Tom Cochrane

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Tom Cochrane
Tom Cochrane (24105781599).jpg
Tom Cochrane in 2008
Background information
Born (1953-05-14) May 14, 1953 (age 65)
Lynn Lake, Manitoba, Canada
Genres Rock, heartland rock
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1973–present
Labels Capitol, Universal Music
Associated acts Red Rider

Thomas William Cochrane OC OM ( /ˈkɒkrən/ KOK-rən; born May 14, 1953) is a Canadian musician best known as the frontman for the rock band Red Rider and for his work as a solo singer-songwriter. [1] Cochrane has won eight Juno Awards. [2] He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, [3] an officer of the Order of Canada, [4] and has an honorary doctorate from Brandon University. In September 2009 he was inducted onto the Canadian Walk of Fame. [5] Cochrane has also been recognized for his significant charitable work.

Order of Canada order

The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

Order of Manitoba award

The Order of Manitoba is a civilian honour for merit in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Instituted in 1999 when Lieutenant Governor Peter Liba granted Royal Assent to The Order of Manitoba Act, the order is administered by the Governor-in-Council and is intended to honour current or former Manitoba residents for conspicuous achievements in any field, being thus described as the highest honour amongst all others conferred by the Manitoba Crown.



Early life

Cochrane was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised 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 taxicab and later took a job on a Caribbean cruise liner.

Acton, Ontario Rural area in Ontario, Canada

Acton is a community located in the town of Halton Hills, in Halton Region, Ontario, Canada. At the northern end of the Region, it is on the outer edge of the Greater Toronto Area and is one of two of the primary population centres of the Town; the other is Georgetown. From 1842 until 1986, the town was a major centre for the tanning and leather goods industry. In the early years, it was often referred to as "Leathertown".

Etobicoke Place in Ontario, Canada

Etobicoke is an administrative district and former city that makes up the western part of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Etobicoke was first settled by Europeans in the 1790s; the municipality grew into city status in the 20th century. Several independent villages and towns developed within the area of Etobicoke, only to be absorbed later into Etobicoke during the era of Metro Toronto. Etobicoke was dissolved in 1998, when it was amalgamated with other Metro Toronto municipalities into the City of Toronto. Etobicoke is bordered on the south by Lake Ontario, on the east by the Humber River, on the west by Etobicoke Creek, the city of Mississauga, and Toronto Pearson International Airport, and on the north by Steeles Avenue West.

Martingrove Collegiate Institute

Martingrove Collegiate Institute (MCI), also referred to as Martingrove, is a non-semestered public secondary school in Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It opened in 1966 and is currently overseen by the Toronto District School Board.

Red Rider

After meeting at the El Mocambo tavern in Toronto, Cochrane joined the Canadian rock band Red Rider in 1978 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 . [6]

El Mocambo live music and entertainment venue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The El Mocambo is a live music and entertainment venue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Located on Spadina Avenue, just south of College Street, the bar has played an important role in the development of popular music in Toronto since the 1940s.

Red Rider Canadian band

Red Rider, later known as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider, is a Canadian rock band popular in the 1980s. While they achieved great success in Canada, the band never had a song in the Top 40 in the United States, although "Lunatic Fringe" became popular on album-oriented rock radio. They also charted on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Young Thing, Wild Dreams ", and charted comparably to "Lunatic Fringe" on Mainstream Rock (AOR) with "Big League", "Human Race", and "Power".

Kenneth William "Ken" Greer is a Canadian guitarist and keyboardist. He was one of the founding members of the Canadian rock band Red Rider.

In 2002, Cochrane reunited with his former Red Rider bandmates Greer and Jones and continues to perform with them.

Solo career

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.

Life Is a Highway 1991 single by Tom Cochrane

"Life Is a Highway" is an original song by Tom Cochrane, from his 1991 album Mad Mad World. The song was Cochrane's most famous song, becoming a number one hit in his native Canada. The song also peaked at number six on the Billboard charts in the United States in 1992. The song has been covered by Rascal Flatts for the Cars soundtrack, as well as by Chris LeDoux, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Home Free.

<i>Mad Mad World</i> 1991 studio album by Tom Cochrane

Mad Mad World is the second studio album by Canadian rock singer Tom Cochrane, originally released in 1991. The first single from the album, "Life Is a Highway", became a hit in late 1991, reaching #1 in Canada and #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.


An avid golfer, pilot, and hockey buff, Cochrane currently[ when? ] lives in Oakville, Ontario, with his wife Kathleen.

Oakville, Ontario Town in Ontario, Canada

Oakville is a suburban town in southern Ontario, located in Halton Region on Lake Ontario halfway between Toronto and Hamilton, and is part of the Greater Toronto Area, one of the most densely populated areas of Canada. The 2016 census reported a population of 193,832.

He spends summers at his cottage/studio on the shores of Georgian Bay in Northern Ontario and winters part-time at his home outside of Austin, Texas. Tom and his wife Kathleene have two daughters, Cody and Evanne. Cochrane continues to tour and perform in Canada where he remains a popular live act. In 2006, the group Rascal Flatts charted in the top 10 of the Hot 100 with a cover of Tom Cochrane's "Life Is a Highway", which they recorded for the Pixar film Cars. Although "Life Is a Highway" was not released to country radio, several country stations began playing the song, causing it to chart within the top 20 of Hot Country Songs. Chris Ledoux also had a country hit with "Life Is A Highway".

Georgian Bay large bay of Lake Huron, Canada

Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, Canada. The main body of the bay lies east of the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island. To its northwest is the North Channel.

Northern Ontario Primary Region in Ontario, Canada

Northern Ontario is a primary geographic and administrative region of the Canadian province of Ontario; the other primary region being Southern Ontario. Most of the core geographic region is located on part of the Superior Geological Province of the Canadian Shield, a vast rocky plateau located mainly north of Lake Huron, the French River, Lake Nipissing, and the Mattawa River. The statistical region extends south of the Mattawa River to include all of the District of Nipissing. The southern section of this district lies on part of the Grenville Geological Province of the Shield which occupies the transitional area between Northern and Southern Ontario. The extended federal and provincial administrative regions of Northern Ontario have their own boundaries even further south in the transitional area that vary according to their respective government policies and requirements. Ontario government departments and agencies such as the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation define Northern Ontario as all areas north of, and including, the districts of Parry Sound and Nipissing for political purposes, while the federal government, but not the provincial, also includes the district of Muskoka.

Austin, Texas Capital of Texas

Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the 4th-most populous city in Texas. It is also the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona, and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2017 estimate, Austin had a population of 950,715 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,115,827 as of July 1, 2017. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.

In October, 2016, Cochrane celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his Mad Mad World album with an announcement of the release of a special edition of the album, featuring a demo recording of "Love is a Highway", the working title of "Life is a Highway", as well as a second disc featuring a live performance from a 1992 Chicago stop on the tour supporting the album. The celebration will continue into 2017 with a cross-country tour, with Meghan Patrick and Nice Horse, [7] and the release of a coffee table book about the album. [8]

The Manitoba provincial government recently named a section of a highway near his hometown of Lynn Lake after the hit "Life Is a Highway". A stretch of Highway 391 is being renamed Tom Cochrane's Life of a Highway. This is part of a series of Honours for the musician's influence on Canadian music. [9]


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. [10] 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". [11]

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). [12] 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. [13] 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. [14]

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.

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. [15]

On October 31, 2016, the provincial legislature of Manitoba announced a 322-kilometre section of PR 391, Manitoba's premium highway, connecting Lynn Lake and Thompson would be renamed Tom Cochrane’s Life Is A Highway. [16]


Cochrane has been a longtime supporter of World Vision and has traveled to Africa several times. He has also served as the honorary chairman of the SuperWalk for Parkinsons and has been a proud supporter of WSPA, War Child, Amnesty International, and the Make Poverty History campaign.[ citation needed ]

Canada For Asia: On January 13, 2005, Cochrane, his wife Kathleene and Alex Lifeson spearheaded a benefit concert in support of tsunami relief in Asia. 150 Canadian stars appeared including Anne Murray, Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Oscar Peterson, Celine Dion, Rush and Barenaked Ladies. The concert, which was produced and televised by CBC TV, raised over $4 million in pledges.[ citation needed ]

Live 8 Concert: On July 2, 2005, Cochrane kicked off the Canadian edition of the Live 8 benefit concerts in Barrie, Ontario performing his hits "Life Is A Highway" and "No Regrets". The Live 8 concerts took place in the G8 states and in South Africa to pressure world leaders to drop the debt of the world's poorest nations, increase and improve aid, and negotiate fair trade rules in the interest of the poorest countries. [17] [18]

Winnipeg Key to the City: On June 12, 2012, Tom Cochrane received Winnipeg, Manitoba's, key to the city. [19]

ALS Awareness Cochrane has been a supporter of his wife who is active in fundraising concerts for ALS awareness. Cochrane's father died of Parkinson's disease.




Compilation albums (solo)

With Red Rider

Compilation albums (with Red Rider)



Release dateTitleChart peakAlbum
1973"You're Driving Me Crazy (Faith Healers)"71 Hang on to Your Resistance
1974"Charlie Was a Dancer"
1976"Sail On"Non-album single
1991"Life Is a Highway"166 Mad Mad World
"No Regrets"37
1992"Sinking Like a Sunset"2
"Mad Mad World"25
"Washed Away"788
"Bigger Man"45
1995"I Wish You Well"1101 Ragged Ass Road
"Wildest Dreams"5
1996"Dreamer's Dream"4
1997"Lunatic Fringe"70 Songs of a Circling Spirit
"Good Man Feeling Bad"46
1999"I Wonder"86 X-Ray Sierra
"Willie Dixon Said"30
"Stonecutter's Arms"
"Heartbreak Girl"
2005"Christmas All The Time"Non-album single
2006"Didn't Mean" No Stranger
"The Party's Not Over"
2007"Out of My Head"
"Northern Star"
2014"Sunday Afternoon Hang"Take It Home
2018"Big League"Non-album charity single
"—" denotes a single that didn't chart

With Red Rider

Release dateTitleChart peakAlbum
CAN [20] US US
1980"White Hot"2048 Don't Fight It
"Don't Fight It"75103
1981"What Have You Got to Do"42 As Far as Siam
"Lunatic Fringe"11
1983"Human Race"2911 Neruda
"Power (Strength in Numbers)"13
"Crack the Sky (Breakaway)"39
1984"Young Thing, Wild Dreams (Rock Me)"447113 Breaking Curfew
"Breaking Curfew"93
1986"Boy Inside the Man"2517 Tom Cochrane & Red Rider
"The Untouchable One"7048
1987"One More Time (Some Old Habits)"85
"Ocean Blues (Emotion Blue)"88
1988"Big League"49 Victory Day
1989"Good Times"2
"Victory Day"32
"Different Drummer"67
"White Hot" (Live)50 The Symphony Sessions
1990"Bird on a Wire" (Live)88
2002"Just Like Ali"39Trapeze: The Collection
"Pictures from the Edge"
"—" denotes a single that didn't chart

Music videos

1981"Lunatic Fringe"
1983"Light In the Tunnel / Human Race"
1983"Winner Take All"
1984"Young Thing, Wild Dreams (Rock Me)"
1986"Boy Inside the Man"
1986"Ocean Blues (Emotion Blue)"
1986"The Untouchable One"
1988"Good Times"
1988"Victory Day"
1991"Life Is a Highway" [21] David Storey
1992"No Regrets"[ citation needed ]Curtis Wehrfritz[ citation needed ]
1992"Sinking Like a Sunset"
1992"Mad Mad World"
1992"Washed Away"
1995"I Wish You Well"
1995"Wildest Dreams"[ citation needed ]George Dougherty[ citation needed ]
1995"Dreamer's Dream"
1999"I Wonder"
2014"Sunday Afternoon Hang"[ citation needed ] Stephano Barberis [ citation needed ]


Juno Awards :

Juno Award nominations:

Grammy nominations

ASCAP Awards

SOCAN Awards

Television and movies

Additional career highlights

See also

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  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. Canadian Music Hall of Fame [ permanent dead link ]
  4. CBC News April 11, 2008,"43 Canadians receive the order of Canada"
  5. Digital Journal September 12, 2009, by Andrew Moran, "On The Scene at Canada's Walk of Fame"
  6. Friend, David (January 5, 2017). "Tom Cochrane reflects on success of 'Life is a Highway'". The Toronto Star/The Canadian Press. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  7. Entertainment (2017-02-24). "Nice Horse, Tom Cochrane take stage in Cranbrook". Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  9. Retrieved November 22, 2016
  10. "Tom Cochrane – Canadian Music Hall Of Fame". Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  11. "Tom Cochrane - 2003". Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
  12. General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada" . Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  13. "Tom Cochrane". Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  14. "Tom Cochrane | Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame Inductee | Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards". Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  15. "Jonathan Toews, Tom Cochrane among new Order of Manitoba members". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  16. "Province of Manitoba | News Releases | Tom Cochrane Honoured with `Life Is A' Highway Designation on PR 391 from Thompson to Lynn Lake". Province of Manitoba. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  17. Brandle, L. (2005, June 11). UpFront: Global - Live Aid to Live 8: Bob Geldof Is Back, with Multi-City Anti-Poverty Concerts. Billboard - The International Newsweekly of Music, Video and Home Entertainment; New York, N. Y., 117(24), 7.
  18. Curtis, J. (2005, August 5). Grapevine: Live 8 for the G8 - Report from Barrie, Ontario. Goldmine; Iola, Wis., 31(16), 10.
  19. Scene Staff, "Tom Cochrane collects keys to the city in Winnipeg " "it was part of a ceremony at city hall that recognizes June as ALS Awareness Month ... Cochrane has helped raise 1.9 million dollars playing charity concerts" CBC Manitoba Scene 1.
  20. For "Just Like Ali": "Canadian Digital Song Sales". Billboard. November 22, 2003. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  21. ""Life Is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane". VH1 . Retrieved September 30, 2011.