Massey Hall

By David McPherson
Foreword by Jann Arden

Massey Hall
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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 ... Read more


Overview

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 127 years, but also 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 Herbie Hancock to the Tragically Hip, this full-colour book is a celebration of music, community, and our shared cultural heritage.

David McPherson

David McPherson is a regular contributor to Words + Music, Hamilton Magazine, and No Depression. Over the years his writing on music has also appeared in Paste, American Songwriter, Canadian Musician, Exclaim!, and at Chartattack.com. He lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Reviews

A lavish love letter to Canada’s queen of concert halls, packed with vivid tales from and about her most famous performers and intimate photos of those artists, taken onstage and off. Long may Massey reign.

Recent history has reminded us that a great venue is not just a precious thing, but a treasured place in our hearts. David McPherson chronicles the history of one loving and beloved home to music — and so much more — that has become legendary in Canada and admired all around the world. The legacy of Massey Hall is long and illustrious and features so many of the greatest artists of our times, Canadian and otherwise. By tracing this great hall's story through many decades of highs and lows, triumphs and challenges, McPherson reminds us all how important a living cultural centre can be to one city like Toronto and to the whole world that art and artists connect. Long Live Massey Hall and its profound legacy of bringing all sorts of music to our lives.

David McPherson brilliantly weaves together several strands of western culture in the history of Toronto’s revered venue, the Massey Music Hall. He juxtaposes the logistical, economic, architectural, and political challenges in creating and maintaining the theatre and guides the reader through more than a century of classical, folk, blues, jazz, rock and roll, comedy, and philosophy through the prism of Massey’s stage.

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. If one day we would have to explain to extraterrestrials the magic of the human invention of music, this book would suffice to make their ears (assuming those extraterrestrials have something like ears) burn and yearn.

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. Having experienced countless concerts at Massey from Rush to Roxy Music, Tom Waits to Stompin' Tom Connors, and of course my beloved homeboys The Rheostatics, 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.

In his reverential look at Massey Hall, David McPherson captures not just its long and storied history but the true spirit of a remarkable cultural icon and why it means so much to so many. Rock stars and rogues, politicians and wrestlers, even the Canadian Typewriting Championship, Massey Hall has seen it all and McPherson presents it all, brilliantly.

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