On June 2, 1983, Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers was traveling on a flight from DFW to Toronto when the lavatory of the airplane he was traveling on caught fire. The plane made an emergency landing, where 23 people managed to escape the burning airplane. 23 others lost their lives, including Stan Rogers. He was 33 years old. The above video was taken five days before his death.
The above video showcases how difficult it is to overstate the influence Stan's music has on biggest fans. Stan was never the farmer he sang about, plowing the fields at 4 AM. Stan was never the fisherman, the sailor, or the laborer. But he became them through his songs. The live video concerts clips that survive are few. Here's Stan perfectly capturing mundane office life in "White Collar Holler".
Directly to Stan's right in the video above is Stan's older brother, Garnet Rogers. The video below is one of my favorites: Barrett's Privateers being performed around the table by a bunch of Canadians who like to sing shanties and folk music. Garnet is on Stan's left here.
In "At Last, I'm Ready for Christmas", Stan created a Christmas song so wholesome, unique, and relatable, it feels more like a memory than a song.
At Last, I'm Ready for ChristmasStan Rogers
In "The Idiot", Stan so succinctly described the internal conflict of an oppressive labor system you'd swore he'd done it for years.
The IdiotStan Rogers
45 YearsStan Rogers
It's only proper to close with Canada's alternate national anthem, "Northwest Passage", in which Stan finds a perfect way to mold the cultural history of the land with those who travel the land today. It's a connection I've made in my mind many times in my years of driving 1,000 miles to Denver from Wisconsin and back.
Stan Rogers - Northwest PassageStan Rogers