banner.gif (3613 Byte)

Corner.gif 1x1.gif Corner.gif
1x1.gif You are at: Home - Discussion Forum 1x1.gif
Corner.gif 1x1.gif Corner.gif
round_corner_upleft.gif (837 Byte) 1x1.gif (807 Byte) round_corner_upright.gif (837 Byte)

Go Back   Gordon Lightfoot Forums > General Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-07-2019, 08:34 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,358
Default NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Harison

ONCE UPON A RED EYE - Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot, written by Richard Harison.

Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot - and much more...
Published by Friesen Press - TBD 2019

ISBN-978-1-5255-5463-6 (Hardcover)
ISBN-978-1-5255-5464-3 (Paperback)
ISBN-978-1-5255-5465-0 (eBook)

Richard has given the Lightfoot fan an exceptional, informative, up close and personal accounting of life on the road and in the air with Gordon and his band of music makers when he was at the pinnacle of his musical success story.
Memories of specific concerts, venues, cities, meetings of other renowned artists, details about sound mixing, stage lighting and guitar tuning are but a few of his stories told in a way that had me recalling concerts past and how I marveled at the seamless perfection I saw and heard happening onstage. There was also the need to get everyone to the venues with airline and hotel reservations, car rentals, truck rentals etc. at a time when the internet was not around! Most of the time things went as planned but when they didn’t Richard has some tales to tell!
I never realized the immense amount of complex work involved in giving the fan the best concert experience possible and for quite some time almost all of the organization to have a successful tour was done by Richard himself!
Richard relates his memories about the band members and Gordon over the years with an ease and humour only someone who was really ‘’in the know’’ can tell. His tales of others in the Lightfoot circle as well as many artists he met along the way are told with the same comfort and consideration. Some are amusing while others are poignant and heart stirring. Many fill in the story of his own life as his journey with renowned and world famous Gordon Lightfoot find him marvelling at how serendipitous it really has been.
A wonderfully informative read that will educate the fans while making them laugh and also marvel at the immense amount of work Lightfoot and the dedicated, loyal people who surround him have done for over 50 years and continue to do to this day.
Char Westbrook

WAYNE FRANCIS has reviewed the book too! READ it here:


Take A Trip On Board A Musical And Cultural Time Machine

In my over fifty years as a touring concert performer I certainly have both
enjoyed and appreciated a good measure of success, which has allowed me to
visit places I might not otherwise have been able to, as well as to meet people
that I have long admired for their talents in musical and other fields. But
I think what remains foremost in my mind is that I have always loved just
being there. I think I could sum the whole experience up simply by saying, “I
love the work!” If I didn't, I wouldn’t keep doing it.
And while I wrote and performed the songs, I would be remiss if I did
not acknowledge the contributions of the people who were with me on these
tours. Primarily, I have been very fortunate over the years to have always had
a band with such loyal and talented musicians, and I am truly thankful for
their contributions.
I have also had some fine technical help: road managers, sound engineers,
and lighting directors. Of these, Richard readily comes to mind. He was
touring with me for almost twelve years in the seventies during the time
frame of “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” and “The Wreck of the
Edmund Fitzgerald.” During this time, at one point or another, he did all
three jobs mentioned above, sometimes simultaneously.
I know you will enjoy his accounts of our time together, which include
the humorous, the intense, and even the outright dangerous—things such as
airplane failures and three bomb threats. Yes, I love the work, and I will not
ever forget the contributions those close to me have made to that love.
—Gordon Lightfoot


redeye by char Westbrook, on Flickr
charlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2019, 08:34 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,358
Default Re: NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Hari


And so begins this long awaited narrative - part biography; part social commentary; part music business insider; part travelogue, with a foreword by the central figure in this engrossing and mesmerizing ride through the 60's and 70's, Gordon Lightfoot. The author, Richard Harison, as Lightfoot's road and stage manager, was there as a first hand witness and participant in it all. If you were to try to write a fictionalized account of every twist and turn, while navigating the intersections and interactions Richard experienced in this tale, it might strain credulity to believe. But from the heady days of the 60's in New York's Greenwich Village folk scene, the Newport festival where Dylan went electric, the counterculture social and musical revolution of San Francisco and LA, Harison was indeed there through it all, with a one of a kind viewpoint he now shares. He was brushing shoulders with the likes no less of Dylan, Johnny Cash, the Byrds, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt and a list of many other musical and cultural luminaries too long to list here.

Richard Harison spent his early years in California, raised in Connecticut and was roadie and equipment technician for the Byrds in the mid to late 60's, and as the early chapters illustrate, many unique and even tense situations develop in service to Roger McGuinn and the Byrds. But most notably, Harison performed his duties for iconic singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot from 1970-1981. He played a pivotal role in keeping the tight knit Lightfoot operation rolling smoothly along the carefree highways and flyways of the turbulent 1970's and beyond. Those were the years when Lightfoot was at the pinnacle of his box office and creative powers.

Harison came of age in the 1960's at the height of a musical and cultural upheaval. The Vietnam War was escalating with each passing year and loomed large over every facet of life for that generation's youth. The burgeoning music scene and the war combined to form a formidable fork in the road that was soon to determine how the author's life was about to unfold. Richard Harison comes across through his self-depreciating style of writing, as a loyal and reliable figure, who's inner compass is always pointing true north.

Richard's father worked in TV and Broadway productions and as a teenager Richard would often tag along with him to those studios and theatres. There he absorbed many aspects of live performance production that would, unknown to him at the time, provide an apprenticeship that would be the underpinning of his future endeavours, as he began to cast about looking for his calling in life.

The early chapters weave an intricate pattern of Harison's travels on both coasts, attending festivals and concerts, and in doing so he meets up with some of the top musicians of the day. Amid a myriad of vividly recreated scenes, he describes how each chance encounter strangely built upon the previous ones, collectively forging onward with what seems, looking back now, as an almost preordained destiny. His future begins to come into clearer focus while attending a Gordon Lightfoot concert in 1968 at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, where he meets Lightfoot's legendary guitarist, Red Shea. A friendship ensued, culminating several years later at Carnegie Hall in New York, where, at Shea's urging, Lightfoot hires Harison to be his tour manager.

The years with Lightfoot form the central core of the book. Tantalizing minutiae from the studio and the road are revealed that hard core fans will find irresistible! Lightfoot has always had a reputation for his generosity and Harison provides multitudes of examples of how that generosity manifested itself in the daily course of events, going a long way to explain the undying loyalty Lightfoot has engendered from those around him. Harison pulls the curtain back, allowing readers to see the interactions between Lightfoot and his entourage, far removed from the music business spotlight. Happenings, whether backstage; on planes; in hotel rooms; rented cars; in restaurants and more, are given the light of day, as Harison, being an integral part of those events, captures them for us in a way that only a first person perspective truly could. While many books on musicians' road exploits are generated from second or third hand accounts, giving readers a 20,000 foot perspective at best, Harison is there on our behalf to provide us with true "on the ground" reconnaissance. We are shown the group's camaraderie on full display, in all of its playful humour, juxtaposed against the ever present deadlines and pressure.

Harison also bears witness to some of the harrowing and difficult times that Lightfoot faced along the way. Crucial career decisions, bomb threats, midair engine failures, and in one of the most captivating chapters, we find Lightfoot touring through troubled Ireland in 1981. Amid the violence and chaos of Dublin and Belfast, with armed soldiers in the streets and barbed wire barricades in front of hotels and concert halls, Harison describes how Lightfoot presses on, even as explosions coming from the outside can be heard during the concerts and political events are developing at breakneck speed. In one instance Harison is invited pre-concert into a Belfast pub where he marvels at the warm and friendly environment he finds there, only seconds after stepping in from the war-like zone in the streets.

In the course of reading this book, one question was continually cycling through my mind, that being how was the author able to ingratiate himself in those early days, being a virtual unknown, into the confidences of these professional musicians that would help propel him along his forward trajectory? After all, aren't those celebrities notorious for erecting barriers around themselves to protect against grifters and worse? Part of the answer perhaps lies in the open nature of the 60's. But even so, as the book was winding down I was resigned to the fact that I would most likely be left to speculate on the matter on my own. But no, it turns out Harison himself had been asking that same question as he reflected on his journey. Following Red Shea's passing, the author asked Red's widow why she believes Red, and by extension so many others, went out on a limb for him, as in Red's case by recommending Harison be hired by Lightfoot. Her answer was succinct and illuminating - but sorry, I'm not inclined to reveal the answer here.

Discover for yourself as you take your seat and buckle up to enjoy Once Upon A Red Eye!

- Wayne Francis
charlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 07:39 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Philadelphia., PA
Posts: 370
Default Re: NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Hari

OMG! Another book to get once it's released! Thanks, Char & Wayne!

paskatefan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 06:03 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 629
Default Re: NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Hari

Awesome! The only thing lacking now is a book focusing on Lightfoot's music alone -- everything that went into composing, producing and recording his songs over the decades. I sure hope he takes on that project before it's too late to do so!
T.G. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2019, 11:21 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,358
Default Re: NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Hari


Life on the Road with Gordon Lightfoot by Richard Harison

Once Upon a Red Eye is a compelling memoir that offers rare insight into the behind-the-scenes life of a Canadian musical icon. Here are the colourful recountings of Richard Harison, who spent a dozen years serving as Gordon Lightfoot’s road/stage manager, concert sound engineer, and lighting designer/director. In the time of his employ with Lightfoot, Harison enjoyed all manner of adventure. He accompanied the famed singer/songwriter and his band on concert tours of the world, celebrity meetings, thrilling performances in halls grand and small, and travel mishaps, including three bomb scares and two consecutive aircraft engine failures.Woven expertly into the background of Harison’s stories of music, tours and elaborate pranks, history plays out in iconic bursts. The Vietnam War, an encounter with the Black Panthers, and a UK tour during the serious political/religious upheaval in Ireland all provide context to Lightfoot’s international presence in this epic stretch of time.

Between 1970 and 1981, Richard Harison was part of Lightfoot’s remarkable story, serving as a source of friendship, personal, and practical support for Lightfoot and basking in his special glow.

Richard Harison was a worthy and very capable road manager for me and my band throughout the seventies. Together with Rick Haynes, Red Shea, Terry Clements, Barry Keane and Peewee Charles we toured all over Canada, the United States, the UK and Europe. And believe me, Richard has many interesting memories of untold stories to convey in this very thorough account of life on the road. — Gordon Lightfoot

Once Upon a Red Eye by Richard Harison is a fascinating behind the scenes account of a young man's journey through the Folk Music movement of the 1960s. He struck up a friendship with Joan Baez, was a roadie for the Byrds and eventually landed the position as road manager for Gordon Lightfoot which he has maintained for many years. You will hear his reaction to Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 and follow him through many exciting and mysterious adventures.

— Roger McGuinn (Leader of the Byrds)

I cannot wait to read Richard Harison’s book about his years on the road with our iconic superstar, Gordon Lightfoot. As Gord’s long time tour manager, Richard was given a unique window through which he witnessed all the fascinating, stressful, and at times crazy situations going on behind the scenes with the man who sold out concert halls and stadiums in the 70’s and is still doing so. Having been part of his North American tours for over four years as Gordon’s “opening act”, and having written about the various strange and wonderful experiences in my own autobiography, I’m sure Richard’s account of Canada’s legendary and beloved singer/songwriter will make for a most intriguing read. This is a book that I shall have a hard time putting down.”

— Liona Boyd, C.M., O.Ont., B. Mus., LLD

Gordon Lightfoot has toured the world-over. There are millions of people who know who he is through his music and travels but only a handful really know the man. Gordon’s long time road manager Richard Harison is of the latter. You might say he has the inside scoop. If there are stories to be told about this legendary songwriter and entertainer, Richard should be the one to tell them.

—Bruce Good, The Good Brothers

In 1974, Gordon Lightfoot ascended to the top of Billboard's album and single charts with his song “Sundown,” displacing even Paul McCartney.

Set in the socially and politically charged days of the 60's and 70's, Lightfoot's right hand man was none other than Richard Harison. Get a backstage pass when Lightfoot performed as part of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. With that same pass, follow Lightfoot on tour throughout North America, the UK and Europe, as well as in the studio.

Being such a close up, personal witness to events involving one of the great singer-songwriters of our time at the height of his powers, “Once Upon A Red Eye” takes you on a journey that can only be revealed from Richard's unique position and perspective. You will be riveted by Richard's meticulously woven accounts of life inside the orbit of Gordon Lightfoot!

—Wayne Francis, Creator/administrator of

As long-time tour manager for the iconic Canadian singer/songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot, Richard Harison has a unique perspective of life on the road with Gordon during the 70’s.

These authorized stories could only be told by someone who was there for all of it, and Richard is certainly the one to share his up close and personal accounts with all Lightfoot admirers.

A respectful and inside glimpse of Gordon Lightfoot and his band that fans have never seen.

—Char Westbrook, moderator of the popular Lightfoot website/discussion board and editor/co-administrator official Gordon Lightfoot Facebook page.

Richard Harison was just a young man from California looking for his path when his close association with the Byrds led to a longtime gig with an emerging Canadian musician named Gordon Lightfoot. Harison spent twelve years as an integral member of a crew dedicated to showcasing the talents of this exceptional musician.

Today, Harison lives on a hill overlooking Georgian Bay, in Ontario, Canada, with his wife of 25 years and a headful of memories of those magical times.
charlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2019, 02:00 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: canada
Posts: 892
Default Re: NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Hari

This is most interesting and I'm really looking forward to the read.
I know Richard was with the Lightfoot entourage for many years and through some turbulent times as well. I've seen him from time to time at the Massey Hall concerts and could see he was always working.
I'd say he's paid his dues over the years.
Reflecting back on some of the posts during the newsgroup days when he and I interacted a few times it's clear he's a talented musician as well.
lighthead2toe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2019, 11:50 PM   #7
Andy T.
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Douglas, WY
Posts: 159
Send a message via AIM to Andy T.
Default Re: NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Hari

Originally Posted by T.G. View Post
Awesome! The only thing lacking now is a book focusing on Lightfoot's music alone -- everything that went into composing, producing and recording his songs over the decades. I sure hope he takes on that project before it's too late to do so!
I agree, it was my only criticism of the Jennings bio.

That does not mean that I won't get this one! I intend to hit the "buy" button the moment I find it listed for sale. Those of us who were around in the USENET newsgroup days, remember that Richard would drop in some anecdotes from time to time. Also, anyone who earned a photo and mention in the Gord's Gold liner notes... well...!
"May this world find a resting place... where Peaceful Waters flow..."
Andy T. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2019, 05:40 PM   #8
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,358
Default Re: NEW BOOK!-ONCE UPON A RED EYE-Life on the road with Gordon Lightfoot-Richard Hari

check online tomorrow..
there is hope by the publisher that it will be available ''by weeks end''.. PUBLISHER WEBSITE:
charlene is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:06 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
downleft 1x1.gif (807 Byte) downright