‘Hockey Night in Canada’ theme songwriter Dolores Claman dies at 94

TORONTO — Dolores Claman, the woman behind the catchy song that introduced the “Hockey Night in Canada” shows, has died at 94.

Claman’s daughter, Madeleine Morris, said on Saturday her mother died in Spain this week, about two years after being diagnosed with dementia.

“She was of old age and she had an amazing life,” Morris told The Canadian Press. “I get in tears from time to time, but most of all I’m grateful that she’s at peace.”

Claman was born in Vancouver, grew up with an opera singer for a mother and studied at the University of Southern California, before being accepted at the Juilliard School in New York to train as a concert pianist. said Morris.

By the time she graduated, Claman decided she’d rather be a composer and had developed a love of jazz, Morris recalled.

After graduating and the end of World War II, her mother moved to England and met and married Richard Morris.

They then moved to Toronto and co-wrote thousands of jingles, including “A Place To Stand” with its popular lyrics “Ontari-ari-ari-o” for the 1967 Expo.

Claman was working for Maclaren Advertising in 1968 when she was hired to write the theme song that opened the “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts.

She never expected the song, often called Canada’s second anthem, to be so successful and said it wasn’t until 10 years after the song’s debut that she really realized its popularity.

“Some of my son’s friends at school thought I was amazing. They came to the door to see me. And it just got more and more popular,” Claman told The Canadian Press in 2016.

“I wanted my name on it because I was watching hockey and at the end they say ‘lighting up’ and ‘best boy’. I phoned CBC and wrote someone (over there). They didn’t want to give it to me, they saw no reason.

She eventually negotiated the credit before the licensing rights to the beloved song were sold to CTV in 2008, when Claman and the music agency that represented her couldn’t negotiate a deal with the sports division. from CBC.

Claman was always pleased with the song, but the attention it garnered seemed to surprise her, Morris said.

“She was pretty stunned when people started making a big fuss about it,” Morris said.

“I remember seeing her listening to a recording much later in her life… She was analyzing it and she said, ‘I’m really proud of it. It was good, it was good for what it was. should have been.’ “

The song earned him a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

Morris recalls his mother always having a deep love for music and said she often analyzed and commented on chord progressions or other elements of songs.

She also said her mother was a “strong feminist” and said sexism in the advertising industry never seemed to faze her.

“I just did what I do. Most of the men (who) worked with me were very nice,” Claman said in 2016, explaining that she was one of the few women in her industry.

“Rarely have I had issues with them not wanting to work with a woman – well yes, a few times, but that’s fair enough. I was lucky I didn’t care at the time. .”

But Morris recalled at least one incident, when Claman went out to dinner decades ago with a client in Toronto. The restaurant refused to serve Claman because women were supposed to wear skirts and dresses. She wore an emerald green top and flared pants.

“She just stood there…in front of the butler and the whole table and just unzipped her pants and took them off,” Morris said.

The family will scatter his ashes in the park and in the Mediterranean because Morris said his mother loved to travel and admired the gardens at Regent’s Park in the UK.

— with files from David Friend in Toronto

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 17, 2021.

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