Toronto Star: Singer John Cody’s Last Song Before Losing His Voicebox

at-last-show.jpg.size_.custom.crop_.850x567From the Toronto Star

Musician and performer who worked with Tom Cochrane, Bonnie Raitt and on his own will have cancerous larynx removed.

By Paul Hunter

John Cody knows precisely when he’ll say his last words.

The dilemma is whether to be humorous or profound. The finality of the moment might define him so he’s leaning towards funny.

“When you know you’re going to die, you can control what your last words are,” he says. “This is sort of like that.”

On Monday, Cody will be silenced. A surgeon will remove his cancerous larynx — his voice box.

Cody is a professional musician and performer; a singer mostly. So the doctor might as well be cutting out his heart.

“There’s nothing that exists on the face of this Earth that I love more than singing,” says the 53-year-old Montrealer. “Even as a kid, I never wanted to be a fireman or a policeman or an astronaut, it was always a singer.”
Cody is not a household name. But you’ve heard him even if you haven’t heard of him.

He did backing vocals on Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway,” which topped the charts in Canada, and on much of the star’s breakout solo release Mad Mad World. He also co-wrote “The Secret Is to Know When to Stop” on that 1991 Cochrane album.

There’s an American gold record on the wall of Cody’s modest, one-bedroom Montreal apartment for his performance on “Life is a Highway.” There is another for co-writing “The Fundamental Things” for Bonnie Raitt. Holly Cole and Lynn Miles are also among those who have recorded his songs.

He has three of his own solo albums and, while not mainstream, he has made a life, including 21 years based in L.A., by sharing his evocative, sometimes plaintive, voice.

Now Cody is back in Canada and in a race against the clock.

He has been scrambling to finish his fourth album in Toronto, laying down his last vocals. One of the 16 tracks will be a duet with Jennifer Warnes. Cochrane, in a touch of symmetry, also plans to sing a backing track on the album.

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A donation can be made to help fund Jody’s last album at

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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