Tom Cochrane


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photograph of Tom Cochrane

Tom Cochrane, D.Mus (hon), (born May 14, 1953) is a Canadian singer and songwriter, whose story-telling songs have earned him the nickname "The thinking man's rocker." His best known song is the hit single "Life Is a Highway." He has also performed with the band Red Rider (alternatively known as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider)

Cochrane was born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba to Violet and Tuck Cochrane, a bush pilot. The family relocated to Etobicoke, Ontario in the West Deane Park area when Tom was four years old. He purchased his first guitar at age 11 by selling a toy train set. He attended Martingrove Collegiate Institute in the 1960's. In the early 1970s, he was performing in coffee houses across Canada. He eventually made his way to Los Angeles where he found a job writing theme music for My Pleasure is My Business, a Xaviera Hollander movie. 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 to help pay the bills. Cochrane went back to Los Angeles in 1976, trying to sell his songs to publishers but without success, and returned to Toronto in 1977. Cochrane walked into the El Mocambo club one night in Toronto and came across a band of locals calling themselves Red Rider. After an audition, they agreed to Cochrane joining the band as lead singer and songwriter, a decision that would change their musical careers.

After the Red Rider era, Cochrane set off on his soloist path again. In 1990, Cochrane took his family to West Africa where he helped to raise awareness and money for the World Vision famine relief organization. That experience shaped his next album Mad Mad World which contained the internationally acclaimed hit single "Life is a Highway".

The three-CD box set Ashes to Diamonds, including material by both Red Rider and Cochrane as a solo artist, was released in 1993.

In 1995, he released Ragged Ass Road and followed that with a Canadian tour in 1996. The tour resulted in Songs of a Circling Spirit, a live CD and multi-media package of previously released material.

In June 1999, Cochrane was involved in a light plane crash in Montreal, after his plane's engine stalled just after take-off. Fortunately, no one was injured.

At the 2003 Juno Awards, Tom Cochrane was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The special award ceremony took place April 5, 2003 at Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec. According to the Life Is a Highway Songfacts, his other honors include seven Juno Awards, being an Honorary Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and having been inducted onto the Canadian Walk of Fame. They take their rock stars seriously in Canada.

In December 2003 he was one of the musical guests on a CBC special called, Rick Mercer's Christmas in Kabul.

He currently lives with his family in Oakville, Ontario.

On July 2, 2005, Cochrane took part in the Live 8 concert series.

Cochrane's new album "No Stranger" recorded in rural Ontario was released in October 2006.

"Life Is A Highway" was re-made in 2006 by the country band Rascal Flatts for the motion picture "Cars" and became a successful country single. Read more about Tom Cochrane on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

Gear used by Tom Cochrane

Tom Cochrane electric guitars

Tom Cochrane links