Learn the fantastic facts behind Toronto Artist David Crighton's "El Mocambo" Limited Editions.

by Pamela Johnston August 24, 2021 2 Comments

David Crighton's Famous El Mocambo Limited Edition | Totally Toronto Art

The story behind the creation of this famous Toronto Limited and Open Edition fine art print is one that you can't make up.  Equally interesting is the story of how that event really catapulted David Crighton into the spotlight of the Toronto art scene...and here's the story behind it.


Iconic Toronto Wall Art | Totally Toronto Art


Here's the quote direct from Google:
March 4, 1977
On March 4, 1977, looking for an unprepossessing venue to record in, The Rolling Stones played the first of two performances at the club, billing themselves pseudonymously as "The Cockroaches". It was their first live club date in 14 years. Their opening act was Canadian rockers April Wine of Montreal.


In 1977, David Crighton was 24 years and had just graduated from Central Technical Schools' Fine Arts Program four years earlier.  He was starting his career and had found that he had a special talent for documenting the buildings of Toronto in a unique way that people seemed to like.   He was finding his niche and I think it's fair to say that the "El Mocambo" print sealed the deal as to where he should invest his time and energy in the art world.


Toronto Posters | 1050 Chum Radio | Totally Toronto Art


For those of you who are too young to remember, all the Boomers listened to a radio station called "CHUM"    EVERYBODY listened to 1050 CHUM and Larry Solway back in the day.


The Station ran contests all the time. David happened to be tuned in one day and heard about a contest to win an evening at the El Mocambo to see April Wine.   He entered and he won and went, along with a bus load of other excited fans of April Wine, to the El Mocambo straight from CHUMS location on Yonge Street just south of St. Clair. Little did he know that April Wine was headlining for a little band called "The Rolling Stones".  
Toronto Artist David Crighton circa 1972 | Totally Toronto Art
The rest, as they say, is history for both The Stones and for a young David Crighton. That fateful evening triggered David to create the first of three Limited Editions of 500 numbered prints.  This artwork catapulted David to the forefront of the Toronto art scene. 


David made all these prints by hand...it was well before the days of Digital Printing.  He created Lithographic plates and printed them one by one, hand numbering them in pencil as is the way with Limited Editions.


First Limited Edition El Mocambo Art Print by Toronto Artist David Crighton 

 First Limited Edition El Mocambo Art Print 1977

Artist: David Crighton

Little did he know that he would do three limited editions of 500 prints each plus sell this print as an open edition for over 50  years.  (Each print is different in smaller and larger ways).

A fan, Bill McPherson shared a picture of this beautiful framed print that he received as a gift in 1978 - No 9/500 (of the first Limited Edition). They pop up from time to time and I tell people to hang onto them because there true value is only created over time.


Given that the death of Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones was just announced today I recall David showing me a picture of Charlie in his home...behind him is the same limited edition El Mocambo print that hangs proudly at Bill McPherson's house and whole bunch of other people's house throughout the city.    David had given the band a print somewhere to commemorate when they played there that year.

RIP Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones Drummer | Totally Toronto Art
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Pamela Johnston
Pamela Johnston


2 Responses

Glenn Moore
Glenn Moore

March 21, 2022

I have a print from 10 /9/79, 255 /500. Framed. I would like to sell. I’m turning 60 and well I could use $$. Wierd request /statement, but true.

Gary Wright
Gary Wright

September 14, 2021

What a memorable musical surprise for David and the rest of the audience at the El Mocambo that ne’er to be forgotten night in ’77. !Exiles on Spadina Avenue, indeed!:>)

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