Thomas William “Tom” Cochrane, OC (born May 14, 1953) was born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba, to Violet and Tuck Cochrane, a bush pilot. The family relocated to Acton, Ontario when Tom was four years old and later to Etobicoke, Ontario. He purchased his first guitar at age 11 by selling a toy train set. Cochrane attended Martingrove Collegiate Institute in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, Tom was performing in coffee houses across Canada. He eventually made his way to Los Angeles where he found a job writing theme music for the movie My Pleasure Is My Business, the Xaviera Hollander story. Unable to find steady income from music, Cochrane returned to Toronto where he drove a taxi cab and later took a job on a Caribbean cruise liner while he continued to hone his craft. In 1974, Cochrane released his debut LP entitled Hang On To Your Resistance.
In 1978, Cochrane joined the Canadian Rock Band Red Rider after a meeting at the El Mocambo Tavern in Toronto and served as their lead singer and main songwriter for more than ten years and 4 albums fronting the hits “Lunatic Fringe,” “White Hot” and “Avenue A” and “Human Race.” Red Rider included Ken Greer, Jeff Jones, Peter Boynton and Rob Baker. Bruce Allen managed the band from their debut until 1985. Cochrane recorded two albums as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider which garnered the hits “Boy Inside The Man,” “Big League” and “Victory Day.” In 2002, Cochrane reunited with his former Red Rider bandmates Greer and Jones and continues to perform with them today.
Already a household name in Canada, 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. Subsequent studio releases were mixed in new interpretations of his catalog on the acoustic Songs Of The Circling Spirit, and a recording with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, Cochrane released Take It Home, his first album of new music in 9 years. In 2006, the group Rascal Flatts charted in the top 10 of the Hot 100 with a cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway,” which they recorded for the Pixar film Cars. Although “Life Is a Highway” was not 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.” Cochrane’s massive body of music and energetic live shows have established him as one of Canada’s most treasured artists.
As a member of Red Rider and a solo artist Cochrane has won seven Juno Awards. He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, an Officer of the Order of Canada, has an Honorary Doctorate from Brandon University and is an Honorary Colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In September 2009, he was inducted onto the Canadian Walk of Fame. On June 12, 2012, Cochrane received the Key To The City in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
CHARITY and HUMANITARIANISM
Cochrane has been a longtime supporter of World Vision and has traveled to Africa several times. He has also served as the Honorary Chairman of the SuperWalk for Parkinsons and has been a proud supporter of WSPA, War Child, Amnesty International, and the Make Poverty History campaign.
On January 13, 2005, Cochrane, his wife Kathleene and Alex Lifeson spearheaded Canada For Asia, a benefit concert in support of tsunami relief in Asia. 150 Canadian stars appeared including Anne Murray, Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Oscar Peterson, Celine Dion, Rush and Barenaked Ladies. The concert, which was produced and televised by CBC TV, raised over $4 million in pledges.
On July 2, 2005, Cochrane kicked off the Canadian edition of the Live 8 benefit concerts in Barrie, Ontario performing his hits “Life Is A Highway” and “No Regrets.” The Live 8 concerts took place in the G8 states and in South Africa to pressure world leaders to drop the debt of the world’s poorest nations, increase and improve aid, and negotiate fair trade rules in the interest of the poorest countries.
On April 2013, Tom Cochrane received the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the 2013 Juno Awards gala dinner.
On May 2014, Tom Cochrane received the Henry H. Knowles Humanitarian Award from OPSEU
An avid golfer, pilot, and hockey buff, Cochrane currently lives in Oakville, Ontario. 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. Tom and his wife Kathleene have two daughters, Cody and Evanne. Cochrane continues to tour and perform in Canada where he remains a popular live act.