Tributes to Dick Nolan
Buddy Cage (Musician) - I have many good memories of Dick. He was a fascinating singer who didn't stand around lecturing about Newfoundand qualities like some of the confused home-sick ones. He radiated it naturally and I loved him for it!
Gordon Rideout (Friend, Musician) - Dick Nolan was a dear friend. He was like a father and a brother to me. He was a very quiet, ordinary man with a heart of gold. He would do anything for you. He was the kind of fellow that when he gave it was forgotten about. That was Dick Nolan
Damian Follett (Musician) - Dick Nolan was the first of our kind to break down the barriers & make an impact locally, nationally, & south of the border. I remember as a kid learning how to play guitar & learning several of his songs. He was as much of an inspiration to me as all of the other great singer/songwriters of the 60's & 70's. Without Dick Nolan many of today's musicians would not have the opportunities that now exist. He will be forever missed & always remembered. God bless you Dick.
Ray Gushue (Friend) - I thought a lot about Dick. He was a good friend. It didn't matter to him if he had five cents or five thousand dollars in his pocket, he was still Dick Nolan. He didn't change for nothing or anybody.
Herman Harris ( Musician, TV Host) - Dick Nolan was one of the best entertainers that Newfoundland ever produced. He was a common person on a level with everybody. He was a big-time entertainer who rubbed elbows with all the big ones but he was still an ordinary man - a true Newfoundlander.
Debbie Morrissey Stafford (Daughter of the late Joan Morrissey) - Dick Nolan was one of the most unique people I have ever met. His individuality would shine through to every person in his audience. And his deep resonant voice could be heard, even without a microphone. He was a dear friend of my mother's, the late Joan Morrissey. I know he is up in heaven with my mom and they are both still singing 'Aunt Martha's Sheep' and 'Thank God We're Surrounded By Water'. Another Newfoundland pioneer has left the building. We'll miss you Dick! Say hi to mom for me.....
Dominic Slade (musician) - I was a member of Dick's Band for several years and played all over Newfoundland and Labrador enjoying every minute. Most bands have their share of arguments but Dick was so easy going and had such a good sense of humour I never heard him argue with anyone all the years I played with him. Every night was like one big party when you played with Dick. I played with him at the Strand Lounge at the Avalon Mall in St. John's when the crowds were lined up the full length of the Mall waiting to get in to see him. We were good friends and I'm really going to miss him. We had a lot of good times together.
Father Jerome Hann (Roman Catholic Priest, musician) - Newfoundland has lost a very unique Son in Dick Nolan. It was a privilege to be a small part of his long career as a drummer in his band and also to have a small part in his Funeral liturgy. My condolences to his Family.
Ben Weatherby (Producer, Booking agent, Traveling Companion & most of all Friend for almost 50 years) - I met Dick in the late fifties in Toronto. At that time I had just started to play guitar and had a knack for playing the Johnny Cash sound and Dan Bass got in touch with me to play guitar on Dick's first recording and that was how we met. Since then I have had the pleasure of producing -all the LP's he recorded with ARC Records in the 60's and the Aunt Martha's Sheep record called Fisherman's Boy for RCA Victor. Dick and I formed a band in the late 60's and started touring Ontario, Labrador & NFLD With Marlene Beaudry with whom he recorded 2 LP's with in 68 & 69.
I have always said Dick Nolan had the finest male voice in Canada he just didn't get the right break. I've always said the Tommy Hunter Show should have been THE DICK NOLAN SHOW. Many of the big Nashville artist such as, Dave Dudley who by the way played rhythm guitar on several of Dick's records, Johnny Paycheck, Del Reeves, Jimmy Dickins, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Red Sovine, Shot Jackson and many many more could not understand why Dick was NOT accepted as an international artist in Canada.
Dick and I spent many hours performing on the road, in the studio and in my house for many hours after hours and I don't think anyone will miss him more than I will, his company, humor and most of all his singing I always enjoyed listing to him while playing for him on our personal appearances.
With out a doubt Dick Nolan was one of the finest voices and performers ever to come out of Canada or the USA.
Stompin' Tom Connors (Musician) - I was recently saddened to hear that my friend Dick Nolan passed away during the Christmas Holidays in 2005. I`ll always remember Dick as a great song writer and singer of true Canadian and Newfoundland Country Songs.
He was true to the traditional Country music style and left us all a great legacy of Songs as only Dick could sing them. In 1974, he sang "Aunt Martha`s Sheep" on my C.B.C Television Series, and while I was in N.F.L.D, he had me out to his house in Bay Bulls and showed me around the area. His great Hospitality will never be forgotten.
My sincere condolences go out to all his family and the many friends I know he made throughout his career and far-off travels. May the Cup be raised to a Great man and True Newfoundlander.
Honourable Tom Hedderson (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation) - Mr. Nolan was a key figure in the rise of "Newfoundland country" - a style that combines country and western music with traditional Newfoundland themes. Dick Nolan paved the way for many local musicians and he will be greatly missed by all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. He went through very lean times in keeping alive a part of who we area as a people through his music and through his entertainment. Today is a sad day for Newfoundland and Labrador because we have lost a tremendous talent, a tremendous Newfoundlander and Labradorian who has added so much to our cultural identity.
Kevin Kelly (Journalist and Broadcaster) - Dick Nolan put the music of Newfoundland and Labrador on the map. His accomplishments were many, and his music will stand the test of time. He was a true musical legend in this province, and I am devastated with the news of his passing. There will never be another one like him.
Priscilla Boutcher (Sister, former mayor of Corner Brook) - My brother had a good life. The family feels proud and he had to struggle to get there. Musicians in those days had a different life that they do today. Even in difficult times he came through but his heart was there and I think that speaks well for how he felt toward the music industry and the people that supported him. It's a sad day.
Mack Barfoot (Musician) - I traveled around Newfoundland and Canada with Dick Nolan's band and let me tell you that in the 1970s Dick Nolan was a star. There are very few people of his stature left. The great Newfoundland bands of today owe a great deal to people like Dick Nolan, John White and Harry Hibbs. They were the forerunners and pioneers of the great music legacy that we have in the province. It was a great thrill and a great adventure to be a part of Dick's band.
Denis Parker (MUSIC-NL Executive Director) - The guy's a legend. He has paved the way for making a living by performing music. And touring, he played all over North America. That's a great legacy and great inspiration
Sandy Morris (Musician) - He had a great sense of humour and a great sense of performance. All you had to do was hear the voice. He had a fabulous voice, he really did sound remarkably like Johnny Cash -- deep and powerful and resonant. In a room, he was like a magnet and we were the iron filings. His contribution to Newfoundland music was huge. He was our first export and the first to connect with expatriate Newfoundlanders.
Larry Foley (Musician) - When he opened his mouth you knew who was singing. You don't go "Gee, who's that?". You know its Dick Nolan and you always will.
Fergus O'Byrne (Musician) - He paved the way for a lot of other people who saw an opportunity to make a living at music. They saw Dick Nolan's success and thought well if he could make it there's a chance that I could make it.
Dave Elms (former radio host and musician) - Mr. Nolan had a way of making Newfoundlanders feel at home while they were several thousand miles away. He certainly charted his own course, made his own way and made his own sound. He opened a lot of roadways for people like Eddie Eastman, A. Frank Willis and lots of those guys who started out back then and are still going strong today. It wasn’t just Newfoundlanders, or Canadians, he touched base with a lot of the big American stars in country music. I think when you have somebody like that who touches base with a lot of these big stars and these big stars reciprocate and perform alongside them, that says something about their talent as well.
Cleve Best (Musician) - I think he was a great influence. He spent most of his time out of Newfoundland, but he did promote Newfoundland music in Toronto at places like the Horseshoe Club... Back then Dick was the second Johnny Cash. If you heard Dick Nolan singing, you wouldn’t know but it was Johnny Cash. It was unreal. Dick was a great entertainer. He had a great repertoire of songs.
Larry Delaney (editor of Country Music News) - He's probably a Canadian icon who never really got his just rewards -- he perhaps was just a little bit ahead of his time. In the Maritimes, he was considered 'the' entertainer. No question about it.
Krysta Rudofsky (TV Journalist) - Dick Nolan was a Newfoundland and Labrador legend. This gentle man from Corner Brook who took the world by storm leaves behind 50 years of music and more than 300 songs. His music lives on in the hearts of Newfoundlanders everywhere who felt a little closer to home because of Dick Nolan.
A. Frank Willis (Musician) - His biggest contribution to the music industry of Newfoundland was putting Newfoundland on the map in the mainland. He was one of the first to expose Newfoundland and he wasn't afraid to say he was from Newfoundland either back in the days when it was kind of taboo to say you were form here. Dick was always a Newfoundlander.
Loretta (Cormier) Johnson (Musician) - He's just such an icon. He paved such a path for the rest of us in this business. It's so nice today to see so many Newfoundland musicians paying their respects to a great person.
Norman Doyle (Politician) - I got to know him as a caring compassionate individual not only as a musician but a compassionate caring guy and he really, really impressed me.
Theresa O'Leary (Broadcaster) - His smile and voice will be missed by many especially those in the music industry in this province who were inspired to pursue their dreams because Nolan proved it could be done. That perhaps is his greatest legacy.
John Gavin (Music Promoter) - Dick Nolan was an East Coast Music Icon who was overshadowed for years by the Canadian Music Industry. He truly was a leader in the Newfoundland Music Industry, where hundreds of young artists followed his example in music. Where was the Canadian Music Industry all those years not supporting Dick and giving him credit for all that he had achieved in his lifetime? Now its too late, the man is gone to a higher place than all of us on earth, but his music will live on forever.
Wayne Tucker (Co-author of
Dick's Memoirs) - Dick was gifted with a unique
deep baritone voice that was well suited to country and Newfoundland
music. He released over 40 albums - far more than any other
Newfoundlander. He saw every person as belonging to one social
class. Whether a person was rich or poor, famous or unknown,
the lowest of the low or the highest of the high, Dick viewed all people
as being equal. That endeared him to people from
all walks of life and that characteristic was probably his greatest asset.
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