Remembering Tom Harrison, Vancouver’s rock critic of record

Tom Harrison, who wrote about the Vancouver music scene for nearly four decades as a rock critic for The Province newspaper, has died.

He started out as the music director of UBC’s campus radio station before a stint at the Georgia Straight.  However, he was best known for his time at The Province, charting the careers of local acts large and small during his 38 years there.

Bryan Adams was among those on Twitter paying his respects on Wednesday night, identifying Harrison as “one of the very first critics and supporters of my work.”

Harrison drew upon his years of experience when he released his e-book Tom Harrison’s the History of Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll in 2015.

“It just made sense that I would write about something that was close to me.  And that was the development of Vancouver rock n roll,” he told CityNews.  “I basically was here from the beginning.  I saw it all on the sidelines.  And so I was able to report on it.”

Read More: Longtime critic details Vancouver’s untold rock history

Harrison helped put Vancouver on the music map, and rretired from daily journalism in 2017.

“I had read a lot of histories [about the] development of Canadian rock ‘n’ roll.  And they all started in Toronto, when Ronnie Hawkins came up from Arkansas with his band and Vancouver developed completely differently from that, and no one had told that story.”

He suffered a stroke 22 years ago. Although he recovered to a large degree, it left his physical health somewhat compromised, according to his family. Tom Harrison was 70 years old.

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