Nov 7, 2021
Dnext: Sylvia Tyson
Play • 19 min

Sylvia Tyson (b Fricker). Singer, songwriter, guitarist, broadcaster, b Chatham, Ont, 19 Sep 1940. Her mother was a music teacher, church organist, and choir director. Sylvia Tyson sang and played guitar and auto harp in Toronto coffeehouses (Bohemian Embassy, Village Corner Club, etc) and teamed up on occasion as early as 1959 with Ian Tyson in what would be a full-time partnership 1961-75 as the popular duo Ian and Sylvia. She contributed many songs to their repertoire. One, 'You Were on My Mind,' was a hit for the US group We Five in 1965, and has been recorded by other artists internationally. Others ('Sleep on My Shoulder,' River Road,' and 'Trucker's Cafe') remained part of her own club and concert programs and were re-recorded in 1989 for her album You Were on My Mind.

In the duo's last years, Tyson began to perform on her own and was host 1974-80 for the CBC radio folk music program 'Touch the Earth.' She maintained parallel careers in broadcasting and music through the 1980s, serving CBC TV as host in 1980 for 'Heartland' and 1981-3 for 'Country in My Soul,' and subsequently working as a scriptwriter for 'Video Hits.' Concurrently she performed in clubs and concert with successive versions of the Great Speckled Bird (the band formed in 1968 to accompany Ian and Sylvia).

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