With the Canadian Thanksgiving (yes, we have our own) this weekend, what better time to reflect on some of the great musicianship that Canada has produced over the years?
The following ten bands are of various genres and are groups that I feel have made a large and positive (sorry Avril Lavigne) impact on their genre through helping define what it is and represents. That being said, the list was made in my opinion and was designed to:
1) Bring some light to often overlooked bands and artists
2) Demonstrate through example that Canada has produced some amazing talent
3) Give the community of UG a chance to complain about their favourite band not making the list
10. The Tragically Hip
This Canadian group from Kingston, Ontario was formed in 1983 and is still continuing to write and perform to this day. With over 10 albums full of great material and more than 10 Juno awards, this truly unique band has experienced a successful career and has had a large affect on the world of music both through their own music and the music they inspired others to make.
Great works of The Tragically Hip include New Orleans Is Sinking, Bobcaygeon and Wheat Kings.
09. April Wine
This classic rock group, whose name was simply derived from what the members thought were two words that sounded good together, are straight out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Forming as a local band in 1969, the group's success grew rapidly and led to frequent radio playtime and the release of over 15 studio albums. After seeing them play at a local venue, it was obvious that their music helped both influence and inspire artists all around the world.
Some of their most famous hits are Oowatanite, Drop Your Guns, and Sign Of The Gypsy Queen.
Originally formed as a high school band in Toronto, Ontario, Anvil became a successful metal act releasing a total of 16 great studio albums (with a new one coming out next spring). On top of releasing a large amount of great metal, Anvil are known to have been a big influence to some of the largest and most famous metal groups out there: Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer being just a few. Through influencing some of the greats and releasing their own great music, Anvil have truly helped pave the path for metal.
You may know the band for songs like 666, March Of The Crabs or Tag Team.
07. Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, straight from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was the product of the break-up of The Guess Who. Guitarist/vocalist Randy Bachman formed the group with bassist/vocalist Fred Turner and really took care of business (heh). Receiving four Juno awards (among other honours) and producing a ton of classic rock hits, these guys really helped shape the rock world.
Songs that they are known for include Takin' Care Of Business, Let It Ride, and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.
06. Joni Mitchell
Known as one of the best songwriters of all time, Joni Mitchell from Fort Macleod, Alberta not only continually shaped her own music but helped shape the music of the world around her. Initially starting off as a folk singer, guitarist, and piano player, over the years Joni Mitchell became more jazz inspired and ended up working with greats like Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, and Jaco Pastorius. Producing a ton of excellent music has earned Joni several awards (including 9 Grammy awards) and honours, and her affect on the music of the era is incredibly evident.
Joni is best known for songs like Big Yellow Taxi, Both Sides Now, and River.
Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Triumph are one of the worlds must underrated hard rock trios. With the band releasing several albums worth of great rock that's comparable to other legends, they have certainly proved their technical proficiency as well as their great song writing and heartfelt playing skills. Guitarist Rik Emmett, widely considered one of the most skilled and versatile players to the few who know him, has influenced many great players with his incorporation of crazy rock solos, jazzy lines, and neo-classical technique into his playing style.
If you want to check out their stuff, listen to Fight The Good Fight, Blinding Light Show / Moonchild, and for a classical touch Petite Etude.
04. Oscar Peterson
Next to no jazz pianist can go through his or her life without at least hearing about Oscar Peterson. This Quebec-born man, referred to as the Maharaja of the keyboard by Duke Ellington, has truly left a mark on the history of jazz music. Releasing over 200 recordings and winning numerous awards and distinctions (including 8 Grammy awards), this jazz pianist accomplished what very few ever have for the jazz world.
A few of my personal favourite Oscar Peterson recordings include Cakewalk, You Look Good To Me, and There Will Never Be Another You.
(RIP Oscar Peterson: 1925-2007)
03. Neil Young
From Toronto, Ontario, Neil Young is known as one of the greatest songwriters and most influential musicians of his time. Before being one of the most successful solo acts out there, Neil was a co-founder of Buffalo Springfield and a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash&Young. Between being inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receiving countless awards, and releasing over 30 successful albums, Neil's talent and impression on the music world is undeniable.
Some of Neil Young's best works include Heart Of Gold, Rockin' In The Free World, and Needle And The Damage Done.
02. The Band
Always being the backup band for various artists like Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan, the group decided to adopt the name The Band officially. This group, from Toronto, Ontario, has been known to be an influence to numerous acts, inspiring artists such as Eric Clapton, The Beatles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Band have truly helped define the musical world with their unique blend of old country and rock and roll.
Up On Cripple Creek, It Makes No Difference, and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down are all some of The Band's greatest works.
01. Justin Beiber
With a completely original and amaz Ahaha, just kidding.
This hard rock / progressive rock trio who's origin lies in Toronto, Ontario consists of bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart. Rush have proved themselves some of the world's best with their amazing musicianship and the unique style that they are renowned for. The band is still writing material and touring, and I can honestly say that the concert I went to was probably the best of my life. The guys have inspired countless bands in all sorts of genres, and in my opinion have proven themselves to be the best band to ever come out of Canada.
It was hard to narrow it down to three songs, but I would suggest listening to 2112, Spirit Of The Radio and YYZ.
Honourable mention goes to: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Loverboy, The Tragically Hip, Steppenwolf, Trooper, Protest The Hero, Today I Caught The Plague, Maynard Ferguson, Annihilator, and more.
Dishounourable mention goes to: Nickelback.
If you've got anything to say or a band that YOU think should have made the list, just leave a comment, eh?
By Ryan B.