Tom Cochrane

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Tom Cochrane
Cochrane in 2008
Cochrane in 2008
Background information
Born (1953-05-14) May 14, 1953 (age 70)
Lynn Lake, Manitoba, Canada
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresHard rock, heartland rock, country
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1973–present
LabelsCapitol, Universal Music
Member of

Thomas William Cochrane OC OM (/ˈkɒkrən/ KOK-rən; born May 14, 1953) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician best known as the frontman for the rock band Red Rider and for his work as a solo singer-songwriter.[1] Cochrane has won eight Juno Awards.[2] He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame,[3] an officer of the Order of Canada,[4] and has an honorary doctorate from Brandon University. In September 2009, he was inducted onto the Canadian Walk of Fame.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Red Rider[edit]

After meeting at the El Mocambo tavern in Toronto, Cochrane joined the Canadian rock band Red Rider in 1978 and served as their lead singer and main songwriter for more than ten years. Red Rider included Ken Greer, Jeff Jones, Peter Boynton and Rob Baker. Bruce Allen managed the band from their debut until 1985. Cochrane recorded six studio albums with Red Rider plus a live album, a best-of album, and a box set. By 1986, the band was billed as "Tom Cochrane & Red Rider". He would later refer to this period of his career as a stretch of "manageable success" before the release of Mad Mad World.[6]

In 2002, Cochrane reunited with his former Red Rider bandmates Greer and Jones and continues to perform with them.

Solo career[edit]

Cochrane performing in 2003

Already a household name in Canada from his time with Red Rider, Cochrane launched his solo career in 1991 with the release of the song "Life Is a Highway". The single became a global success and was followed by the release of his Mad Mad World album, which would reach the six million mark in worldwide sales. The albums Ragged Ass Road, Songs of a Circling Spirit, X-Ray Sierra and No Stranger followed.


An avid golfer, pilot, and hockey buff, Cochrane lives in Oakville, Ontario, with his wife Kathleene. He spends summers at his cottage/studio on the shores of Georgian Bay in Northern Ontario and winters part-time at his home outside of Austin, Texas. Cochrane and his wife have two daughters, Cody and Evanne. Cochrane continues to tour and perform in Canada. In 2006, the group Rascal Flatts charted in the top 10 of the Hot 100 with a cover of "Life Is a Highway", which they recorded for the Pixar film Cars. Although the song was not originally released to country radio, several country stations began playing the song, causing it to chart within the top 20 of Hot Country Songs. Chris Ledoux also had a country hit with "Life Is A Highway".

In October, 2016, Cochrane celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his Mad Mad World album with an announcement of the release of a special edition of the album, featuring a demo recording of "Love is a Highway", the working title of "Life is a Highway", as well as a second disc featuring a live performance from a 1992 Chicago stop on the tour supporting the album. In 2017, he toured with Meghan Patrick and Nice Horse,[7] and released a coffee table book about the album.[8]

In 2016, the Manitoba provincial government renamed a section of a highway near his hometown of Lynn Lake after the hit "Life Is a Highway". A stretch of Highway 391 was renamed Tom Cochrane's Life is a Highway.[9]


Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction: Cochrane was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2003 for outstanding contribution to the greater recognition of Canadian music.[10] The ceremony took place April 5, 2003, at Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec. The following night, Cochrane was honoured for his induction in a speech by Jeff Healey at the Juno Awards at the Corel Centre (now Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa). Cochrane closed the show by performing a medley of his hits and was joined onstage by host Shania Twain for the final song, "Life Is a Highway".[11]

Order of Canada: In April 2008, Cochrane received one of the highest honours for a Canadian citizen when he was invested as an officer of the Order of Canada (the level companion of the Order of Canada is the highest honour, and several people originally invested as officers have been promoted to companions for continued contributions to charity and the arts, among other fields).[12] Cochrane was honoured for a lifetime of charity work, his contribution to the arts and for being unabashedly Canadian.

Canada's Walk of Fame: In September 2009, Cochrane was inducted onto Canada's Walk of Fame.[13] The induction was highlighted by a two-hour nationally televised gala at Toronto's Four Season's Center for the Performing Arts. Anne Murray hosted the event which also included the inductions of Kim Cattrall, Raymond Burr, Blue Rodeo, Dsquared2, Howie Mandel, Robert Munsch and Chantal Petitclerc.

Honorary colonel: In November 2007, Cochrane was formally invested as an honorary colonel (HCol) by the Royal Canadian Air Force's 409 "Nighthawks" Tactical Fighter Squadron. As part of his investiture weekend, Cochrane experienced his second flight in a CF-18.

Honorary doctorate: In May 2005, Cochrane received an honorary doctorate from Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba. In addition, musician James Ehnes, journalist Henry Champ and actress Shirley Douglas received honorary doctorates from the university at the spring convocation held May 28, 2005.

Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame Cochrane was inducted on May 9, 2014, Gil Moore formerly of the band Triumph made the presentation.[14]

Canadian Music Industry Humanitarian Award: In March 2005, Cochrane received the Humanitarian Award at the Canadian Music Industry Association's (CMIA) gala dinner in Toronto during the annual Canadian Music Week Festival.

Allan Waters Humanitarian Award: In April 2013, Cochrane received the award at the 2013 Juno Awards gala dinner.

Henry H. Knowles Humanitarian Award: In May 2014, Cochrane received this award from OPSEU.

Order of Manitoba: In July 2015 Cochrane received the Order Of Manitoba.[15]

On October 31, 2016, the provincial legislature of Manitoba announced a 322-kilometre section of Provincial Road 391 connecting Lynn Lake and Thompson would be designated Tom Cochrane's Life Is A Highway.[16]




Compilation albums (solo)[edit]

With Red Rider[edit]

Compilation albums (with Red Rider)[edit]



Year Title Chart peak Album

1973 "You're Driving Me Crazy (Faith Healers)" 71 Hang on to Your Resistance
1974 "Hang On To Your Resistance"
"I Wish I Could See You Now"
1975 "Gabriella" My Pleasure Is My Business soundtrack
"Softly Walk Away" Non-album singles
1976 "Sail On"
1991 "Life Is a Highway" 1 6 6 2 Mad Mad World
"No Regrets" 3 7 26
1992 "Sinking Like a Sunset" 2
"Mad Mad World" 25
"Washed Away" 7 88
"Bigger Man" 45
1995 "I Wish You Well" 1 101 Ragged Ass Road
"Wildest Dreams" 5
1996 "Dreamer's Dream" 4
"Crawl" 11
1997 "Lunatic Fringe" 70 Songs of a Circling Spirit
"Good Man Feeling Bad" 46
1999 "I Wonder" 86 X-Ray Sierra
"Willie Dixon Said" 30
"Stonecutter's Arms"
"Heartbreak Girl"
2005 "Christmas All the Time" Non-album single
2006 "Didn't Mean" No Stranger
"The Party's Not Over"
2007 "Out of My Head"
"Northern Star"
2014 "Sunday Afternoon Hang" Take It Home
2018 "Big League" Non-album charity single
"—" denotes a single that didn't chart

With Red Rider[edit]

Year Title Chart peak Album
1979 "White Hot" 20 48 Don't Fight It
1980 "Don't Fight It" 75 103
1981 "What Have You Got to Do" 42 As Far as Siam
"Lunatic Fringe" 11
1983 "Human Race" 29 11 Neruda
"Power (Strength in Numbers)" 13
"Crack the Sky (Breakaway)" 39
1984 "Young Thing, Wild Dreams (Rock Me)" 44 71 13 Breaking Curfew
"Breaking Curfew" 93
1986 "Boy Inside the Man" 25 17 Tom Cochrane and Red Rider
"The Untouchable One" 70 48
1987 "One More Time (Some Old Habits)" 85
"Ocean Blues (Emotion Blue)" 88
1988 "Big League" 4 9 Victory Day
1989 "Good Times" 2
"Victory Day" 32
"Different Drummer" 67
"White Hot" (Live) 50 The Symphony Sessions
1990 "Bird on a Wire" (Live) 88
2002 "Just Like Ali" 39 Trapeze: The Collection
"Pictures from the Edge"
"—" denotes a single that didn't chart

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jeff Bateman. "Thomas William Cochrane". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  2. ^ "Artist Summary | the JUNO Awards". Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Canadian Music Hall of Fame[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "43 Canadians receive the order of Canada". CBC News. April 11, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  5. ^ Digital Journal September 12, 2009, by Andrew Moran, "On The Scene at Canada's Walk of Fame"
  6. ^ Friend, David (January 5, 2017). "Tom Cochrane reflects on success of 'Life is a Highway'". The Toronto Star/The Canadian Press. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  7. ^ Entertainment (February 24, 2017). "Nice Horse, Tom Cochrane take stage in Cranbrook". Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "MMW25 — Tom Cochrane". Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  9. ^ "'Life is a Highway' in Manitoba: Stretch of road honours Tom Cochrane". October 31, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  10. ^ "Tom eee – Canadian Music Hall Of Fame". Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  11. ^ "Tom Cochrane - 2003". Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
  12. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada". Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  13. ^ "Tom Cochrane". Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "Tom Cochrane | Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame Inductee | Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards". Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "Jonathan Toews, Tom Cochrane among new Order of Manitoba members". CBC News. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  16. ^ "Province of Manitoba | News Releases | Tom Cochrane Honoured with 'Life Is A' Highway Designation on PR 391 from Thompson to Lynn Lake". Province of Manitoba. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  17. ^ "Tom Cochrane in the RPM Weekly archives". RPM. July 17, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2022 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  18. ^ "Tom Cochrane Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  19. ^ "Tom Cochrane Chart History: Mainstream Rock". Billboard. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  20. ^ "Discography Tom Cochrane". Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  21. ^ For "Just Like Ali": "Canadian Digital Song Sales". Billboard. November 22, 2003. Retrieved December 11, 2018.

External links[edit]