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Tom Cochrane

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About Tom Cochrane

Tom Cochrane In Concert

Most Americans know Tom Cochrane for his hit "Life Is a Highway" — and rightly so, as the song absolutely dominated mainstream radio and MTV in 1991 and ‘92. But in his native Canada, Cochrane is a bonafide rock'n'roll legend. 

He's been bestowed with the Order of Canada, inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and awarded an honorary colonel, honorary doctorate, and honorary star on the Canadian Walk of Fame. In short, he is a very big, beloved deal. 

It's easy to see why. Cochrane earned his status through years of tireless performing, both as a solo artist and with his breakout band Red Rider, as well as his lifetime of charity work around the world and generally being unabashedly and unfailingly Canadian. For Canucks of a certain age, Tom Cochrane is an icon of a generation.

Though he bought his first guitar when he was 11, Cochrane's musical career took a while to hit full speed. He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and grew up the son of a bush pilot in Etobicoke, Ontario. After attending technical school, he moved to Los Angeles to get into show business, but failed to make a mark. 

Back in Toronto, he paid the bills as a cab driver, dock worker, and sailboat crewman while playing solo gigs in coffee shops and dive bars around the city. He eventually connected with guitarist Ken Greer of the band Red Rider, and they joined forces in 1978, finding quick success across Canada with their debut album as a unit. 

Cochrane and Greer stuck together through a decade of lineup changes, but after a handful of platinum albums and hit singles that failed to break into the U.S. market, Red Rider disbanded in 1990. Thanks in part to the evergreen irresistibility of "Life Is a Highway," Cochrane has sustained a successful solo career ever since, playing with a veteran backing band in theaters around the world.