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Juno Awards: No tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors

Late Canadian music legend Stompin’ Tom Connors won’t be recognized at this Sunday’s Juno Awards broadcast.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says it’s honouring the wishes of Connors’ family. The country-folk legend died in March at age 77.

Connors had a falling out with the Juno Awards in 1978, withdrawing his Juno nominations and returning his awards. Too many Canadians who work and live south of the border were nominated, he told the Star in 1978, and too many country music nominees were better defined as pop artists.

It’s a feud that lasted until his death. Connors wouldn’t have wanted his career celebrated on the Junos, his longtime promoter and agent told the Star on Wednesday.

“He would have told them to shove it. He didn’t want (anything) to do with them,” said Brian Edwards, who runs Rocklands Entertainment.

Edwards says CARAS contacted Connors’ management and family shortly after his death to ask for a photo to be used in a tribute.

“I think they felt they would be embarrassed and they would be criticized if they didn’t do it.”

But the agent says the family stuck with “what Tom would have wanted.”

Three years ago, Edwards says the Junos tried to mend its relationship with Connors, telling him they would welcome him back. But he stuck with his boycott.

“He was one of the few people in the world who actually meant what he said.”

CARAS’ Toronto-based public relations company Holmes PR wouldn’t comment on negotiations about a tribute. A spokesperson for the company who refused to be named later issued a statement saying Connors will “continue to be treasured and cherished by his fans, his fellow musicians and the Canadian music industry.

“His larger than life personality and iconic songs will forever be a part of our cultural history.”