Tommy Hunter played before a hometown crowd in London, Ont., Tuesday night, giving a concert that he vowed would end his storied career.
Hunter has been on a farewell tour to give fans an opportunity to enjoy songs such as I'll Fly Away, Daisy A Day and Travellin' Man for a final time.
The singer dubbed "Canada's Country Gentleman" began the final leg of the tour a month ago in St. John’s and wrapped it up with Tuesday night’s concert at the John Labatt Centre.
Tuesday was Hunter’s 75th birthday and he spent it getting the crowd to sing along with their favourites, an experience he says has been a highlight of his singing career.
Hunter told CBC News he wants to finish performing while he’s still healthy and able to give fans a good show.
“I can still sing, I can still entertain, and I want to do it on my game plan, thank the audience and say goodbye,” he said in an interview last month with George Stroumboulopoulos.
Hunter first played guitar on a London, Ont., stage at age nine and is best known for his country music variety seriesThe Tommy Hunter Show, which ran for 27 years on CBC TV from 1965 to 1992.
“And be the good Lord willing, we'll be talking to you again real soon,” was Hunter’s traditional signoff for the show.
Hunter said he felt like a failure when the show went off the air, but came to realize that he'd had an amazing run.
The Friday night show recreated the Grand Ole Opry in Canada and helped kick off the careers of young stars like Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and The Judds.
“The audience is really the reason I lasted this long,” Hunter said of his long-running show, saying they tuned in week after week.