and the sweat, the joy and the chaos of the hands-down greatest music parlor in Canada. This book takes you through a journey that began before rock ’n’ roll and keeps the ghosts humming with you long past closing time. From Stonewall Jackson to the Last Pogo the spirit that is the Horseshoe lives in these pages.

Colin Lindenmusical director of the TV show Nashville and member of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings

Whether your interest is music, history or nostalgia, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern is worth reading.

The Toronto Sun

A rigorously researched account of one of Canada’s most storied music clubs.

The Globe & Mail



The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern is an enjoyable read and a worthy tribute to an unpolished gem that has brought live music to generations of Torontonians. 

Jessica Rose, Hamilton Review of Books

The walls of the joint can’t talk, but others can and did to David McPherson, author of The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History, a colourful and meticulous account of the iconic venue. 

Brad Wheeler, The Globe & Mail

With a critically historic eye and a bit of warmth, McPherson does a superb job telling the tales that live inside the walls of The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern with a glimmer of hope for what’s to come.

Gabrielle Bossy, Spill Magazine

Whether your interest is music, history or nostalgia, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern is worth reading.

Liz Braun, The Toronto Sun



David McPherson: MASSEY HALL. S.6 Ep. 1243/23/2022