ASTRONAUT'S BREAKDOWN. Canadian, Reel. Composed by Sarnia, southwestern Ontario, fiddler John(ny) Durocher (1934-1989); one of several tunes he composed in honor of the c. 60's-70's space program. Durocher was born the youngest of sixteen children, to a modest family of few resources. He quit school in his young teens to help make family ends meet and remained a factory worker for most of his life, not even possessing a drivers license. John came to fiddling when he found a broken fiddle in the trash one day and asked the owner for permission to retrieve it; with some repair work he had his first instrument. A few lessons from a local teacher (which served to teach him how to read and write music), were all the formal music education John received. He was a prolific composer of fiddle tunes, however, and named them for sports and current events, family and friends and topics of his day, explains Ritchie. Durocher's music was picked up by radio fiddler Don Messer, who included many of his tunes in his broadcasts and printed collections, helping Durocher to become quite influential in the Ontario scene for his over 400 compositions. [For more see Ron Ritchie, "John Durocher: A Gifted Composer,"
Printed source: Fiddler Magazine, vol. 12, No. 2, Summer 2005, pgs. 25-27].