Photo - Norm Hacking

Norm Hacking's
recent news page

Updated April 28, 2009



past gig links

When Cats Go Wrong













With great regret and sadness, we announce that
Norm Hacking died on Sunday Nov. 25, 2007
. . .

May 7 - 9, 2009 - The Renaissance Cafe is closing.
Norm's east-end Toronto musical home
Farewell events include a tribute to Norm - more info on upcoming page

. . .
Watch for a concert memorial event / "The Ache" CD release later in 2009
. . .
CDs NOW available from Outside Music's web store
. . .
Added July 2008: "One Last House Call"
Norm's memorial to the late Hunter S. Thompson (Jan. 2006)
. . .
NEW COLUMN (Feb 2008) - Norm's last
Race Track Hack column for TaxiNews is now on this site:
"A writer recycled"
(Valentine theme, including pun-filled song lyric)
. . .

Norm Hacking photo Nov. 11, 2006

August 1, 1950 - November 25, 2007

Greg Quill's Toronto Star article Nov. 29, 2007
Norman Nelson in The Scarborough Mirror Nov. 29, 2007
Matt MacLeod's "A Songwriter's Songwriter" for Norm (listen on his site)
now on this website:
Linda Stitt's poems "For Norm" and "Legacy"
articles first published in TaxiNews:
Heino Molls "Remembering Racetrack Hack" (Dec 2007)
Shirley Gibson "Norm will be one Stubborn Ghost" (Jan 2008)
Mike Beggs "The big man's music was the real deal" (Jan 2008)
Peter McSherry "Norm Hacking was one of a kind" (Jan 2008)
(watch for more links)

There is a selection of Norm's lyrics and prose on this website,
now including "A Songwriter's Song" and "Shine"
Watch for more to be added

Memorial event / open stage was held Thursday Dec. 6, 2007
at the Renaissance Cafe in Toronto

"Songs and Stories of Norm Hacking" was hosted by Tim Harrison
February 9, 2008, as part of Winterfolk VI

Radio tributes - all webcast - Dec. 2, 7, 9, 20 + Mondays
(Dec. 20 CIUT show archived at )
(Dec. Mondays 6-8 pm programs archived at )

. . . . . .

Steve Goodman book cover; included CD has a song by NormNEW!! - Steve Goodman: Facing the Music by Clay Eals
(book with CD; May 2007, 1st edition - early 2008: 2nd printing with more photos and minor updates in press)
Author Clay Eals of Seattle interviewed Norm and 1,066 others (and contacted more than 1,100 other people) to write a comprehensive 800-page biography of Steve Goodman. The book includes a CD of 18 songs written about Steve Goodman. The second track is Norm's "Richer for the Time" (from his Skysongs CD, originally on his Stubborn Ghost LP) - Norm was inspired by seeing Steve Goodman at The Riverboat (prominent 1964-1978 folk coffeehouse in Toronto's Yorkville area). With forward by Arlo Guthrie and preface by Studs Terkel, this 8"x10" format book includes hundreds of photos - 16 pages are in colour. The cover photo (above) is by Gina Jett. Published by ECW Press (Toronto) for $29.95 U.S. / $32.95 Cdn (ISBN 978-1-55022-732-1 or 1-55022-732-7). For details of the book, including the full first chapter, sample clips from each song on the CD, acknowledgements, author's bio and appearances and reviews, see The website also lists many author interviews, some to webcast including Mike Regenstreif's "Folk Routes / Folk Branches" Thursday June 21 9-11 a.m. Eastern, 90.3 FM Montreal (listen live at - shows archived for listening or downloading for 2 months). On October 16, 20 and 22, XM Satellite Radio Channel 15 (The Village, folk - U.S. and Canada by subscription) aired a 90 minute program of the tracks on the included CD, with the author's introductions recorded for the program (details on book website).

Photo of Kathy O. HackingThank you to everyone who sent their prayers and best wishes to my mother, the amazing Kathy O. "A Small Celebration" is Norm's account of the July 11, 2007 memorial gathering on the 85th anniversary of Kathy O.'s birth, and some photos.

Katherine O. Hacking 1922 - 2006
She lit the shadows
- Norm Hacking, October 2006

Norm's prose and lyrics added October 2006 - October 2007:
Olya Katarina - lyrics of his song for Kathy O., recorded earlier for The Ache CD
Kim and Ben - great advice to recently wed son Ben and daughter-in-law Kim
Vigil - keeping vigil with his mother Kathy O. in the hospital
A Song at Midnight - a beautiful gift from Kathy O., still in hospital
Never Goodbye - Norm shares memories of Kathy O. after her passing on October 4
A Small Celebration - a lovely memorial: a celebration of Kathy O. on her 85th birthday

Norm's beautiful mother Kathy O. "slipped away" peacefully in the early morning on Wednesday October 4, 2006, with Norm at her side. He had spent most of his time since July with her at Scarborough Grace Hospital (Toronto) - see his prose, linked above.


(released November 2006)
cover - Songs for a Better Planet Vol. IINorm's "Shine" [3:25] from his Skysongs CD is the lead track on this anthology of original songs with themes for an improved earth, produced by the Association of Artists for a Better World. More information, including descriptions of the 14 tracks on this 56 minute CD, is at Artists are from Canada, U.S.A., Australia and Holland. Each including Norm has a few copies to sell. CDs are available on-line for US$ 12.97 plus tax and shipping from CD Baby at with proceeds going directly to United Nations Foundation. Produced by Brian Gladstone.

NORM'S SONG "SHINE" used in a tribute to Agent Orange victims in New Brunswick. Yes, that's exposure in Canada! To watch Art Connolly's video, which opens with a few facts then goes to Norm's song behind a loving collage of images dedicated to those individuals and families affected by spraying of Agent Orange and other chemicals at CFB Gagetown 1956 - 1984, go to . To explore the issue behind the video, see . NEW!  Full lyrics of "Shine" were added on this site in March 2008.

The new paperback edition of "When Cats Go Wrong" is NOW available in both the U.S. and booksellers Canada wherever books are sold, following the U.S. release date of May 10, 2006!

When Cats Go Wrong book cover by Cynthia NugentIt's a BOOK - and the NEW PAPERBACK EDITION is now in both U.S. stores - released MAY 10, 2006 - and in Canadian stores - released FEBRUARY 1, 2006!! The initial hard cover book was launched in both Canadia and the U.S., but is out of print! "When Cats Go Wrong" is a favourite from the Norm Hacking & Kirk Elliott Orange Cats Make the Very Best Friends CD. Cynthia Nugent's vibrant illustrations turn the lyrics into a beautiful book version - which still includes a CD single of the song. The pages are the same size and quality, showcasing the beautiful artwork. If it's not in stock, ask your favourite Canadian bookseller to order it from Raincoast Books; ISBN for this edition: 1-55192-917-1.

Listen to a generous sample of the song and read Norm's When Cats Go Wrong lyrics (the book text):
  Life with a naughty kitty / Isn't very pretty.
  So I sing this mournful song / About when cats go wrong.

Cynthia Nugent illustrator of Norm Hacking's song that's now the book When Cats Go Wrong had a terrific Vancouver launch of the hard cover edition on October 17, 2004. It was also the launch of her own book for young readers, Francesca and the Magic Bike, nominated for a B.C. Books Award. Both books are published by Raincoast Books.

Norm's September 2004 "Race Track Hack" column "Author, Author!" lists the events leading to his song becoming this beautiful book. His February 2005 column "Celebrity Status" embraces his new very young fan base. Norm's Toronto book launch was during a snowstorm on December 11, 2004.

Widely available from Canadian booksellers, the book spent at least four weeks on the children's books best-seller list in British Columbia, rising to number 2 spot!

Cat-shaped fan letters to the author from grade 2 students and two letters from their teacher are now on the reviews page. Norm answered each letter individually, and we've posted Norm's response to the most common class questions about cats, himself and writing. As usual, his ideas speak to all of us. A first grade teacher found activities for writing, art, singing and dancing for her class and choir concert - with the audience joining in. Her students created Monet-style cats "gone wrong" - see some of these cats and her letter on the reviews page.

When Cats Go Wrong - the book by Norm Hacking, illustrated by Cynthia Nugent - is featured in:
- Quill and Quire, Oct. 2004, page 16, with colour illustration
- The Globe and Mail, Oct. 9, 2004 Book Section, p. D26, with black & white illustration (link now requires registration or subscription): "... It all seems to prove that words, music and illustration played appassionato become hilarious when deployed in the service of a cat gone wrong."
- The Toronto Star, Deirdre Baker's Small Print column, April 24, 2005, p.D8
- Maclean's, Nov. 29, 2004, p. 68: "... And it's sure to resonate with both cat lovers and haters..."
- Vancouver Sun (Nov. 20, 2004, p.F16) Sara O'Leary's review
- CBC Radio "The Roundup"
Sara O'Leary's kids book reviews, Dec. 8, 2004 (national; Dec. 8 playlist)
- CBC Radio "Fresh Air"
feature / interview, Dec. 11, 2004 (Ontario-wide); host Jeff Goodes also read Norm's Dec. 2003 column "Maybe One More"
Read quotes on Norm's reviews page.


Norm was one of the performers Friday June 22 2007 for The Riverboat Revival, the gala opening concert at Hugh's Room for the Toronto City Roots festival (which continued Saturday and Sunday at the Distillery District). The concert honoured the 1960s prominent folk coffeehouse - for details see Past Events 2007.

Brampton Folk Festival logo Norm Hacking played the lovely Brampton Folk Festival on Satuday June 16, 2007. His performances included a set of cat songs and stories at 1 pm on the family stage, hosting "A Songwriter's Travelogue" workshop at 3 pm and main stage concert at 6:15 pm. It's a rain or shine free festival in lovely Gage Park in downtown Brampton. The main-stage line-up and more details are now on Norm's Past Events 2007 page (along with a photo of the lovely main-stage area) and at - Yes, there are GO-buses from Toronto to Brampton and free parking for those with cars!

Winterfolk V logo - click for festival page February 9 - 11, 2007 - Winterfolk V festival on 7 stages in 5 venues on Danforth at Broadview in Toronto was a great success. It had a great line-up again in 2007, including Norm - it's first year as a free festival! See for festival info - info on Norm's performances has been moved to Past Events 2007.
Saturday Feb 10 concert at 4 pm
Saturday workshop with Ray Edge at 5 pm and
Sunday Feb 11 guests for his Winterfolk edition of Norm's Living Room 3 - 5 pm.
All of Norm's appearances were in the back area of The Willow - yummy Tex-Mex & Grill.

DECEMBER 17, 2006 (Sunday) at 8 pm - Norm returned to KINGSTON, Ontario, after a long absence for Sweet Folk All's Winter Solstice FREE special show! It started with an open stage, and featured a full set from Norm. UPDATE: a wonderful evening, Norm enjoyed the fine local performers and was happy to meet old friends and make new ones. Details, including the regular open stage there, have been moved to past events in 2006.

NOVEMBER 11, 2006 (Saturday) at 8 pm - Norm joined Garry Jackson of Newmarket for an evening at the Renaissance Cafe, Toronto. Details of this and Norm's other recent gigs are on his past 2006 events page, with links to earlier years..

Tuesday March 14, 2006, at 7:45 pm - Norm was again guest of poet Linda Stitt and guitarist Brian Gauci. Billed as a "Let's Do It Again" event, it reflected the beautiful evening when Linda launched her poetry CD at the Brownstone Bistro (Toronto) on December 12, 2005. This re-cap, with guest Jeff Burke on bassoon, was lovely.

Norm's Valentine's Day 2006 "Love at the Free Times Cafe" evening was terrific - great concert, crowd and eats.

Norm signed his "When Cats Go Wrong" books at the OLA (Ontario Library Association) EXPO 2006, the largest library tradeshow in Canada, part of their annual Super Conference on February 2, 2006 - details are now on his Past Events 2006 page. Update: Norm really enjoyed meeting many enthusiastic fans of his book.

Sunday September 25, 2005 - Word on the Street, Queen's Park, Toronto. Norm performed in support of the Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy - this is a terrific organization, so it's never too late find out more and support it. Residents of Toronto, Halifax, Kitchener, Calgary and Vancouver - support your Word on the Street event (all on the last Sunday in September each year).


I Am the Night CD cover, click for detailsNEW:  Norm released a NEW CD "I Am the Night" with 33 original spoken word selections (poems and prose) on Monday December 19, 2005!! Fans who attend his concert performances already know the beauty - and humour - of his spoken word pieces. The CD is available on-line or by mail order form from Iridescent Music, where it was recorded with the generous help and studio time donated by Executive Producer Phil Ball and the talent of Recording Engineer Charlie Agnello. See the detailed I Am the Night CD description.

A recently available recording includes Norm's live performance of his "Crazy for Love". Darn Folksingers Vol. 2 CD-R is a fundraising project for the non-profit Fat Albert's open stage, continuous since 1967! Tracks on both CD-R volumes are from mono tapes off the sound board over the years, and you feel you're in the room. First launched in December 2004, the recordings are available at the regular Wednesday open stages (on break in July and August).

LISTEN to 6 of Norm's songs!! In September 2004, we moved the website, tidied it up, added sound from six of Norm's songs: two each from his three current CDs. From the tribute album, we have Alan Rhody (Nashville) performing "Crazy for Love" (which Norm hasn't recorded) and Jason Fowler's beautiful recording of "Stubborn Ghost." We've made separate pages for each recording, updated links and added more lyrics, a new "Race Track Hack" column about the book, a site map and a press kit. Our new web host is Geek Girls Computing. Please ensure links and bookmarks for this website are to


What a terrific third edition of Canadian winter style (indoors!) festival - at WINTERFOLK III Blues and Roots Festival - February 4, 5 and 6, 2005 in Toronto - see A great line-up of performers and seminars and a new location in the city attracted an increased attendance for a very reasonable ticket price (weekend ticket only $40 - kids under 12 free at 2 per adult). The action was on 7 stages in 6 venues within one block of Broadview subway. Norm appeared Friday February 4 and twice on Sunday February 6, including hosting a songwriters session, and loved visiting with fans and fellow performers during the weekend.

October 5, 2004 - Eddie Baltimore Musical Memorial and CD release - Eddie Baltimore (Slowpoke leader; Ed Hutchison), who died on May 30, is sorely missed. Norm was to join many of Eddie's friends in a celebration of his music, including the release of Eddie's first solo CD, Silver Dollar Room (Spadina & College). Update: a beautiful loving evening. Norm regrets he was unable to appear. Eddie's CD is now available along with tributes to him at - it's superb! New link for Zoe Chilco's tribute (2nd article there).

September 29, 2004 - Linda Stitt and Norm Hacking - an evening of poetry and song, starts at 8 pm with a one-hour open stage, Renaissance Cafe, 1938 Danforth (west of Woodbine). Update: This wonderful evening ended with Linda and Norm trading poems back and forth. A surprise bonus at the end - Norm's long-time friend Paul Corby joined him for a set. In June 2005 Linda and Norm shared similar evening with Joe Fromstein, co-author with Linda of Loveplay: A Conversation in Rhyme. In December 2005, Norm contributed a guest set of songs to the release event for Linda's debut poetry CD Can You Hear Me Now? Norm again joined Linda Stitt and Brian Gauci in March 2006 - see Past Events 2006.

A special one-hour edition of "Norm's Living Room" was incorporated into the first annual Toronto City Roots Song Celebration held at the Distillery District all Labour Day weekend, 2004. Michael Laderoute and Glen Hornblast joined Norm for a hour at the Boilerhouse patio stage, sponsored by Seneca College. Congratulations to Howard Gladstone, Jennifer Claveau, the entire crew and the great line-up of performers for a well-organized weekend of excellent music. It was even rain-free - how'd they do that? Check out other events at this historic site.

NLFB logo, click for websiteNORM performed at the
Great line-up, beautiful site, friendly price - see the
NLFB festival page.(new web link, for upcoming only)

For Canada Day reading
on this web site:

Stories for July 1st (written for Canada Day in July 2002) about his grandparents and uncle relates "three stories, three more patches for the quilt, the Great Canadian Mosaic."

Lyrics of "This One's the Dreamer" (Norm's anthem to Canada; on Orange Cats CD and One Voice tribute album, where it's performed by Rick Fielding)

On Thursday June 17 2004 NORM featured at a NEW OPEN STAGE:  Norm was the very first feature performer at Dr. B's Acoustic Medicine Stage at Renaissance Cafe in Toronto (on the Danforth subway). It was an evening of fine music - for more info on Brian Gladstone's series, see his Dr. B's website. Norm returns as feature guest on May 25, 2006 - see coming up for details. Dr. B's series ended on it's 3rd anniversary on May 10, 2007, but open stages continue there on Thursdays and some other evenings..

In his June 2004 "Race Track Hack" column for Taxi News "A Folk Singer's Riches" Norm recalls his start in folk music and reflects on his career.

Norm's latest "Race Track Hack" column for Taxi News is always here.

May 30, 2004: We were very sad to learn that our friend Eddie Baltimore (solo artist / writer and leader of Slowpoke; aka Ed Hutchison) passed away on May 30, 2004. Norm's fans over the years know him as a feature, accompanying other performers, or just dropping by. Eddie was a fabulous acoustic (and electric) blues guitarist, songwriter, leader of Slowpoke (who perform "Spin Around" on Norm's tribute album), recording engineer and teacher at Harris Institute for the Arts (as Ed Hutchison). He was immersed in the music and his knowledge of and joy in it were obvious and infectious. He was also a super-nice guy with a quick wit, and is sorely missed. Our photo page includes Eddie's last visit to one of Norm's events (in January). For more info and to post your thoughts and memories, visit the Eddie Baltimore Memorial Page and see the Slowpoke profile. Update: see above for musical tribute and CD release on October 5 at the Silver Dollar.

Sat June 5, 2004 - Rick Fielding - friend, superb musician, excellent songwriter, fine teacher, radio host and caring person with musical friends and fans world-wide - passed away on Saturday March 20, 2004, after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer. A celebration of Rick's life and music was held on Saturday June 5 at the Tranzac (Toronto) - details at Borealis website. Norm performed a new song he wrote about Rick. Be sure to read Norm's column "For Rick Fielding" (Race Track Hack, published in April) on this website (and is also on Rick's website, along with Mose Scarlett's eulogy and Peter "Professor Pete" Timmerman's comments). Rick is missed by many and we remember his music and his joy in sharing / teaching music and bringing people together. Heather Fielding is continuing the Acoustic Workshop radio program on CIUT 7-8 pm Mondays. Our thoughts are with Heather.

Norm was very honoured that his long-time friend Rick recorded his "This One's the Dreamer" as the title track of his own CD, and contributed it to the tribute album. Rick wrote a moving song "The Poet in the Corner" about Norm for the 1999 tribute concert; it will be on the upcoming second volume of the tribute album.

Rick's new CD Acoustic Workshop was celebrated in a fabulous three hour virtual on-air web-cast CD release on Monday February 16, 2004, at or in Toronto 89.5 FM.  This special broadcast featured many of Rick's wonderful musical friends and a phone conversation with Rick. Phone and email messages poured in from around the world during the live boardcast. Many who journeyed to Toronto or sent messages are members of Rick and Heather's favourite musical discussion group - join or just read the threads at Mudcat Cafe. Rick's CDs are available from

NEW RECORDING of a song by Norm:  Heather Katz released her CD Tell Mama on Tuesday May 11, 2004, at 8 pm at the Orangeville Opera House (in Orangeville, northwest of Toronto), with a Toronto release concert in the fall (tba). The CD includes Norm's "Let's Rub Each Other" (on his CD The Ache available again later this year). Fabulous concert and CD!! Heather's beautiful and often sultry vocals made her visits to Norm's Living Room events welcome and memorable.

Added in March and April 2004:  Norm's popular monthly "Race Track Hack" column in Taxi News is in the print edition and on-line at  Several columns are now on Norm's website!  In April 2004 his column was For Rick Fielding His thoughts for February 2004 turned to a tale of real (not Hollywood) love in his Big Hearts column. January 2004 has Norm pondering the movie-like possibilities of alternate endings to some scenes from life. December 2003's moving article Maybe One More is about someone special finding the strength to carry on.  November 2003 found Norm exploring and predicting the ever-expanding ocean of specialty TV channels (cats anyone? also...).  For the October 2003 issue, Norm is thankful for angels he finds on earth and warns us to be careful not to brush them off our shoulders by mistake. September's issue has Norm carried away with phone menu choices.  In August 2003 Norm approached his birthday (August 1) with May I Reflect? - contemplations on life's elusive lessons - they all rhyme with the title!  July 2003's column was about his recent musical transformation to Catman! Norm says it should be subtitled "The artist formerly known as Norm Hacking" - his songs about cats have overwhelmed everything else from his three-decade songwriting reputation.  Dates with the Dead - Lunch with Bogie and Dinner with Marilyn - were cherished contest prizes for this movie buff.  Norm's September 2000 tribute to My Friend Lloyd (the late Lloyd Landa) was the first column posted here. Stories for July 1st (Canada Day, July 2002) about his grandparents and uncle is now added. And the latest to be added are Who is Race Track Hack? (by Syd The Cat, March 1996), A Reminiscence with Friends about Syd (September 1998) and The Cat Came Back (April 1999).  See for one or two past issues in .pdf (Norm's column apppeared in the last few pages of each issue - you may catch a reprint).

UPDATE from March 3, 2004, awards at CMW:  Norm Hacking & Kirk Elliott were one of five nominations for a 2004 Canadian Independent Music Award in the "Favourite Children's Artist / Group category!!  Etienne won in this category, and his "thank you" to the assembled audience on March 3 was delivered through a cell phone his representative held up to the microphone! The winners in 20 categories were chosen by voting at the Canadian Music Week website January 26 - February 15. THANKS to everyone who voted!! Congrats to all the NOMINEES - and the WINNERS. The CD Orange Cats Make the Very Best Friends by Norm Hacking & Kirk Elliott has made many new friends of all ages.  For more than a year the CD appeared on Festival Distribution's "Top Titles" list.  Last year the duo Kirk and Magoo won (tied with another CD) in this Indie award category with their CD Mars Rocks!

March 2004: A note on chords for "Cats Everywhere" has been added to the lyrics. Reminder - the list of lyrics and articles on this web site is growing.

February 2004: Norm's fans know that when he sings his moving anthem "The Songwriters' Song" (not yet recorded), he almost always explains that it's inspired by his close friend Lloyd Landa who died suddenly the day after helping Norm celebrate his 50th birthday.  Read Norm's tribute to Lloyd from Taxi News (including a verse from the song). Now a brand new CD To Touch the Stars: A Musical Celebration of Space Exploration includes two moving songs co-written and performed by Karen Linsley and Lloyd Landa:  "Pioneers of Mars" which won the Mars Society contest for the song to be played when man lands on Mars and "The Challenge."  More on this excellent collection of rootsy and sometimes humorous songs about space exploration from Prometheus Music and dedicated to Dr. Ralph Nash and to Lloyd is at and at Karen and Lloyd's site at  "Pioneers of Mars" was played by the Jet Propulsion Labratory as part of the wake-up routine for Mars rover "Opportunity" on February 14 2004!

Concert for the Angels CD coverNORM on BENEFIT CD:  Concert for the Angels is a 2-disc album from the May 25, 2003 Holly Jones tribute concert held shortly after 10-year-old Holly's murder.  It was released September 14 (Holly's birthday), 2003, at Cafe L'Arte, in her neighborhood.  The double CD is now available on-line at (listed under the letter C) with the $20 sales price being donated to Child Find.  That's donation of all sales proceeds, as performances and services to prepare and produce the CD were donated.  Norm's songs on the CD are "In a Child's Room" and "How Can I Hold You"  Other performers include concert / CD organizer Peter Hagen, John Jackson, Steve Paul Simms, Michelle Rumball, October Brown, Angie Nussey, Bob Mover, John Rahme, Gord Eckstein, Jeremy Fisher, Ravi Persaud, Lisa McCrorie-Hogan and many more.  To learn more about Holly's life and the auction of Holly's Dollys (over 300 stuffed animals received by her family) to benefit Children's Wish Foundation of Canada, visit

NEW:  Norm's three CDs are now available via SECURE WEB SALES through Outside Music Distribution - they also supply major stores in Canada.  More info on sources for Norm's CDs here.

ALWAYS URGENT:  If you're in Toronto and can adopt a cat or kitten or make a tax-receiptable donation, go directly to Annex Cat Rescue at for profiles and photos of felines needing a home, lots of tips on cats. Or leave a message at 416 410-3835 and specify the subject of your inquiry. Little known fact: they can even use your Air Miles® (quote collector number 8007 288 7808 to cashier) and Canadian Tire Money to buy needed supplies. Yes, this is the wonderful organization that gets a donation for every Orange Cats CD sold.


On December 19, 2005, Norm launched his first spoken word CD I Am the Night.

Orange Cats CD coverOrange Cats Make the Very Best Friends, by Norm Hacking and fabulous multi-instrumentalist Kirk Elliott, was launched at the Tranzac, Main Hall (292 Brunswick Ave., Toronto) on December 3, 2002. Special CD launch guest Marie-Lynn Hammond began her musical career with legendary folk group Stringband and issued her 5th solo album in February 2003. She is a long-time volunteer with the non-profit Annex Cat Rescue (Toronto), which receives a donation from all sales of Orange Cats. Holmes Hooke and Michael Laderoute added to the special occasion.

This is "an album for kids and cat-lovers of all ages" and anyone who loves good songwriting with generous helpings of humour. Yes, that's really the famous Syd on the cover! "Syd and The Flea" is the lead track, making Norm's popular first song about his cats widely available at last. The track "Cats Everywhere" made CBC radio DiscDrive host Jurgen Gothe's hit list for 2002 and CBC radio's Ontario-wide Fresh Air did a feature. CBC and community radio hosts continue to enthusiastically play the CD. This airplay "caught the public imagination" leading to inclusion in Festival Distrbution's top 10 selling artist list for February, March and April 2003! We especially love the emails from new fans - often telling tales of feline best friends!

Details of the CD and list of the 11 songs (5 about cats) are on our Orange Cats CD page. We also have lyrics for Norm's 8 songs - and you can listen to two songs (added in September 2004). Kirk Elliott is also known as part of children's entertainment duo Kirk and Magoo - congratulations on their 2003 Canadian Independent Music Awards tie for Children's Album of the Year for their CD Mars Rocks! That's the same award Norm and Kirk were nominated for in 2004!

One Voice tribute album coverA gala launch on Wednesday November 14, 2001, marked the release of One Voice, A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Volume 1, a fabulous recording reflecting the high regard Norm's peers have for him. Selected tracks from a recorded tribute concert at the Tranzac in June 1999 and studio tracks produced by Wayne Marshall of Three Flamingos Music, Brantford, Ontario, and others are included. Most of the contributors performed at the launch at Hugh's Room in Toronto. A few of the artists performing 18 of Norm's songs on the CD are Nancy White, Ron Nigrini, Chris Whiteley (Toronto blues, swing jazz), Michael Smith (Chicago), Alan Rhody (Nashville), Brenda Lewis (Guelph) and Rick Fielding, whose last CD includes Norm's "This One's the Dreamer" as the title track. See tribute album for details and links to performers' websites. Volume 2 is in progress.

Skysongs CD coverNorm had previously released one CD, Skysongs... A Writer's Collection (1996), a "best of" his vinyl LPs - 1984 Cut Roses and much acclaimed 1988 Stubborn Ghost - with 4 new (in 1996) solo tracks. This recording, remastered with lyrics and full credits, was reissued at the tribute album launch on November 14, 2001. Songs on the album range from whimsical ("Cats Everywhere") to humorous looks at modern life ("Once Was Enough", "Video Love") to the emotional ups and downs of relationships to a tributes to Steve Goodman, "Richer for the Time." See the Skysongs album description.

All three albums are on the Three Flamingos Music label and are NOW AVAILABLE with distribution through Outside Music at their toll-free number (from Canada and U.S.) 1 800 633-8282 or their secure web sales or in stores - or events honouring Norm. For details of several methods of buying them, see Buy CDs / Contact which includes some stores and a new address for Three Flamingos Music label and recording services.

The Ache had limited pre-release in June 1999 when the Norm Hacking tribute concert was held - it has been remixed and remastered for 2008 release. Watch for Volume 2 of the tribute album.

See the details on Norm's CDs and his earlier albums (vinyl) and a number of other artists whose CDs include Norm's songs.


Norm is also a warm and caring person, well known for the support and encouragement he gives fellow artists, including those just getting started. He started his first open stage (at Toronto's Silver Dollar) a dozen years ago and returned there on July 24, 2001 for "Norm's Living Room" open stage series, which ended on March 28, 2002. See Norm at Dollar for a look at our evenings and terrific features.

Before returning to the Silver Dollar, Norm had a popular high-quality open stage on Tuesdays October 26, 1999 through June 26, 2001, and performances by invitation at "Norm's Living Room" on Saturdays January 29, 2000 through June 2, 2001 at the Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto. Both series attracted talented perfomers and developed a real sense of community which was transported along with the virtual furniture to his new and larger "Living Room" Thursdays at the Silver Dollar. See Norm at the Tranzac page for a look at the earlier series, including feature artists February through June 2001. Hint: some features at both the Silver Dollar and Tranzac were regulars at Norm's evenings, so look for them at new events. Subscribe to Norm's email newsletter to be sure you keep up on Norm's news (see next paragraph).


Find out how to get Norm's CDs. Secure web sales are now available through Outside Music Distribution (Toronto) at Norm's 2005 spoken word CD I Am the Night is available from Iridescent Music. Have your bookseller order the When Cats Go Wrong book from Raincoast Books or it's distributor (Publishers Group West for U.S. sellers). Some CDs and books at events. OR to join Norm's email list, ask a question, get updates on events or notices of the upcoming CD release (The Ache),

send an email to

Last update April 28, 2009