Folk Singer-Songwriter Ian Tyson Has Died at 89

Singer and songwriter Ian Tyson has reportedly died, according to his family, “after ongoing health complications on December 29 … at his ranch in Southern Alberta, Canada.” He was 89.

Tyson rose to fame as half of the folk duo Ian and Sylvia, though he came to music after a rodeo injury left him sidelined.

He met Sylvia Fricker in Toronto and they were married in 1964. They became darlings of the early 1960s folk boom and later formed a band, Great Speckled Bird, which was influential in the 1970s folk-rock and early alt-country realm.

Tyson’s songs “Four Strong Winds” and “Someday Soon” are among the most popular songs of the folk boom era. He recorded more than two dozen albums—both solo and with Ian & Sylvia—and had numerous Top 10 hits on the Canadian charts, including “Early Morning Rain,” which reached Number One in 1965.

His songs have been immortalized not only by his own recordings but also by others’ recordings—Bob Dylan and The Band included “One Single River” during their Basement Tapes sessions in 1967. Judy Collins, Neil Young, and Gordon Lightfoot also recorded his songs.

Ian and Sylvia had a popular television show, which ran through the 1970s, until their divorce in 1975. At that point, Tyson returned to the cowboy world and trained horses in Southern Alberta. He continued to write and record songs—mostly country and cowboy songs—for the rest of his life. His most recent release was in 2017.

Tyson was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and, with Fricker, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1992. He was a member of the Order of Canada and the Alberta Order of Excellence.

His family requests privacy during this time and asks fans who wish to honor Tyson’s memory to donate to the Ian Tyson Legacy Fund

Ian and Sylvia – “Four Strong Winds”

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