Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Norm Hacking's Albums
A Quarter Century of Fine Songs





& past gig links

When Cats Go Wrong













See also One Voice: A Tribute to Norm Hacking
and Norm's songs recorded by others

Updated June 27, 2004


    • Cats Make the Very Best Friends
      (with Kirk Elliott)
    • One Voice:  A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Vol.1
    • Skysongs...  A Writer's Collection

Coming soon: The Ache.
Want to be notified when ready for sale?
Click here to send email to get on the list!


Orange Cats
Make the Very Best Friends

Norm Hacking & Kirk Elliott
3FLAM2003 (2002)

Orange Cats CD cover

"An album for kids and cat-lovers of all ages" - and anyone who enjoys good songwriting with generous doses of humour. Norm's long-time fans will recognize his orange cat Syd of "Syd and The Flea" fame on the cover (in a photo by Norm's mom, Kathy Hacking). This oft-requested song is finally available on a recording! It became so popular that Norm wrote "Cats Everywhere" about all Syd's and The Flea's feline fans on the stairways, the answering maching, eating BBQ in the backyard. When Norm's son Ben was seven, they recorded the "Side by Side" duet about living together with Syd and The Flea (a more diminutive cat) on Main Streeet in Toronto. "When Cats Go Wrong" is a litany of cat mischief set to tango music - delightful! Listen here.

Kirk Elliott, fabulous multi-instrumentalist, adds everything from fiddle to Japanese koto. Also half of children's performer team Kirk and Magoo, Kirk takes the lead on his song "What the Cat Dragged In."

This CD led to a nomination for a 2004 Canadian Independent Music Award in the "Favourite Children's Artist / Group" category for Norm and Kirk. For more, see (click on Awards at the top, then Indie Awards on drop-down menu). Winners in 20 categories were announced March 3, 2004.

A portion of all sales go to the non-profit Annex Cat Rescue in Toronto. The CD release concert was Tuesday December 3, 2002 at the Tranzac, Toronto - details on Coming Up page   Read David Kidney's CD review at and see the feature page on this CD at Festival Distribution (click on "Top Titles"). "Cats Everywhere" is on CBC DiscDrive Jurgen Gothe's "Hit List of 2002".

  Click on song title for lyrics
  1. Syd and The Flea 3:17
  2. Cats Everywhere 2:49
  3. This One's the Dreamer 3:19
  4. Side by Side (Harry Woods) 1:55
  5. Orange Cats 4:05
  6. When Cats Go Wrong 3:54
  7. In a Child's Room 2:31
  8. Waiting for Christmas 3:55
  9. What the Cat Dragged In
      (Kirk Elliott) 5:31
10. The Boy in the Painting 2:46
11. Momma Don't Allow It
      (Charles Davenport) 4:12

Produced by Kirk Elliott & Norm Hacking
Recorded & mixed by Kirk Elliott
Except #7&8:
produced by Norm Hacking & Kevin Bell
recorded at Comfort Sound, Toronto

Norm Hacking - vocals, guitar
Kirk Elliott - vocals, guitar, all other instruments, programming
Ben Hacking (age 7) - vocal (#4), voice (#11)
Additional musicians on #8:
Kevin Bell - acoustic guitar, harmony vocal
John Arpin - piano
David Woodhead - acoustic bass
Matt Zimbel - percussion


Back to Top


The Ache (pre-release CD)
The Ache CD prerelease cover
"Blind Love" - cover art and CD
booklet design by Lisa Graziotto

In contrast to Stubborn Ghost's long recording period, Norm's part of The Ache was recorded in just a few intense sessions with producer John Switzer. Made with assistance of the Ontario Arts Council, this CD had only a limited pre-release pressing and no commercial copies are yet available. Watch for news of release in 2004.

Cover art, "Blind Love" by Lisa Graziotto

Norm put this CD up for adoption, as reported by Mitch Potter in The Toronto Star on January 5, 2001.

For a follow-up report, see Cate Friesen's CBC Radio One Roots Report at:

Global TV's Sean Mallen also filed a report on First National News on January 17, 2001.


  1. The Ache 4:07
  2. The Silence of My Father 5:05
  3. Can't Help But Love 4:47
  4. Cara 4:02
  5. Last Dance with the Bully-God 4:26
  6. That's All I've Got to Say About
      That 3:08
  7. Casablanca Bound 3:26
  8. Baby, You Left Nothing 6:12
  9. Let's Rub Each Other 2:20
10. Reason to Love 3:27
11. Tonight in the Garden 4:43
12. Olya Katarina 3:39
13. Funny Boy 2:19


John Adames - drums
John Arpin - piano
Kevin Bell - electric, acoustic/high tuned guitars, vocals
Al Cross - drums
Kirk Elliott - violins, celtic harp, wooden flute
Norm Hacking - lead vocals, guitar
Tom Leighton - accordian, trombone
Dyan Maracle - vocals
Ron Nigrini - vocals
Laura Thomas - percussion, vocals
John Switzer - bass, vocals


Skysongs... A Writer's Collection


Skysongs 2001 CD coverSkysongs 1996 CD cover

Originally issued in 1996 as FORT0794 (Forty Seventh and Second Park Way), which is out of stock. The CD was reissued in November 2001- remastered with lyrics - on Three Flamingos Music label as 3FLAM 2002, with distribution by Festival. This CD of favourites now ends with "Shine," Norm's traditional concert-ending anthem for many years. The new Skysongs was released on November 14, 2001 at the launch of One Voice, A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Volume 1. See coming up for launch details and Buy CDs / Contacts for purchase details.

Norm's first CD is a "best of" collection from Norm's vinyl to keep them accessible - folk artists don't have all-time hit collections, he says. It combines five favourites from Cut Roses and ten from Stubborn Ghost with four solo tracks (3, 7, 13, 18) recorded for this project at Comfort Sound studio.

Cover shown for 1996 issue (on the right) by Julie Biddle. The new cover (left) incorporates a photo by Shirley Gibson. Lyrics for 3 songs are posted here, all lyrics are in the booklet.


  1. Old Things in Love 3:50
  2. Stubborn Ghost 4:03
  3. Can't Help But Love 2:43
  4. John Dale 2:22
  5. With Her 3:38
  6. Sammy 4:57
  7. Love at the Free Times Cafe 4:28
  8. Thunder and Lightning 5:41
  9. Once Was Enough 2:58
10. Richer for the Time 2:44
11. Go Down Dancing 3:06
12. Luv-a-Luv (Love a Love) 3:42
13. Cats Everywhere 2:00
14. In a Child's Room 2:34
15. Midnight Road 4:11
16. Waiting for Christmas 3:56
17. Video Love 3:05
18. Spin Around 3:37
19. Shine 3:22


A Day in the Studio (1993)
indie cassette 48:17
Norm at window, photo by Lisa Graziotto (not the cassette cover)
Photo by Lisa Graziotto
(not the cassette cover)

Some albums take a year and 5 months to do and some take one day. Norm received a day in a studio for some freebie consulting work.

I sat on a stool with my guitar and played a bunch of songs that I considered would be a work tape. Four hours later it was an album.

Norm's manager at the time, Scott Richards, thought that the solo tape was so good it was packaged and made available to the public. Some fans still consider this solo performance collector's item their favourite Hacking album. It shows that his songs, lovely with the type of accompaniment on his other albums, remain strong and retain the listeners' attention in solo performance.


1. Baby, You Left Nothin' 4:28
2. Love at the Free Times Cafe 4:27
3. Lies Run Out of Time 3:36
4. Home (Is Where the Heart Is) 4:00
5. How Can I hold You 4:22
6. Reason to Love 3:13
7. Maisie 3:17
  8. Cara 3:56
  9. Case for the Defense of Love 3:31
10. Lion Heart 2:17
11. This One's the Dreamer 2:42
12. Young Girls 3:38
13. Cats Everywhere 2:12
14. Cambridge Lady 2:08

Stubborn Ghost:

Norm Hacking with Kevin Bell

Stubborn Ghost LP cover

(1988) RDR-800N

Stubborn Ghost project was undertaken after a long break from any recording, sparking a quote from Joel Wortzman that "if eight years is how long it takes to produce a work of the exceptional quality, then let it be another eight years 'til the next one..."

Norm comments, The interesting thing about albums is that the process varies drastically because of attitude, circumstances - you name it. In the case of Stubborn Ghost, we spent one year and five months from first recording session to final product. I've never maintained an intense focus on one project for that length of time before. The result was an album where we never settled for anything less than what we wanted.

The album is dedicated to his son Ben, then turning seven. click here for dedication letter and photo.

The wonderful album art (photography by Keith Beaty and design by Wellington & Wolfe) was nominated for a Casby award.


  1. Midnight Road 4:51
  2. Once Was Enough 2:56
  3. Stubborn Ghost 4:03
  4. Thunder & Lightning 5:40
  5. Richer for the Time 2:44
  6. In a Child's Room 2:33
  7. Mother Your Love 4:51
  8. Old Things in Love 3:49
  9. Waiting for Christmas 3:54
10. Video Love 3:03
11. Shine 3:22
12. Long Time 1:57

Norm Hacking - acoustic guitar
Kevin Bell - electric/acoustic guitars
Kirk Elliott - violin, mandolin, acoustic guitar, accordian, recorders
John Arpin - piano
Doug McClement - bass
David Woodhead - acoustic bass & electric fretless
Kid Carson - drums
Matt Zimbel - percussion
Chris Whiteley - horn
John Adames - drums
Paul Corby - electric guitar
John Sheard - synthesizer and piano
David Whitten - cello

vocals:   Norm Hacking, Kevin Bell, Ron Nigrini, Dyan Maracle, Michael Smith, Caroly Larson, Tim Harrison, Jim Layeux, Jennifer Bell, Shine Choir (additional voices Joe Zelney, Cathy Greene, Jan Caswell, Susan Serran, Simon Richards, Mildred Wooton, Paul Corby, Bill Tymchyshyn)

The reviews certainly confirmed that Stubborn Ghost was something special:

"Title track, an account of a meeting between the grizzled, aging writer and the spirit of his childhood ambitions, is as fine a piece of songwriting as has ever been committed to vinyl."

Greg Quill, The Toronto Star.
For more reviews click here.

No longer available (vinyl). All except tracks 7 and 12 are included on Skysongs... A Writer's Collection (1996), remastered and reissued with lyrics on November 14, 2001.



Cut Roses

(1980) INDR 79071 Indoor Records 42:18

Cut Roses LP cover

Recorded in Toronto with an impressive group of musicians, ranging from Ken and Chris Whiteley of The Original Sloth Band, Kirk Elliott and George Meanwell of Short Turn and one-time Prairie Oyster drummer John Adames to the entire reggae group Ernie Smith and his Roots Revival, but the strong songwriting is never submerged.

Cover photography by Leighton McLeod, cover concept by Don Agro and Errol Mitris.

Vinyl, no longer available. Tracks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 are included on Skysongs... A Writer's Collection (1996), remastered and reissued with lyrics on November 14, 2001.


1. Blind Again 3:37
2. Sammy 4:54
3. Bernard to Broadway 3:57
4. Go Down Dancin' 3:00
5. Luv - A - Luv 5:51
6. With Her 3:35

  7. First Song for Jewel 3:56
  8. John Dale 2:19
  9. Dance for Me 2:47
10. Mae S. Brown 1:52
11. If You Want to Love Me 3:25
12. So Good to See You 2:59



Norm Hacking - acoustic guitar
Paul Corby - electric and acoustic guitar
Michael Smith - acoustic guitar, bass
Mose Scarlett - acoustic guitar
Ernie Smith - electric guitar
Ken Whiteley - slide acoustic guitar, washboard, mandolin
Chris Whiteley - horn, harmonica
Al Kates - pedal steel
Kirk Elliott - violins
Mike Bodzasi - violins

Jim Chambers - violin
John Arpin - piano
Doug McClement- piano
George Meanwell - cellos
Phil Woodard - bass
John Bullen - bass, Chinese piano
Clive Ross - bass
John Adames - drums
Fred von Engelbrechten - drums
Wadi Daniel - drums and percussion
Terry Nicholson - Chinese gong, congas and percussion
Matt Zimbel - percussion

vocals:   Norm Hacking, Ernie Smith, Michael Smith, Dede Higgins, Sandra Pim, Gwen Swick, Ann Madigan, Terry Nicholson, Doug McClement, Andy Flynn, Paul Corby, Mose Scarlett (vocal and human tuba)

Recorded by Doug McClement of Comfort Sound, Toronto.

"Hacking captures a slice of life... The lasting impression is that Norm Hacking is a first class song craftsman."

Richard Christie, The Whig-Standard Magazine.
For more reviews click here.


Norm Hacking Live:

The Scarborough College Concerts

Norm Hacking Live LP cover

(1977) TSR-1 43:14

Norm returned to Scarborough College (part of the University of Toronto) in Toronto to make his first indie recording from two concerts there. Appearing solo here, his musical influences (Michael Smith), direction and friendships (Mose Scarlett, Ron Nigrini, Paul Corby) were already clear.


Photography by Don Agro.

Vinyl, no longer available.

April Fool's '77:

1. (Introduction by Mose Scarlett)
excerpts from:
Michigan Water Blues (Clarence Williams)/
Don't You Leave Me Here (trad)/
Caldonia (F. Moore)
Just Like Me 5:47

2. The Dutchman (Michael Smith) 5:03
3. Christine 3:49
4. Sure is Bad, When the Booze Don't Help 3:26
5. Maggie (trad, adapted by Tom Rush) 3:28


Halloween '76:

6. Song for Sixpence 5:12
7. Great Loves of the 20th Century (Monsters Fall in Love, Too) 8:04
8. You Have to Look a Little Harder Now 1:55
9. Two Children 5:30


All guitar and vocals: Norm Hacking

Recorded by Doug McClement, Natural Sound and Comfort Sound, Toronto.

"Norm's biggest talent is singing solo in concert. By listening to his first album, Norm's warm personality is sharply reflected in his music."

Kiyoshi Funatsu, Coast to Coast Music Magazine.

For more reviews, click here.


Note: This detailed discography does not include songs on various compilation recordings or recordings by others. For these, see overview of Norm's discography page.