Stan Rogers

Stanley Allison “Stan” Rogers (November 29, 1949 – June 2, 1983) was a Canadian folk musician and songwriter.

Rogers was noted for his rich, baritone voice and his finely-crafted, traditional-sounding songs which were frequently inspired by Canadian history and the daily lives of working people, especially those from the fishing villages of the Maritime provinces and, later, the farms of the Canadian prairies and Great Lakes.

Rogers died alongside 22 other passengers (23 fatalities in all) most likely of smoke inhalation on June 2, 1983, while travelling on Air Canada Flight 797 (a McDonnell Douglas DC-9) after performing at the Kerrville Folk Festival. The airliner was flying from Dallas, Texas to Toronto and Montreal when an in-flight fire forced it to make an emergency landing at the Greater Cincinnati Airport.

Smoke was filling the cabin from an unknown source, and once on the ground, the plane’s doors were opened to allow passengers to escape. Halfway through the evacuation of the plane, the oxygen rushing in from outside caused a flash fire. Rogers was one of the passengers still on the plane at the time of the fire. Eyewitness reports published at the time said that a man of Rogers’ height and build escaped the plane, but then turned and went back inside, apparently to assist in the rescue of others.

His remains were cremated and his ashes scattered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia.

He sang songs that the average person could relate to.

WHITE COLLAR HOLLER
Well, I rise up every morning at a quarter to eight
Some woman who’s my wife tells me not to be late
I kiss the kids goodbye, I can’t remember their names
And week after week, it’s always the same
And it’s Ho, boys, can’t you code it, and program it right
Nothing ever happens in the life of mine
I’m hauling up the data on the Xerox line
Then it’s code in the data, give the keyboard a punch
Then cross-correlate and break for some lunch
Correlate, tabulate, process and screen
Program, printout, regress to the mean
Then it’s home again, eat again, watch some TV
Make love to my woman at ten-fifty-three
I dream the same dream when I’m sleeping at night
I’m soaring over hills like an eagle in flight

Someday I’m gonna give up all the buttons and things
I’ll punch that time clock till it can’t ring
Burn up my necktie and set myself free
Cause no’one’s gonna fold, bend or mutilate me.

Stan’s version of Farewell to Nova Scotia is the best rendition out there.

The sun was setting in the west
The birds were singing on every tree
All nature seemed inclined to rest
But still there was no rest for me

Farewell Nova Scotia
The sea-bound coast
Let your mountains dark and dreary be
For when I am far away
On your briny ocean tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh
Or a wish for me

I grieve to leave my native land
I grieve to leave my comrades all
And my parents whom I held so dear
And the bonny, bonny lassie
That I do adore

The drums they do beat
And the wars do alarm
The Captain calls, I must obey
So farewell, farewell
To my Nova Scotia home
For it’s early in the morning
That I’m far, far away

I had three brothers and they are at rest
Their arms are folded on their chests
But a poor, simple sailor just like me
Must be tossed and driven
On the deep, blue sea

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