“MY” Top Five Canadian Songs for Canada Day!


Generally, I’m not a big fan of lists, but here I go.

By no means is this a list of the “BEST” Canadian songs of all time. I intentionally skipped over the most obvious songs and people and just went with songs that meant something to me back in the day, and still tug at the heart strings. After all, music is far too subjective for little ol’ me to step forward with such a declaration. Instead I’m picking my favourite 5 songs written by Canadians. Feel free to argue or suggest others. Happy Canada Day folks!

5) “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” – The Rheostatics

I could have picked a dozen Rheostatic’s tunes and not even have scratched the surface of their repertoire. Still, how much more Canadian can you get having an awesome band cover Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot. Let’s not even get started with the fact that Dave Bidini, (guitars & vocals) has written a book (On A Cold Road) on Canadian bands touring this great land of ours. Give it a read – and them a listen!



4) “Painted Ladies” – Ian Thomas

As a child I used to hear this song all the time and it never left me. As other people wanted to learn how to play “Heart Of Gold” as they started to learn guitar, I was trying my hand at “Painted Ladies.” There is something so ‘setting sun’ glorious and desperate about this song that catches me off guard every time I listen.



3) “Five Days In May” – Blue Rodeo

Five Days In July is definitely my favourite Blue Rodeo album, and “Five Days In May” my favourite song from them. It captures the mood of “Four Strong Wind” the desolation of “Helpless” and is just plain heartbreaking in its own right. Saw them play it at Fort York which also seems to me to be a cool ‘Canadiana’ thing.



2) “Bleed A Little While Tonight” – Lowest of the Low

Not only is it a great Canadian song, but it name checks the streets of my awesome city. So while the ‘Low’ have been on and off again over the last few years, Shakespeare My Butt... still has  regular rotation on my stereo.



1) “Echo Beach” – Martha & the Muffins

Called a new wave band at the time Martha & the Muffins “Echo Beach” was anything but a genre hit. It was played on AM, FM, pop and rock stations throughout the world. This Martha & the Muffins song charted in Canada, Australia, the UK and even the US dance charts. It was a monster that was an instant classic to my 13 year old ears… and still remains so to this day. Hell, it even has a concert venue named after it on Toronto Island.



Playlist March 29/15

nirvana colour

1. “Love Buzz” – Nirvana

Something about the bass line in “Love Buzz” that at times seems both sinister and fun. Then the guitar kicks in and you can’t decide which instrument to ‘air-play’ to, and when you finally decide, you find yourself doing vocals and tearing your throat apart in a vain attempt to capture that fierce Cobain voice. I could listen to this over and over like a demented 13 year old and never see myself getting sick of it.

2. “Kid With Crooked Face” – Bob Mould

A long time ago, I saw Sugar play several times. I was always blown away by how Mould can convey image and emotion with a dry vocal competing against his fierce (and very loud) guitar work. He’s also the guy that convinced me to have a pair of ear plugs in my pocket at a concert… my ears were ringing for two days after I saw Sugar for the first time.

3. “The Simspsons Theme” – Green Day

Well I couldn’t very well talk about the Lego Simpsons house without sneaking in this wonderful bit of Green Day noise.

4. “The Way We Were” – Me First & the Gimme Gimmes

Most people think of Streisand when they hear this song. Instead I get killed by the heartache and laughter of the late great Gilda Radner. I think she would like this version too.

5. “In The Heat Of The Moment” – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher is one of those artists I will purchase without even hearing a song. He just has that dependable rock’n’roll sound that gets me humming in whatever setting I’m in.

6. “Listen To Some Music” – BMX Bandits

Glasgow band has fun with a jangling low-fi house party sound. Would love to see them live, but the Atlantic Ocean provides a small barrier between me and that little dream.

7. “Spider-Man” – The Mr. T Experience

I must have listened to a 100 different versions before I picked this one. You would think I would get sick of it… but no – I just wondered where the hell the Ramones version went.

8. “Lampshades On Fire” – Modest Mouse

Like the song, but if I see a lampshade on fire, I’m reaching for a frickin’ extinguisher, not dancin’ around.

9. “Panic In Detroit” – David Bowie

This is a preview – I will soon be writing about a special vinyl acquisition and I couldn’t wait to play something from it. Here’s a picture – I just hope it sounds as good as it looks.

10. “The Great Salt Lake” – Band Of Horses

Arriving with the new Modest Mouse, came this great record in a coke bottle clear colour. Sounds great, looks great, and is another of that limited stuff I buy every so often.

11. “On My Wall” – Travis

I’ve been a fan of Travis for years, but the weird thing is, I couldn’t tell you much about them other than the Brit-Pop connection and that I have always enjoyed them. It’s like they have been stuck on the mellow side of Radiohead’s The Bends, and continue to dwell and explore that place.

12. “Lego” – The Maccabees

The band with a religious name that doesn’t follow any religion – but can write a pretty decent tune involving Lego… well ok… as usual my wit has escaped me.

13. “Delinquency” – V Twin

Another Glasgow band said to be the “Next Big Thing” falls short. Still, like Teenage Fanclub before them, they write some great tunes. Only problem is finding their stuff.


14. “The Hardest Button To Button” – The White Stripes

Seeing as I wrote about Elephant only yesterday, I figured they should hit the mix today. Besides it gave me another opportunity to include that Simpsons/White Stripes video.

15. “Elevator Operator” – Courtney Barnett

Due to my fascination with vinyl I don’t often talk about new artists, but damn, this song was too good to pass by without putting it into the mix, ask me in a month if I feel the same way about the album.

16. “Tin Soldier” – Small Faces

I was always a bigger Faces fan than the Small Faces, but in recent years I’ve gone back to discover that when these guys were at the top of their game, they were every bit as good as the Kinks and Who… which is about the biggest compliment I can give.

17. “The Letter” – The Box Tops

It’s hard to believe that Alex Chilton has departed this place; even harder to believe he was only 16 when he recorded and had a #1 hit with this song. He certainly doesn’t sound like a kid.

18. “Free Again” – Alex Chilton

Because I was in the mood for Chilton, I could help but throw this on right after the Box Tops. It is an awesome song in its own right. The album can still be purchased from Omnivore. For a good laugh, you can see how much Chilton hated lip-synching.

19. “Sundown” – Gordon Lightfoot

A prize find at last year’s RSD, I’ve spent many hours since mellowing by the window reading books and listening to this record.

20. “Echo Beach” – Martha & the Muffins

One of my favourite songs from childhood, it convinced me I really didn’t want to grow up. Unfortunately, responsibilities have a way of making such proclamations sound rather silly. Still, I would rather be at “Echo Beach” on a mid August evening than in front of a computer in March. It was a long winter.