Gordon Lightfoot Forums

Gordon Lightfoot Forums (http://www.corfid.com/vbb//index.php)
-   General Discussion (http://www.corfid.com/vbb//forumdisplay.php?f=3)
-   -   Red Shea has died-June 2008 (http://www.corfid.com/vbb//showthread.php?t=18595)

vlmagee 06-10-2008 12:00 PM

Red Shea has died-June 2008
I just heard from a friend that Red passed away yesterday, suddenly. I don't know anything more.

charlene 06-10-2008 01:26 PM

Re: Red Shea
very sad to hear..

Yuri 06-10-2008 02:23 PM

Re: Red Shea
Very sad indeed Val. Will be looking out for further news.

Jesse Joe 06-10-2008 02:45 PM

Re: Red Shea
Another great guitarist gone. This is very sad indeed. No one can ever play the guitar parts on those early Lightfoot LP's, the way Red Shea mastered them.

jj 06-10-2008 04:24 PM

Re: Red Shea
1 Attachment(s)
a bit more from the Lightfoot site:


my sympathies to his son in law, other family listed, to Gord and friends

perhaps of little consolation at present but I am glad to hear his musical genes live on and that he did make a contribution to Gord's 'final' album

the last photo I saw of Red was from years ago in this 2001 Sounding Board article exerpt

thanks for the post, Valerie

podunklander 06-10-2008 05:06 PM

Re: Red Shea
So sad to learn of this

fezo 06-10-2008 05:54 PM

Re: Red Shea
Oh, I am very sorry to hear this. Was lucky enough to have seen gord when Red was still touring. I treasure the memory.

joveski 06-10-2008 06:01 PM

Re: Red Shea
i loved the way he had an effortless look on his face while playing those complicated guitar parts from what i've seen on youtube... R.I.P Red

joveski 06-10-2008 06:28 PM

Re: Red Shea
i loved the way he had an effortless look on his face while playing those complicated guitar parts from what i've seen on youtube... R.I.P Red

Borderstone 06-10-2008 07:57 PM

Re: Red Shea
Although I was not born and then just a baby when the early Lightfoot albums were made,it makes it no less sad for me to hear the news.

In the past nearly 7 years,those early albums & songs have just been mesmerizing. That's certainly in no small part to Red Shea.

It's quite ironic for just two weeks ago I listened to the "The Way I Feel" album.

Rest in peace Red. Thanks for accompanying Gordon on his journey to fame.

Melissa 06-10-2008 11:19 PM

Re: Red Shea
This is very sad news. I had heard that Red was in ill health, but did not know any details.

I will never forget having the opportunity to meet Red, at the May, 2005, Massey shows. It was just after the concert ended. Several of us were standing in the aisle, visiting. Red passed by us and someone called out to him. He greeted them and, with that, several others recognized him and went over to meet him. We waited our turn and did the same. I shook his hand and told him what a pleasure it was to meet him, after all these years. I thanked him for all the wonderful music. He was very gracious and appreciative. I never had the opportunity to see Gord in concert during the "Red" years, so I missed out on that. But I felt really lucky to have gotten to meet Red. Now, I'm even more grateful that I had the chance to meet Red in 2005 - and that I got to meet him right there, at Massey Hall.

What an absolute master of the guitar he was. Rest in peace, Mr. Shea.


Nightingale 06-11-2008 01:36 AM

Re: Red Shea
Thank You for the nice story about Red.
I love the early music and Red Shea's guitar is amazing in it...stunning and brilliant!

I am very sad to hear of his passing. My prayers for his family and friends.

spocksbrain 06-11-2008 10:12 AM

Re: Red Shea
While Terry Clements seems to be the master of the understated guitar lead, Red Shea seems to have been the master of intriguing nuance. Listening to Sunday Concert, it is easy to hear why Red's playing fit so well with the three piece arrangements. The atmosphere at those shows was just right. Red's licks added a touch of sensitivity to the songs. He was an unusual player for sure.

If you listen to the Filmore show, even though the mix hides Red's playing somewhat, those songs from that era fit Red's playing style just right. When Lightfoot's style changed in the early 70s, it was time for Red to take a back seat, since his style lent itself more to the folk type of playing. Some wonderful exceptions are his electric lead on Sundown and the beautiful backing on IYCRMM. His second leads on Gord's Gold were also fantastic. While Terry was taking his place as the more subdued lead player, Red was still leaving his mark on the Lightfoot sound.

Not that I would ever compare myself to either, but both Terry and Red have had significant influence on my playing. I am quite saddened by Red's passing. Fortunately, his musical life lives on in the grooves of Lightfoot records, finely crafted, well played.

vlmagee 06-11-2008 12:55 PM

Re: Red Shea
Perhaps Red's last autograph, and the story behind it:



For anyone here who was at my 2003 Lighthead party before the Saturday Caffe Lena gig, Mac and his wife were there, jamming with some of our own including Cathy.

charlene 06-11-2008 01:07 PM

Re: Red Shea
photo link at site above.

RED SHEA Accomplished Guitarist. Passed away surrounded by family Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at the age of 70 of pancreatic cancer with a strong fight to the end. Loving husband to Lynn (Claremont) for 44 years. Devoted and loving dad to his three children Colleen (Adam), Scott (Layla) and Brett (Michelle) and loving grandpa to Reid, Brynn, Alia and Kiera, and of course Dexter their dog. A special thanks to all our friends who have supported us through this very difficult time. Visitation at Thompson Funeral Home, 530 Industrial Pkwy. S., Aurora, on Thursday from 7-9 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Bloomington Side Rd., Aurora. on Friday at 11 a.m.

lighthead2toe 06-11-2008 02:50 PM

Re: Red Shea
A very sad occasion this is indeed. I was aware that Red was ill though it still comes as a shock when the reality hits home. But his legacy will live on that's for sure. It must be tough on Gord losing such a long time friend. My heartfelt condolences go out to all friends and his family. Ron Jones.

vlmagee 06-11-2008 03:31 PM

Re: Red Shea
Actually the pancratic cancer was just diagnosed a few weeks ago. I think his death was sudden and unexpected. His overall health issues were not related to his death, as far as I know.

catrinka 06-11-2008 04:33 PM

Re: Red Shea
My thoughts are with Red's family and his friends. It is always sad to hear such news.

Having lost my father to pancreatic cancer, I can tell you that often it is slow-growing and usually not diagnosed until very late...and is always terminal. People with pancreatic cancer often experience "health issues" which do not get associated with the cancer until it is finally found. It is quite likely that Red had been feeling unwell for quite some time, but the doctors couldn't pinpoint the source.

I offer my heartfelt sympathies to Red's family, friends and fans.

BILLW 06-11-2008 08:23 PM

Re: Red Shea
my condolences, very sad.


Tim 06-11-2008 09:30 PM

Re: Red Shea
A loss of a good friend is always tough, even if it might have been somewhat expected. From Gord's standpoint, to be in the middle of a stretch of scheduled tour dates, it must be tough to break away during life events like this. However, from the media announcement I noticed that Red's memorial service will be on Friday. I think, from Gord's schedule, he has an open day on Friday. It would not surprise me that Gord will make every effort to be there, even though it's sandwiched between two appearances in the U.S. It's got to be tough on Gord, but I know he will receive as much support as possible from his caring fans.

Calgary Dave 06-11-2008 11:45 PM

Re: Red Shea
Hi all. My Dad and I were very close to Red and his family. Red was my Dad's very best friend. We flew out to see Red just a couple of weeks ago. Red was laughing and joking, all the while in extreme pain. One of the last photo's of Red: My Dad on the right.


RM 06-12-2008 12:03 AM

Re: Red Shea
Calgary Dave,

Do you happen to know how your father and Mr.Shea became friends ?

Calgary Dave 06-12-2008 12:07 AM

Re: Red Shea
They both grew up in Prince Albert, Sask. Red was a few years younger than my Dad. They ended up meeting through mutual friends and both had a love for music. My Dad was a piano/trumpet player. They became best friends ever since. My Dad has always been a bit of an "eccentric"...often misunderstood. He always said he felt like an "alien in this world, and Red is the only one that understands me". Almost daily they would phone each other about news items, different music "riffs" they'd heard. My Dad said today "I can't even listen to music now without thinking about Red" He said "My best friend is gone...I just feel lonely now"

RM 06-12-2008 12:21 AM

Re: Red Shea

Originally Posted by Calgary Dave (Post 139266)
He always said he felt like an "alien in this world, and Red is the only one that understands me".

That's a true friend.

Condolences to you and your father, and thanks for the insights.

ELizabeth 06-12-2008 01:06 AM

Re: Red Shea
I, like so many Corfidians, feel a great sense of loss with the passing of Red Shea. GL has lost two close friends this year...sad also. It is bittersweet but wonderful that the sound of his guitar will live on in Gord's albums. His playing on the early CTR is etched in my memory. He follows John Stewart into that special place God reserves for musicians.

jj 06-12-2008 02:21 AM

Re: Red Shea
1 Attachment(s)
thank you for what you've shared, dave...the recent photo will be treasured by all

I also love his smile in the Toronto Star photo...the very best to you & dad

BILLW 06-12-2008 06:18 AM

Re: Red Shea
Thank you for sharing Dave ! Give our best to your Dad.


Jesse Joe 06-12-2008 08:07 AM

Re: Red Shea
Thanks for sharing this great photo of Red and your Dad Calgary Dave.

vlmagee 06-12-2008 08:33 AM

Re: Red Shea
The Toronto Star has a nice obit in today's paper here:


By:Greg QuillEntertainment Reporter, Published on Thu Jun 12 2008

Renowned Canadian guitarist Laurice Milton "Red" Shea, who helped define the groundbreaking musical styles of legendary Canadian folk artists Gordon Lightfoot and Ian and Sylvia Tyson and others, died Tuesday morning after being diagnosed two weeks ago with pancreatic cancer. He was 70.

A self-taught musician, Shea is noted in the Canadian Encyclopedia as one of Canada's most influential folk guitarists, along with Amos Garrett and David Rea. He played with the Good Brothers, hosted his own TV show, and was a staple on Canadian country music star Tommy Hunter's CBC-TV show.

"Red was irrepressible, he had boundless energy, and he was always ready to keep on picking when the rest of us were heading off to bed," Sylvia Tyson said.

Shea backed the Tysons in the pioneering country rock outfit Great Speckled Bird, and was musical director of the national CTV variety program, The Ian Tyson Show, in the 1970s. He also recorded with Ian in those years.

"He was the kind of guitarist I really love - inventive and rhythm-driven," Sylvia added. "And he was always telling jokes - great jokes."

Shea is universally credited with having been Lightfoot's most distinctive and original supporting player, adding his lucid filigree lead runs seamlessly into the famed singer's trademark finger-picking patterns to produce fluid, layered textures and crystal overtones that enhanced enhancing Lightfoot's recordings from 1966 through 1975. Shea was part of Lightfoot's touring band till 1971 and was an in-demand as a guitar teacher.

"He influenced so many guitarists," singer and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Good said. "He was the reason so many of us picked up guitars in the late 1960s and 70s and started fooling around with finger styles.

"(American folk-rock star) Dan Fogelberg dedicated on of his albums to Red, and the Guess Who paid tribute to him by naming him in their song `Lightfoot'."

Also an in-demand guitar teacher, Shea gave lessons "for many years" to Good's son, Travis, a member of Toronto neo-country rock band the Sadies.

"He instilled in Travis - much against his will - the importance of learning to read and playing classical styles. I can hear so much of Red in the Sadies.

"He was a unique musician, and always a student. He was always listening to other great guitarists and extending their ideas. Red was also an amazing human being, immediately likeable. He was more than a friend to us - he was like family."

Shea had a regular feature spot from the late 1970s till 1992 on the long-running country music program, The Tommy Hunter Show, ad-libbing tall stories and handing Hunter a guitar for his next song.

"His parts were never written, and we never knew what the joke was until the punch line came," Canada's "Country Gentleman" said. "He was a great and original musical stylist, but to me he was also a great television personality, a really good entertainer. He was a very happy and upbeat guy, a magnificent player and a generous teacher. He'll be sadly missed."

Shea is survived by his wife Lynn and children Colleen, Scott and Brett.

Visitation will take place at Thompson Funeral Home, 530 Industrial Pkwy. S., Aurora, Thursday from 7-9 p.m. A memorial servicewill be held at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Bloomington Side Rd., Aurora, Friday, at 11 a.m.

Addition: Another article:


Calgary Dave 06-12-2008 08:48 AM

Re: Red Shea
A little fact about the obit picture in the Star; they cropped it...that smile is from him holding one of his grandkids, I think it was Brynn, when she was a baby. That was a few yrs ago.

charlene 06-12-2008 10:47 AM

Re: Red Shea

Red Shea, 70
Musician was Gordon Lightfoot's 'ultimate extra guitar'

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

June 12, 2008 at 12:37 AM EDT

TORONTO — Musician Red Shea, who played lead guitar with Gordon Lightfoot and later with Ian and Sylvia Tyson, has died of pancreatic cancer in Aurora, Ont. Mr. Shea, whose real name was Laurice Milton Shea, was 70.

With his brother Les Shea and bassist Bill Gibbs, Mr. Shea formed the Red and Les Trio in the late 1950s. They played on Country Hoedown, a popular musical variety show that launched in 1956 and ran for nine years on CBC.

It was on Country Hoedown, in 1960, that Mr. Shea met Gordon Lightfoot, who was a member of the Singin' Swingin' Eight. Mr. Shea began playing lead guitar in The Lightfoot Band in 1965 and “was a pivotal figure” in Mr. Lightfoot's early career, according to music journalist Larry Leblanc. He appeared on many albums including, The Way I Feel, Did She Mention My Name, Sit Down Young Stranger, Summer Side of Life, Sundown, Cold on the Shoulder and Gord's Gold.

Dedicated Lightfoot fans still talk about Mr. Shea's “breathtaking” guitar solo in The Canadian Railroad Trilogy, a performance that was recorded live at Massey Hall in 1969 and released on the album, Sunday Concert.

Mr. Shea left the band in 1971, and was replaced by Terry Clements, although he returned briefly for a time in 1975.

“Red Shea was the ultimate extra guitar on Gordon Lightfoot's records and stage performances,” guitarist Randy Bachman, formerly of The Guess Who and The Bachman Turner Overdrive, said in an e-mail Wednesday. “He augmented every song with some sparkle and magic and made Gordon sound and look good.”

It was Mr. Shea, he said, who inspired him to try his hand at songwriting. “He is mentioned in the song Lightfoot which Burton Cummings and I wrote after seeing Gordon, Red and John Stockfish at a night club in Montreal back in the sixties. It was an evening of magical, all-original Canadian music and it inspired Burton and I to write our own music” he said. “Red will be missed, but remembered every time one of those songs is played on the radio,” said Mr. Bachman, who hosts Vinyl Tap on CBC Radio.

In 1972, Mr. Shea replaced guitarist David Wilcox in Great Speckled Bird, the country rock band that Ian and Sylvia Tyson had formed in 1969. The band played on the weekly show that Mr. Tyson hosted on CTV in the early 1970s and also toured with the Tysons until they broke up as a couple and an act in 1977. “He was a dear friend and I will miss him very much,” Mr. Tyson said through his manager Wednesday. “We always had a lot of laughter together in our friendship.”

His former wife, Sylvia Tyson, echoed those sentiments. “Aside from being a great player, which he certainly was, he was just great to be around,” she said. “Red always had a joke or a story or a pun or something that he would come up that would just keep things on an up level.”

Mr. Shea also played with The Good Brothers and did a long gig in the band on The Tommy Hunter Show, which had replaced Country Hoedown in 1965 and ran until 1992. “ The Tommy Hunter Show was good for him,” said Ms. Tyson. “He had found it increasingly hard to be on the road. It wore him down too much. He was basically a home guy.”

In more recent years, Mr. Shea taught guitar.

He is survived by his wife, Lynn (née Claremont), three children and four grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Aurora.

charlene 06-12-2008 10:53 AM

Re: Red Shea

RIP Red Shea (June 10, 2008) Canadian Guitarist Played With Gordon Lightfoot
Posted by themusicsover on June 11, 2008

Red Shea
1938(?) - June 10, 2008

fyimusic.ca is reporting that Canadian guitar wizard, Red Shea as died:

One of Canada’s most respected guitarists, Red Shea’s inventive and often times complex finger picking held many fellow guitarists in awe. His contributions to the met as a member of the [Gordon] Lightfoot “sound” have been a source of discussion in music circles for years, many arguing that his departure from the band altered the melodic structure and fluid ensemble performance that characterized much of Lightfoot’s best work. The highly respected dobro player and guitarist passed away Tuesday, June 10, at the age of 70 of pancreatic cancer. Red first came to prominence with “Moon Boogie Twist”, an early and long out-of-print Canadian rock classic. He joined CBC TV show Music Hop in the early ‘60s, an after-school show modeled after Dick Clark’s sanitized American Bandstand. Staff announcer Alex Trebek, who also worked as the quizmaster on Reach For The Top, presided over the show (and would be replaced by an up-start disc jockey by the name of Dave Mickie). The house band was Norm Amadio and the Rhythm Rockers, comprised of Norman Amadio on piano, John Stockfish on bass, Red Shea on guitar, Don Thompson on tenor saxophone, and Alex Lazaroff on drums. Shea, with a pompadour and duck’s-ass haircut had a James Dean/juvenile delinquent look someone once said. Music Hop, originated in the period of the girl group, featured its own vocal trio, the Girlfriends, who were Diane Miller, Rhonda Silver, and Stephanie Taylor. Not long after their Music Hop gig, Shea and Stockfish took up jobs as Gordon Lightfoot’s regular backup musicians. From 1965-1970 Shea was in the famed trio that cut several timeless albums for United Artists and went on to record with Lightfoot during his even more celebrated Reprise Records era. Shea left the touring band in 1970, but continued to record with Lightfoot until 1975. He hosted his own Canadian variety show, played with Ian Tyson, and became band leader for Tommy Hunter’s TV show in the 1980s on CBC. Lightfoot met Red Shea in 1960 while they both worked on the CBC country series, Country Hoedown, LightfootSingin’ Swingin’ Eight and Shea as a member of the Red & Les Trio. The trio was made up of Red, his brother Les and bassist Bill Gibbs.

Cathy 06-12-2008 05:25 PM

Re: Red Shea
I'm so sad to hear of Red's passing. He's quite possibly my favorite guitarist, and throughout my adult life, I always unsuccessfully strived to learn lead riffs. I love to put old Lightfoot tunes on the stereo and crank it and just let his guitar work echo through the house. I'm not sure how much my neighbors like it.

I was very touched to receive a letter from Red shortly after I had the aneurysm, giving me words of encouragement. I'm still in awe when I read it.

Rest in peace, Red.


dad2mak 06-12-2008 09:15 PM

Re: Red Shea
When I first started listening to Lightoot in the 60's, Red Shea was the Lightfoot sound for me. The first album I heard was "Did She Mention My Name," and I am to this day mesmerized by what he did on that song, and to this day am still unable to reproduce it.

Sheesh, I bought a Martin D-28 30 years ago and still can't make it do the things he did. I too am glad that his playing is preserved for us on albums and cd's.


vlmagee 06-12-2008 09:41 PM

Re: Red Shea
I just added a nice new photo to the article on Red on my web site. Take a look. I'm sure you will recognize the other two people in the photo too, but for now I left the caption just as the photographer wrote it. gordonlightfoot.com

musky_man 06-12-2008 10:55 PM

Re: Red Shea
Indeed this is very sad news. Red added so much to Lightfoot's music -- he seemd to know just exactly what was needed at every turn in a song to make it really memorable.

As many of you know, my brother, Paul, was one of the 'very lucky" ones who studied with Red for about 4 years. Interestingly, they both had the same classical guitar teacher at U of T too. I can tell you that Paul thought very highly of Red and had nothing but good things to say about him; I know he will miss him a great deal.

My sincere condolences to the family for their loss -- know that it is felt by many.

Best to all Corfidians,


lighthead2toe 06-13-2008 02:34 AM

Re: Red Shea
Mark, thank you so much for your post. This is a most difficult time for many of us and I know that Paul must be wounded severely. The loss of such a powerful presence that we tend to take for granted will be with us forever is just completely devastating. I didn't know Paul very well until we played together during the pub sessions although we did meet during the 2005 concerts but this time he and I had many wonderful discussions, so many shared moments that still are left unfulfilled. I know that he had a strong bond with Red because he's that kind of person. When he and I played the tunes together I could hear the sound of the Master coming through. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my lifetime. I want to share with Paul the burden of sorrow that he must be experiencing at this time together with the friends and family of Red. Sincerely, Ron Jones.

Jesse Joe 06-13-2008 07:58 AM

Re: Red Shea

Originally Posted by Cathy (Post 139292)
I'm so sad to hear of Red's passing. He's quite possibly my favorite guitarist, and throughout my adult life, I always unsuccessfully strived to learn lead riffs. I love to put old Lightfoot tunes on the stereo and crank it and just let his guitar work echo through the house. I'm not sure how much my neighbors like it.

I was very touched to receive a letter from Red shortly after I had the aneurysm, giving me words of encouragement. I'm still in awe when I read it.

Rest in peace, Red.


Hi Cathy nice to see you post, it's been a while, (too long). Red Shea sending a letter, giving you words of encouragement... Just goes to show the "Class Act" he was.

Yuri 06-13-2008 08:49 AM

Re: Red Shea
Finally the Toronto Sun acknowledges Red's passing.

June 13, 2008
Guitarist Red Shea dies
Played with Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, Tommy Hunter



Respected guitarist Red Shea, whose accomplished playing supported Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson and Tommy Hunter, has died. He was 70.
A death notice on a newspaper website says Shea died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer.
Shea's relationship with Lightfoot began in 1960 when they met while working on the CBC-TV music series Country Hoedown.
He toured with Lightfoot from 1965 to 1970, returning briefly in 1975 and then joining Tyson's band.
Through the 1980s, Shea served as band leader for Hunter's long-running CBC-TV show.
Shea is survived by his wife Lynn, three children and four grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled for today in Aurora.

Jesse Joe 06-13-2008 09:12 AM

Re: Red Shea
I did not know he was the same age as Gord. He will never be forgotten, especially listening to his magical fingers playing guitar on those early Lightfoot Albums... Man they sure had a sound !

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.