Tributes Pour In For Canadian Songwriter-Producer Tim Thorney
Tributes are pouring in for Canadian musician, producer and songwriter Tim Thorney, who died Tuesday of kidney failure at his home in Collingwood, Ont. with his beloved bulldog Buttercup at his side. He was 66.
Burton Cummings, who recorded “Draggin’ ‘Em Down the Line,” co-written by Thorney, in 1979, posted on Facebook: “You’ll be remembered forever by a lot of people whose lives were enriched by knowing and working with you.”
Former MuchMusic VJ Erica Ehm, Thorney’s longtime songwriting partner, described Thorney as “one of a kind.” She added: “I’m pretty sure he was my guardian angel: a beautiful, profound soul who brought out the best in everyone around him. Non conformist, unapologetic, poetic, musical genius and deeply loyal, I can say with 100% certainty, the decade Tim and I were creative collaborators shaped who I am professionally and personally.”
Thorney’s passion for music began at an early age. He was playing in Winnipeg's community clubs at 11, doing session work in his teens, and recording while studying religion and economics at the University of Winnipeg.
Thorney moved to Toronto in his early 20s and quickly established himself as a songwriter and recording engineer.
He released two albums as singer, songwriter and keyboardist for ‘80s studio band The Front and three solo albums but Thorney was best known for crafting sounds for other artists. He co-wrote seven of the 10 tracks on Lisa Dal Bello’s 1981 album Drastic Measures, produced Jimmy Rankin’s 2001 album Song Dog and co-produced Rankin’s 2003 Handmade.
"Tim was a great writer who made me a better writer," Dal Bello shared on Facebook. "He challenged me on all fronts. Creatively, intellectually and personally, my experiences with Timmy were always enhanced. Timmy’s incredible talent, his LIFE, his words, his lyrics, his music — Tim himself — are gifts to us all."
Days prior to Thorney’s death, Rankin took to Facebook to remember him as an “incredible musical force, singer songwriter, producer and super great guy.”
Thorney also produced Cassandra Vasik’s 1993 album Feels Like Home and co-produced and played on Alanis Morissette’s 2004 album So-Called Chaos.
For many years, Thorney produced jingles for major brands and composed music for the Canadian animated series Rolie Polie Olie – winning a Gemini (now a Canadian Screen Award) in 1999 for Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series.
Thorney co-founded Villa Sound, a recording studio in Singhampton, Ont.
According to a Facebook post by his partner Rachel Oldfield, Thorney spent his final days “watching Netflix, smoking joints, snuggling with Buttercup and eating whatever the f**k he wanted.” She said his last meal was a Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait.
On June 9, as he entered palliative care, Thorney posted a final message on Facebook. “Love u guys, I’m not sure how long I have but it’ll be soon ....my parting words are see your doctor take the f**king tests before you miss the opportunity to fight it, love u guys see you love Tim.”