Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
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Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007

GUEST,Jim 28 Nov 07 - 06:05 PM
Steve Latimer 28 Nov 07 - 06:33 PM
Jeri 28 Nov 07 - 07:01 PM
Steve Latimer 28 Nov 07 - 07:35 PM
catspaw49 29 Nov 07 - 02:37 AM
Roger the Skiffler 29 Nov 07 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Greg Lawson 29 Nov 07 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,joan and jim wallace 29 Nov 07 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Kid Carson 30 Nov 07 - 08:04 AM
Duke 30 Nov 07 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,Kit 05 Dec 07 - 06:56 PM
Peter T. 06 Dec 07 - 01:18 PM
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Subject: Norm Hacking 1950 - 2007
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 06:05 PM

Just received this sad news and am passing it along. He will be missed:

> Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 14:04:06 -0500
> To:
> From:
> Subject: NORM HACKING 1950 - 2007
> Dear members of Norm's newsletter group,
> Yes, very sad news - NORM HACKING, Toronto songwriter / performer / poet /
> columnist, died peacefully late Sunday night, November 25, 2007, at his
> home in Toronto. It's thought that he died quickly, of a heart
> attack. His most recent performances were this summer: June 16 at the
> Brampton Folk Festival, June 22 at Hugh's Room as part of Toronto City
> Roots festival's "Riverboat Revival" evening, July 11 at the memorial /
> 85th birthday celebration for his late mother Kathy O. Hacking and on July
> 19 as featured performer at the open stage of his favourite east-end
> Toronto venue Renaissance Cafe.
> While his summer performances were musically strong, a chronic infection in
> his leg affected his mobility, making further performances difficult. It
> was only within the last four weeks that his health took a more serious
> downturn. His son Ben and many of his closest friends were at Norm's
> frequently throughout this time, including Saturday evening.
> Norm is survived by son Ben Hacking, Ben's wife Kim Proctor, T-Pot
> (inspiration for "When Cats Go Wrong") and very many loyal enthusiastic
> fans and friends. Friends may contact the undersigned (Shirley, friend
> and manager / webmaster - see end) or Ben at
> 416-662-5097 (cell)
> 416-752-3117 (home)
> Ben Hacking and Kim Proctor
> 1801 O'Connor Dr. #403
> Toronto ON M4A 2P8
> Memorial services will be announced shortly, likely a small event in the
> near future and a musical celebration of his life in early 2008. This
> information will also be added to his website when known.
> While most who receive this newsletter know Norm Hacking and his work, this
> summary is a bit of an overview - it's impossible to summarize his
> accomplishments and effects on us all:
> Over the years, Norm had appeared at many festivals, and released many CDs,
> LPs and tapes - starting with an LP with friends while still at Scarborough
> College (a campus of University of Toronto) in 1972, and his first solo LP
> "Norm Hacking Live" in 1977, followed by "Cut Roses" (1980), the acclaimed
> "Stubborn Ghost" (1988) and "A Day in the Studio (solo tape
> 1993). Available CDs are "Skysongs: A Writer's Collection" (2001 reissue),
> Norm Hacking and Kirk Elliott "Orange Cats Make the Very Best Friends"
> (2002) and "I Am the Night: Poetry and Prose by Norm Hacking" (2005). His
> CD "The Ache" is completed, with graphics in progress.
> "One Voice: A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Vol. I" (2001) includes wonderful
> versions of his songs, performed by Canadian and American
> songwriters. Many artists also included his songs on their own CDs.
> Norm was also a stage actor (musical, dramatic and comic) and soundtrack
> writer (songs for "Great Canadian Parks" TV series and "Back to School with
> Franklin" feature video).
> Recognitions include multiple Porcupine awards, including the Hall of Fame
> award (2001), and a Canadian Indie Music Award nomination in the Favourite
> Children's Artist / Group category for "Orange Cats Make the Very Best
> Friends" with Kirk Elliott. "Cats Everywhere" from the CD was included in
> Jurgen Gothe's (CBC DiscDrive) "Hit List of 2002". His song "When Cats Go
> Wrong" is a book, beautifully illustrated by Cynthia Nugent, with a CD
> single (now in paper edition; Raincoast Books). This year, his lovely song
> "Richer for the Time" about being inspired by Steve Goodman at The
> Riverboat in Toronto's Yorkville District was included on the CD in Clay
> Eals' biography "Steve Goodman: Facing the Music" (published by Toronto's
> ECW Press 2007, already in 2nd printing), bringing notice to a new set of
> fans as folk DJs played it during many of the author's interviews.
> Norm Hacking loved the search for truth in a song - his own and
> others'. He was a commanding presence in performance, in both song and
> spoken word. He especially valued his fellow songwriters - encouraging
> many through a series of open stages - and his loyal fans. He was a caring
> soul and created a very loyal caring community.
> I am fortunate to have been part of that community.
> For more, including bio, discography and a selection of his lyrics and
> TaxiNews prose columns, see
> Some of you also receive MaplePost (almost same wording, just sent) - feel
> free to forward this to anyone you think has been missed. There will be a
> few more newsletters as events develop, and when the CD is available. As
> mentioned, Norm always valued your friendship and loyalty. He loved
> performing and sharing musical evenings with fellow songwriters. We'll
> miss Norm in that. Thankfully, his recorded music and words live on,
> thanks to your collective support. And I thank you for the support you've
> always shown me - I feel we've all made valued friends through Norm - his
> "finding some truth in a line" and he himself brought people together.
> Sadly,
> Shirley
> Shirley Gibson
> (Friend, Manager, Webmaster)
> (or info@normhacking for publicity purposes)
> 416 537-3790 (day/eve/VM)
> - lots of info
> - "When Cats Go Wrong" books from booksellers in U.S. and Canada (published
> by Raincoast Books)
> - 3 CDs from stores or Festival at
> /1-800-633-8282 (toll-free from U.S. or Canada):
> --- "Orange Cats Make the Very Best Friends" by Norm Hacking & Kirk Elliott
> --- "Skysongs: A Writer's Collection"
> --- "One Voice: A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Vol. 1" (fine songwriters
> perform Norm's songs)
> - SPOKEN WORD CD "I Am the Night" at

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Subject: RE: Norm Hacking
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 06:33 PM

I'm very sorry to hear this. I heard Norm perform a few times and I really enjoyed his work. Although I never met him, I heard from a few people that he was a wonderful man.

My condolences to his family.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 07:01 PM

Norm wrote this tribute to Rick after his death. He sang at Rick's memorial, and I 'met' him there - we were just in the same place and not formally introduced. 'This One's the Dreamer' is one of his.

57 years is not enough. My sympathy to all who loved him.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 07:35 PM


Thank you for posting that. It was beautiful.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 02:37 AM

My best thoughts to all of his friends and family.

I first heard of Norm like many here through Rick. Jeri posted Norm's heartfelt words about our mutual friend. Sorry he isn't here to do the same for Norm, but the following was a post from Rick's early days on Mudcat:

Subject: Norm Hacking . a great SingerSongmaker
From: Rick Fielding - PM
Date: 07 Jun 99 - 02:09 AM

Just thought I'd tell you about an absolutely magical evening in Toronto (last night). A concert was held in tribute to one of the really fine musical wordsmiths this country has ever produced. You probably have never heard of Norm Hacking because he is just...well, a shy self-effacing (really big) guy, who has plied his minstrel's trade almost exclusively in Toronto for thirty years. He wins his fans a dozen at a time by playing little clubs and bars, and he wouldn't know how to be strategically ambitious for all the tea in China. He's just continued to write beautifully crafted little stories for his following with VERY little in the way of serious remuneration. His life has always been made precarious by the poverty that haunts many fine artists, but in friends and admirers of songmaking quality, he is wealthy beyond his means.
The evening consisted of many of the top performers around singing Norm's songs and he was deeply touched, as were we who were lucky enough to be there.
Rick (proud to be a Hacking fan)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 09:16 AM

I remember Rick recommending Norm's CD The Ache- which still seems to be "in progress". I'll look out for it again.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: GUEST,Greg Lawson
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 01:06 PM

Greetings Friends - I am a fortunate man in that I knew Norm Hacking. I haven't seen him for a while but will always remember the times we chatted, mostly on a park bench.I would be walking along Queen St East in the Beach area of Toronto & there would be Norm singing & strumming his wonderful tunes. Each time we spoke we discovered we had mutual friends yet our backgrounds were somewhat different. I can't sing or play a note (but I do like to whistle). Whenever someone who knew Norm came along, they never just said hi & kept going, they always stopped & chatted to the man with the hat.
My condolences to his family - immediate & extended.
RESPECT Greg Lawson

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: GUEST,joan and jim wallace
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 05:27 PM

Norm was a friend of my daughter, Beverley Anderson. He sang and played at her wedding reception in 1991. Six weeks later he sang at her funeral.

As a single father he brought his son to the funeral reception and he seemed to be a fine young man also.

Our condolences to the family. He will be forever missed.

Jim and Joan Wallace

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: GUEST,Kid Carson
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 08:04 AM

I'm very saddened by the news of Norm's passing. I first noticed "Mr. Hacking" on stage at Winston Churchill Collegiate in the role of Mike Hammer, Private Investigator, back in 1966. With the hat & trenchcoat and a cigarette between his thumb & pointer-finger, he gave a performance that stuck in my mind for a long time. I was 'the new guy with the long hair' at the school and I never got to know him up close before I quit the next year. Then 10 years later, I was playing a festival in Kingston, ON with Prairie Oyster when I noticed his name on the list of performers. Wondering if this could be the same Norm Hacking from high school, I hunted him down that day and it sure was! Strangely, enough, he remembered me from the role of the Chinese grandfather in a production of "Teahouse of the August Moon" that I played that same year back @ Churchill. I guess we had sort of a mutual admiration (... unknown to each other) for our theatrical performances that year. From then we would run into each other more often and eventually end up playing together. I'll never forget the time he was approached by another old school mate about doing the video for "Sammy" and he asked me to be the drummer in the band. So, he gave me a copy of the "Cut Roses" album to take home to study the drum parts. Well, after listening very closely to the track, I called Norm to inform him that there weren't any drums on the track!!! He forgot .......! So, he called his old friend, Doug McClement, who recorded the album, and before I knew it I was in Comfort Sound adding drum tracks to the original recording. Wish I had a copy of that video. I later had the privilege of being asked to play on "he Stubborn Ghost" album.
Unfortunately, the last time I saw Norm was a couple of years ago. He was busking from the bench on Queen St E., in front of Kew Gardens and I was passing by in my truck. Not being able to find a parking spot, I stopped long enough to honk & wave and hear him announce, "Why it's Mr. Carson!"   .......
These were the the last words I heard from "Mr. Hacking". I'm gonna miss him a lot.
My heart felt thoughts go out to Ben & Kim.

Was hoping we'd get to play together again!   ............. guess I'll just have to wait a while.

Luv ya, Big Guy!

A Friend .... and a Fan,
             "Mr. Carson".

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: Duke
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 09:08 AM

I never met Norm, but I did see him perform once or twice. Damned shame as he was much too young.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: GUEST,Kit
Date: 05 Dec 07 - 06:56 PM

In the immortal words of Jackie Gleason to Steve McQueen in "Soldier in the Rain" (one of my uncle norm's favorite movies)

"Until that time, Eustace, until that time....."

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Subject: RE: Obit: Norm Hacking - Toronto, 25 Nov 2007
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Dec 07 - 01:18 PM

Norm Hacking is one of those people of whom it can be said he really will live on in his songs. He was one of the great Canadian songwriters -- Casablanca Bound, Love at the Free Times Cafe, and many more. He was a real artist, beneath and within that very large exterior!


Peter T.

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