Thursday, July 3, 2008

Canadian Music

I was listening to the Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio Two on Saturday morning, as I usually do, and they replayed a concert from a couple of years ago. The concert was recorded in Ontario, and was called "Music in the key of Canada". It was Stuart McLean's tribute to just a handful of the Canadian composers who have contributed to the incredibly diverse collection of Canadian music.

The show is only an hour long so they were barely able to scratch the surface of Canuck talent. Artists featured were:

Neil Young - Born in Winnipeg and raised in Ontario, Young made a name for himself as a solo artist but also was part of groups like Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and his own band called Crazy Horse. He wrote classics such as; "Old Man", "The Needle and the Damage" and "Heart of Gold".
Gene MacLellan - A deeply religious composer from the Maritime's, who later committed suicide. He wrote "Snowbird" that made Anne Murray a household name. He also wrote "Put Your Hand in the Hand", which was a hit by a Canadian group called Ocean in 1971.

Gordon Lightfoot - This Ontario native has given us countless classics including "Early Morning", Alberta Bound", "If You Could Read My Mind", "Carefree Highway" and "Sundown".

Joni Mitchell - Born and raised on the prairies, this lady has written songs such as; "Carrey", Woodstock", Big Yellow Taxi", "Both Sides Now",

Steppenwolf - An early incarnation of this group was known as "The Sparrows", but they changed the name when they moved to the USA and had hits like; "Born To Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride".

The Band - This iconic group had huge hits in Canada and the USA with songs like; "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Weight".

The Guess Who - One of the most successful groups to ever come out of Canada (and from their hometown of Winnipeg!) had a string of hits such as "These Eyes", No Sugar", American Woman" and "Share The Land" Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman both went on to have very successful solo/group careers after The Guess Who's heyday.
Stuart also included Ottawa native, Paul Anka who wrote the theme for The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson" and songs that were recorded by Elvis, Bing Crosby, Sinatra ("My Way") and Buddy Holly ("I Guess It Doesn't Matter Anymore"),

A few other artists included were;
Blood, Sweat and Tears - "Spinning Wheel"
Five Man Electrical Band - "Signs"
Bachman Turner Overdrive - Takin' Care Of Business"
Paul Anka was also responsible for one of the cheesiest songs in history; "Having My Baby" Other cheesy Canuck songs include; "Seasons In The Sun" (Terry Jacks) and "Sometimes When We Touch" (Dan Hill). We try not to dwell on those!

The list of Canadian talent is endless. Here are a few of my favourites composers and musicians that Stuart didn't have time to include: Leonard Cohen ("Suzanne", "Closing Time"); Bruce Cockburn ("I Wonder Where The Lions Are"); kd lang; Kate and Ana McGarrigle (nacl); Ferron (The Return"); Connie Kaldour ("Relax", "Bigger Than Anywere Else"); Heather Bishop; Holly Cole; Diana Krall; Michael Bublé; Matt Dusk; Moxy Fruvous; The Stampeders; The Bells; The Bare Naked Ladies;
I also found a couple of fairly comprehensive lists of Canuck talent that are to be an eye opener for even the most devoted music fans. I certainly didn't recognize all the names on the list nut I have heard of a lot of them! I was also surprised by a few and I'm sure you will be as well!


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