Ian Dawson Tyson CM, AOE (born 25 September 1933 in Victoria, British Columbia) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, known for his song "Four Strong Winds".
A rodeo rider in his late teens and early twenties, he took up the guitar while recovering from an injury he sustained in a fall. He made his singing debut at the Heidelberg Caf? in Vancouver in 1956 and played with a rock'n'roll band, "The Sensational Stripes." After graduation from the Vancouver School of Art in 1958, Tyson moved to Toronto, where he commenced a job as a commercial artist. There he performed in local clubs and in 1959 began to sing on occasion with Sylvia Fricker. By early 1959 Tyson and Fricker were performing part-time at the Village Corner as "Ian and Sylvia." The pair became a full-time musical act in 1961 and married four years later. In 1969 they started performing as The Great Speckled Bird. Residing in southern Alberta, Tyson toured all over the West.
In 1989 he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
From 1971 to 1975, he hosted a national television program, The Ian Tyson Show, on CTV, based on the 1970-71 season music show Nashville North, later titled Nashville Now.
In 2005, CBC Radio One listeners chose his song "Four Strong Winds" as the greatest Canadian song of all time on the series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version. There was strong momentum for him to be nominated the Greatest Canadian, but he fell short. He has been a strong influence on many Canadian artists, including Neil Young, who recorded "Four Strong Winds" for Comes a Time (1978). Johnny Cash would also record that same song for American V: A Hundred Highways (2006). Judy Collins recorded a version of his popular song, Someday Soon, in 1969.
He has written a book of young-adult fiction about his song "La Primera", called La Primera: The Story of Wild Mustangs.
Tyson's first marriage to Sylvia Fricker Tyson ended in divorce in 1975. His son Clay from that marriage (born c. 1968) was himself a performer, then moved to a career modifying racing bikes.
Ian Tyson then married Twylla Dvorkin in 1986, then their daughter Adelita was born c. 1987. Tyson's second marriage ended with the divorce made official in early 2008, several years after separating from Dvorkin.
Awards and recognition
Tyson became a Member of the Order of Canada in October 1994, and was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2006.
A tribute CD to Ian Tyson, The Gift, was released in 2007 on Stony Plain Records featuring "Someday Soon" done by Doug Andrew with Buddy Cage on pedal steel guitar (Buddy played in Great Speckled Bird), "Four Strong Winds" recorded by Blue Rodeo, plus another 13 of Tyson's best known songs done by major folk and country artists.
In Paul Brandt's song "Alberta Bound", he makes a reference to Ian Tyson singing a lonesome lullaby.