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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jerry Lee Lewis at Toronto's Le Coq d'Or

Yes I was right….I did see Jerry Lee Lewis and his band play at Le Coq’Dor in their downstairs lounge in the summer of 1959. 

I’m reading Jerry Lee Lewis’s autobiography and there it is in the book saying he played Le coq’dor in Toronto. 

For years people have been telling me I was nuts, I began to believe myself that it didn’t happen and now there it is in writing in his book. 

I was playing with Tommy Danton and the Echoes at the Zanzibar Tavern just up the street. We had just returned to Toronto from Quebec city where we played at the Bal’Taberan. We were at the Zanzibar all summer July and August 1959.  We heard that Jerry Lee Lewis was playing at Le coq’dor and between sets we would go down to catch his act, but because his marriage to his 13 year old cousin had taken place in 1958 and his England trip with his teenager bride was a disaster his star had fallen and he was playing, what he called “Beer Joints” so not many people were in the room during the week. 

As I remember it was just a trio piano, bass and drums, we even had the chance to speak with him. He was there for a week and we saw him at Bassels restaurant where all the waiters, and musicians would go to eat after the bars closed. 

As the years passed I wasn’t sure if he really played Toronto before he went to England or after but he says in his biography that it was after his career spiraled down. 

He writes, "I played juke joints in  Chicago, Iowa  and even Le Coq’dor in Toronto". 

So there it is. 

Did you or anyone else see him when he played la coq’dor Tavern in Toronto in 1959? 

About ten years ago I met the owner of The Simcoe Arms hotel in Sutton Ontario Gord Josie. He as a country singer and later manager of Le coq’dor and he confirmed that Jerry Lee Lewis played the tavern downstairs. 

So Russ you can put that on the site.

- John Dowson

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