Musical Costumes, Fats Domino & Gord Downie

Musical Costumes

Halloween is all about being someone else for a night – and musicians like to put on costumes, too. Jim and Greg share their favorite examples of artists temporarily donning a musical costume and performing in a different style under a fake name. Plus, they pay tribute to rock 'n' roll founder Fats Domino. And Toronto Star critic Ben Rayner remembers Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip.

Download Subscribe via iTunes


Fats Domino
In Memoriam: Fats Domino

Fats Domino, one of the architects of rock ‘n’ roll, died October 24th at the age of 89. Greg says his emphasis on swing "put the 'roll' in rock 'n' roll." Jim adds that Fats tied the roots of jazz to rock 'n' roll through his distinctive style. With hits like "Blueberry Hill", "I’m Walkin’," and "Ain’t It a Shame" (the classic's original title), Fats helped set the standard for the sound of early rock. His rollicking piano playing bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock. Fats Domino sold 65 million singles in his career; but he never strayed far from his New Orleans roots. Even Hurricane Katrina couldn't keep him away. He lived nearly his entire life not far from where he grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Musical Costumes for Halloween

Sometimes, even musicians feel like "dressing up" and becoming an entirely different artist – if only for one album. To get into the spirit of Halloween, Jim and Greg share some of their favorite examples of musical costumes – artists who musically transform under fake personas.


  • XTC as The Dukes of Stratosphear
  • David Johansen as Buster Poindexter
  • The KLF as The Timelords


  • Paul McCartney as The Fireman
  • Sonic Youth as Ciccone Youth
  • Prince as Camille

Gord Downie

Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip, died on October 17 at the age of 53. He had been fighting a very public battle with brain cancer for the past year, but managed to complete an emotional farewell tour. Because the Hip never broke big in the US, many Americans don't realize how revered Gord Downie was in his native Canada, where the Tragically Hip was a stadium-level band. To get a better sense of his importance within Canadian culture, Jim and Greg are joined by Toronto Star music critic Ben Rayner who pays tribute to Gord Downie.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!