Legends of Massey Hall

To paraphrase Smokey Robinson: we’ve really got a hold on them. Certain performers delight in returning to Massey Hall again and again. Massey Hall Honours recipients Gordon Lightfoot and Blue Rodeo are the obvious examples, as is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (more than 1,000 appearances), for whom Massey was their primary venue until the construction of Roy Thomson Hall in 1982. Likewise, institutions like the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (more than 120 times), the Salvation Army Band and the Vienna Boys Choir often played Massey Hall more than once a year during the fi rst 100 years of the Hall’s history. Children’s entertainers Sharon, Lois & Bram would routinely book the hall for a week at a time for most of the ’80s and ’90s. Newer acts like The National, Feist and Sigur Ros have returned numerous times in the last 15 years. The Broadway musical Cats also commandeered Massey Hall for seven straight months in 1989. Here are the 22 performers who returned to Massey time and time again. (Numbers include multi-night runs; classical musicians appeared both as a featured performer with the TSO and solo.)

Gordon Lightfoot: 160
Sharon, Lois & Bram: 47
Blue Rodeo: 32
Nana Mouskouri: 25
Jann Arden: 24
Pinchas Zukerman: 25
Vladimir Ashkenazy: 24
Roger Whittaker: 20
Isaac Stern: 19
Andre Segovia: 17
Yehudi Menuhin: 17
Barenaked Ladies: 17
Bruce Cockburn: 16
Diana Krall: 11
Neil Young: 10
Sergei Rachmaninoff: 10 (first in 1899)
Pete Seeger: 10
Bryan Ferry: 10 (4 with Roxy Music, 6 solo)
Lou Reed: 9
The Tragically Hip: 9
Ella Fitzgerald: 8
Oscar Peterson: 6