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Music / Stan Rogers

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Stanley Allison Rogers (November 29, 1949 – June 2, 1983) was an iconic Atlantic Canadiannote  folk Singer-Songwriter whose brief, brilliant career began in 1976, produced a number of albums, and was then cut short by his tragic death in an airplane accident at the age of 33.

He left behind an enduring legacy for the Canadian music scene, and a number of his songs ("Barrett's Privateers", "Northwest Passage", "The Mary Ellen Carter") have become national standards. "Northwest Passage" has been cited by prime ministers and governors general as an unofficial national anthem of sorts, and was voted the fourth-best Canadian song of all time in a CBC radio poll.

There is an annual music festival held in his honour in Nova Scotia.



  • Fogarty's Cove (1976)
  • Turnaround (1978)
  • Between the Breaks ... Live! (1979)
  • Northwest Passage (1981)
  • For the Family (1983, the first of five posthumous collections)
  • From Fresh Water (1984, posthumous)
  • Home in Halifax (1993, posthumous)
  • Poetic Justice (1996, posthumous)
  • From Coffee House to Concert Hall (1999, posthumous)


  • Anti-Christmas Song: "First Christmas" isn't strictly anti-Christmas, but as Rogers believed Christmas was a time not just for celebration but for deep, sober reflection, it's depressing.
    • "At Last I'm Ready for Christmas" tries to be one, but, like the narrator, the song's heart just isn't in it.
      We swore this year we'd keep things simple, then did our usual spree.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "The Idiot", the narrator's complaints about his job out west are the desolate landscape, the refinery fumes, and the cowboy clothes they wear.
  • Badass Baritone: Stan sings in a warbly variation of this, and it really helped get across many of the shantys he sang.
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  • Drinking on Duty / Drunk Driver: The captain in "The Mary Ellen Carter".
  • Dying Town: "Fogarty's Cove" (jauntier than the others), "Finch's Complaint", "Make and Break Harbour", "The Field Behind the Plow", "Free in the Harbour", "Tiny Fish for Japan"...
    • The narrator in "The Idiot" left one of these to work in a refinery out west.
  • Fatal Family Photo: the kid has one in "White Squall".
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: "MacDonnell on the Heights" tells of an unsung hero of the Battle of Queenston Heights, "but not one in ten thousand knows [his] name."
  • Happily Married: The woman in "Lies", despite having become older and less beautiful.
  • Heavy Mithril: While not heavy, "The Witch of the Westmorland" is about a knight with a Wound That Will Not Heal who is blessed by a centaur witch to be invincible.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: "The Flowers of Bermuda", about a captain who goes down with the ship so his crew can escape running aground.
  • Job Song:
    • "The Field Behind the Plow" is about a farmer.
    • "The Idiot" is about a refinery worker.
    • "White Collar Holler" is about a computer programmer.
  • "Become a Privateer", They Said: The Captain in "Barrett's Privateers" promises a cushy gig with no fighting and plenty of loot. Disaster ensues.
  • The Pioneer: "Northwest Passage", although the singer is about a hundred years too late and merely inspired by the Franklin, Kelso, and Thompson Expeditions.
  • Sole Survivor: "[I'm] the last of Barrett's Privateers."
  • The Alleged Ship: The Antelope sloop in "Barrett's Privateers", which can barely sail and gets smashed into pieces with one cannonball.
  • Take That!: Ontario's tourism industry came out with the slogan "No place you'd rather be." Stan's response, from "Watching the Apples Grow":
    Ontario, y'know, I've found the place I'd rather be;
    Your scummy lakes and city of Toronto don't do a damn thing for me,
    I'd rather live by the sea.
  • Title Drop: Rogers' first song called "Here's To You Santa Claus" released as a single in 1970:
    Here's to you, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny's next!