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Tyson’s greatest song has strong Okanagan connection

Four Strong Winds, by the late Ian Tyson, about a relationship he had with woman from Vernon
Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson’s (arguably) greatest hit, ‘Four Strong Winds,’ is about a relationship he had with a woman from Vernon. Tyson died Dec. 29, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

It is, arguably, one of the greatest Canadian songs ever written.

“Four Strong Winds,” by the late Ian Tyson, has a definite connection to Vernon.

One publication has ranked Four Strong Winds as high as No. 4 on the all-time greatest Canadian singles list. Author Bob Mersereau’s 2010 book The Top 100 Canadian Singles placed it at No. 9. CBC Radio listeners, in 2005, voted the song as Canada’s best of the 20th century.

Tyson, a Canadian folk and cowboy country music icon, wrote the song in 1962 and recorded it with then-spouse Sylvia Fricker as the folk duo Ian and Sylvia.

The beautiful, lamenting ballad is about a relationship Tyson had with a woman in Vernon, as he explained in a clip from the CBC TV show segment I Was There with host George Stroumboulopoulos, nine years ago, seen below:

Tyson died on Dec. 29 at the age of 89.

In 2012, Maclean’s Magazine published an article with the woman identified as Tyson’s longtime lover, the woman from Vernon, Evinia Pulos. Her father owned a grocery store in Vernon, according to the article.

Pulos was 74 at the time of the interview and living in Kelowna.

The Morning Star reached out to Tyson a few years ago asking to do a story on the song but received no reply.

READ MORE: B.C.-born folk legend Ian Tyson, known for ‘Four Strong Winds,’ dies

READ MORE: It’s a boy! - Vernon’s first baby of 2023 arrives at VJH

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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